25 January 2007

Hope and Foolishness

United Methodist Bishop Wiliam Willimon has written a wise and hopeful article: Divine Wisdom Among Little Old Ladies which I think is definitely worth a read.

Willimon asks:
When will we ever learn the truth that God has chosen "what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are" (I Corinthians 1:27-28)?
I wonder if that should read: "When will we ever learn the truth that God always chooses 'what is foolish in the world to shame the wise...'" etc. etc.

If the Gospel is counter-cultural and if God has a preferential option for the powerless, the weak and the poor, why is it that we seem to require the same markers of "success" for the church that we do for secular culture?

We deride consumerism as being a false god but we expect business and the economy to grow X% per annum and - consciously or unconsciously - we seem to measure the success of our congregations by whether or not they are large and growing.

I'm not entirely certain why we seem to think that the message "Go and sell all your belongings, forgive your enemies, join these 'little old ladies' (sic) and come and follow me" is a message that is going to attract lots of followers.

2 comments:

Jonathan said...

Great post, Pam. Thanks. But sometimes such a radical message really does draw a large crowd after all, not because it is an easy sale, but because of Easter.

PamBG said...

jonathan:

I would like to think that you are right about people "getting it". Perhaps I should hope more? :-)