Friday, November 20, 2009


Our culture values people partly on the basis of their productivity.

So, if you're of a certain age, qualification and physical ability you really should be earning, achieving and generally making the people around you feel better. In increasing measures each year.

One of the reasons church is so important is because it doesn't hold to that: people are valued regardless of achievement. So it bugs me when I see churchfolk separating their community into the 'give-ers' and the 'get-ers'.

You're 'off the hook' (or, alternatively, deemed incapable) if you are:
  • old (too frail, too eccentric)
  • a teenager (too likely to leave)
  • a child (not ready)
  • disabled (too much effort)
  • a parent of one or more children (too busy and with better priorities)
  • not necessarily a 'proper' Christian (shock horror - too dangerous!)

You're most certainly on the hook (or capable of so much more) if you are:
  • single (so much time on your hands! - but needs watching as likely to be sexually unstable)
  • full-time working (capable of anything, surely)
  • without children (what else have you got to fill your time with?)
  • deemed intelligent and capable
  • certain in your Christian conviction.
If you're all five, heaven help you! Nobody will know what to talk to you about - except whether you might help serve coffee next week.

I'm being harsh. The churches I've been part of aren't really like that. In fact, it's really me who gets guilty and bored if I'm not busy achieving something or other; who feels affronted if someone else is asked to do something instead of me.

And, church sits in a funny place. We like to qualify time as either 'work' or 'leisure' What is church? Should we be giving or getting from it? How does it communicate its place in our lives?

I guess we should all be giving and getting from our church community. Which is why everyone should be deemed capable of contributing. And no-one should be seen primarily as a resource.

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