Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Church Left Man to Die in Cold

“He was nothing more than a nuisance….”

Did you see that this week? The Times on 6 December reported:

“A CORONER has expressed amazement that a 60-strong church congregation left a naked man to die of cold outdoors while they feasted inside. The churchgoers refused to let the man in despite his pleas for help. Kenneth Clarke, 62, wandered around the Central Methodist Church in Dudley, West Midlands, for five hours before dying of hypothermia….The Rev Ivor Sperring told the inquest : “He was nothing more than a nuisance. We felt we weren’t in a position to deal with it because of his behaviour, his nudity, and there was something sinister about the way he was breaking things.”

Before we get all judgmental about it all - look at the programmes we run; look at who we target; look at who we want in our church; look at who are held up as leading examples, the voices of church; look at our success driven mentality; look at our motivation of mission.

Ephesians 2:10 - For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I don’t want to question God’s workmanship but I wrestle with the question - is the work that he has prepared for us to do a simple case of coming up with the latest, trendiest way of presenting church. A simple case of finding the latest worship styles? A simple case of running the latest courses that are a sure-fire way of winning the world for Jesus, the latest panacea, universal remedy – that is going to save the church? A simple case of being seeker-sensitive, purpose driven, emerging? Is that it?

All this time there are people on our doorstep who are broken that the church should be reaching out to – not in some trendy patronising way that is this years fad – but in a way that is real, solid.

I read this on Chaffinksblog:

“I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me.” “They turn up at the churches; they mouth words to the hymns; they pray piously to the Lord to help them. But do they take ANY notice of what Jesus taught? Do they bollocks.”

How many people do we leave outside in the cold because they’re nothing more than a nuisance?

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