Monday, September 03, 2007

John Deere or Dear John

Nearly every Sunday Josh brings my husband a drawing. Not so spectacular, perhaps, but Josh is 5 years old, and he executes the drawing during the worship service. And my husband is usually the preacher, and the artwork bears no relationship to the message from Scripture.

It does, however, open a window into what Josh thinks about.

Josh is a farmer at heart, even though he owns no land. Since Josh and his family have become a part of the Living Hope Bible Church body, he and my husband have shared many tractor experiences…plowing, picking corn, combining. Josh can tell you lots of things about farm implements, too. He relates the color green to John Deere, red to Massey Ferguson and blue to New Holland. He understands the planting and harvesting cycles. He can identify which implements are used and when. Josh thinks deeply about farming activities. Nearly all the time.

And that brings me back to Josh’s artwork.

He draws intricate pictures of tractors and plows, planters and combines, all to scale. The mechanics of farming are important to him. He also draws a picture of himself and a larger one of Mr. Elwood…but those are a bit different than the tractor pictures. The people have no faces and they stand apart from the moving tractors. It’s as though the people are included only to operate the equipment. They are just accessories to the action, just John Doe for the John Deere. The importance is in the “farming”…not in the farmer.

I’ve been thinking about whether we do the same thing in the church.

Has the church become only a hi-tech calendar of events and activity, a worship posture, a problem to be solved, a dispenser of social change and spiritual security, or does the church have faces?

Are the people just accessories to the agenda? Or are they the agenda?

How does Jesus see His Church…as a shed full of tractors and plows, or as a house of faces? Does He see "John Doe" or "dear John"?

How do you see it?


Tony said...

These are good thoughts. It is a very sad day when we value the system over people. The even sadder thing is, I think, when we have no clue what the "agenda" is or if there even is one, other than maintaining the system. I pray we see His church as that "house of faces".

Thanks, Kat.

elder's wife said...

No church is immune from this...even small churches, where we all do know each other, can fall into the same trap of putting programs first.

Dinah said...

"Are the people just accessories to the agenda? Or are they the agenda?"

We keep thinking we can improve on the perfection of simplicity... to love. Or maybe sometimes we're avoiding the burnt offering of our own self that must come before we can love as Jesus does... I can focus on a program and keep my own sense of worth and self exalted. But to really lay it down - I know I'm not there yet. Good post - we're gettin' closer!

elder's wife said...

Thanks Dinah...
We need to be reminded that Jesus loves the people, not the programs, and that even a beneficial program should never come at the expense of the people He died for. Then the program becomes an idol.

selahV said...

Great post, Kat. I think we can all get trapped in the "on" and "off" modes and move through any given Sunday with an automated rhythm while never realizing we are in neutral all the while. My post on Sunday Shoes at dailyimpact plays nicely with this post. Our minds seem somewhat running together on this subject. selahV

elder's wife said...

Hi SelahV-
In your "Shoes" post, you used the descriptive term "casual Christianity". That's a trap just waiting to be sprung, isn't it? Intentional Christians are focused first upon the Lord and then upon people. And people are time-consuming. They intrude in our lives when we'd like to be playing with our tractors.