29 January 2008

"The Lima Bean Gospel"

In the most recent issue of Christianity Today, Mark Labberton wonders whether our gospel is too small and bland, like a lima bean. The church is often bland, he argues, and "the fruit of this vine appears to be lima beans." Here are two paragraphs for you to chew on:

"Rather than seek the God who spoke from the burning bush, we have decided the real drama is found in debating whether to podcast our services. Rather than encounter the God who sees idolatry as a pervasive, life-threatening temptation, we decorate Pottery Barn lives with our tasteful collections of favored godlings. Rather than follow the God who burns for justice for the needy, we are more likely to ask the Lord to give us our own fair share. A bland God for a bland church, with a mission that is at best innocuous and quaint - in a tumultuous world."


"The apparent smallness of our gospel is directly related to the smallness of the church's love. When prominent Christian voices call for protests and boycotts over things like our freedom to say 'Merry Christmas,' the gospel seems very small indeed. If, by contrast, such voices called the church in America to give away its Christmas billions to the poor and needy around the world - as an act of incarnational love - that would leave a very different impression of the faith we profess, and offer a far greater hope for a love-hungry world."

I'll leave it at that, without further comment other than to say that this guy needs to get out more and see what the church is doing in the world. Chew on it and let me know what you think.

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