Friday, September 05, 2008

Church: Is it about scarcity or abundance?

If you've hung around me at all over the years you know I have this love/hate thing going with the church. I love it because the church is God's idea to pull together his people into a family to offer the hope of his presence to the world. What could be more exciting than that? But I hate what we have done to God's idea. I hate how we often let our selfishness turn God's idea upside down and use it for our own pettiness and small agendas.

So...if you listen in to my thoughts through blogs, sermons, podcasts or just over coffee I vacillate between rants about how bad the church is and why the world has a reason to hate us to wide -eyed optimism about how the church can change the world. I know, I'm a little bipolar on this topic but I've found a number of people that share my same frustration and so I write and speak to give that common frustration a voice.

I've been thinking a lot this summer about how people and churches view life from either a scarcity mindset or a mindset of abundance. The scarcity mindset says that the pie is getting smaller while the pie eaters are increasing and so be very afraid. The abundance mindset says..."Who says there's only one pie? And if there is, who is to say that we can't make more? Or maybe there's something other than pies to eat if we think about it. If God is for us, who can be against us?" The scarcity mindset is petty, blaming, controlling and stingy. The abundance mindset is optimistic, innovative, generous and fun!

With so many things going wrong today (economy, war, hurricanes, etc.) it's easy to be drawn into the scarcity vortex...I've been watching it in the political conventions these past two weeks and I see it in the church as well. But as followers of Jesus we have to be careful to remember who we are and why we are here. God's got us here for a reason and he's not going to leave us with one "pie" to fight over. I think as God's family - here to reveal God to the world - we are to be known for our generosity because we are convinced that our Father is a God of abundance who can "meet all of our needs according to his riches in glory".

Okay, that's my vent for the day. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I'll be talking more about how to be generous come Sunday. Hope to see you there.