Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ejector Pew


This new ejector pew ad by the UCC is provoking some interesting discussion around the blogosphere.

There have been two topics of discussion that caught my attention.

The first topic is that the image of the upper-class family is stereotypical and unfair. Because I have been blogging about this recently, I would like to say that creating "WASP" guilt won't help in promoting inclusion. I don't believe that white males must now crawl in shame to absolve historical abuses.

Rather than guilt or shame about having privilege, we should consider whatever privilege and status we hold as currency to be spent in furthering the kingdom.

Let's assume that the family is representative of an attitude of exclusivity and superiority. That attitude is something we can all agree should be rejected.

The other topic of discussion concerns the doctrinal accuracy of the statement "God doesn't reject people." If you assume that rejection implies the person is seeking God, then I agree with this statement.

I think one of the biggest mistakes the church has made is taking on the responsibility of determining who is in and who is out. So many people are hurt by churches because of this single issue. What if, in our limited understanding, we are wrong about who God really embraces?

I think our gatherings, fellowships, organizations, or whatever we have should be open to everyone. Why should we set up boundaries of membership to our club when we don't know what God is doing in someone's heart? Can't we trust that the Holy Spirit will bring transformation to hearts and lives?

What if we loved dangerously? What if we risked extending love and fellowship to people "while they are yet sinners"? How about we let God decide who's in and who's out.

8 comments:

yeshua'smags said...

ABSOLUTELY! Who wants the responsibility of figuring out all of that stuff anyway? (besides my mother)
My Daddy always told me that there would be people in heaven that would surprise me and some that wouldn't be there that would surprise me. But I certainly wouldn't want to make that decision! Thank you for your post.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

First, let me thank you, on behalf of white males.

Second, let me suggest that the ad misses other failures of the church- how about a "pew" (ala the way we do "church") as being exclusive. Just a thought...

Peace,
Jamie

Inheritor of Heaven said...

The bible says to gather together but I don't think it specifies where. So in response to Jamie I think it may be better said that the actions of the church has turned off people to coming to the building rather than the building itself is a failure. I think Dan you have said it precisely in your second to the last sentence "What if we risked extending love and fellowship to people 'while they are yet sinners'?" That is the question. We want everyone to be on the same spot on the road to sanctification that we are (and we think we are WAYYYYY far down the road, REALLYYYY close to Jesus). We forget the log in our own eye and start judging others before they are believers. Judgement starts with the church not with outsiders. The physician came for those who are sick not those who are well and often the church mistakenly thinks we are well already and does not want to be "reinfected" by those who are sick. I also love your statement "Can't we trust that the Holy Spirit will bring transformation to hearts and lives?" That is perfect. If the answer to that one is no, then we may as well close the doors and throw away the keys.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

IOH,

I didn't say the building was the problem. I was simply suggesting that people coming into a building, impersonal and institutional (generally speaking), is counter productive at times. Jesus modelled the community of faith very well. His time in synagogue and the Temple, contrasted with His the rest of His life is very telling.

Peace,
Jamie

grace said...

Maggie,
The people who think they know are a little scary, aren't they.

Jamie,
You make a very good point. The ad still puts the seeker in the position of going to church. It does miss the point that not only are we to be inclusive in our gatherings, but that we must go beyond our gatherings in reaching others.
I'm glad you took the opportunity to explain yourself further.

IOH,
I think our buildings can be a hurdle, not only for those who are seeking, but also for those of us who become too comfortable within the walls.
I also agree with your statement that we shouldn't fear becoming "infected" by allowing sinners into our fellowships.

David Cho said...

What an interesting video. I do agree that WASP bashing does little to help, and I wonder what would happen if any of the well dressed and manicured WASPs in the "in" crowd opened up his heart and showed his true self as a broken sinner before God.

yeshua'smags said...

Yeah, everybody forgets that you can buff and polish the outside, but it doesn't make our insides clean and pretty.

grace said...

David,
That would be a creative idea for a new commercial, where the polished facades simply crumpled in the pew, and we were equaled by our common brokenness.

Maggie,
That's a good reminder for all of us to look beyond the surface.