Friday, April 30, 2004

Discoveries of Authenticity...

My 8-year-old made a ‘discovery of authenticity’ today. Things are not always what they seem. Jamilia paid a visit, sang and danced for the school. But my 8 year old was observant and noticed something significant. “Dad you know when pop-stars sing on TV – did you know that they don’t really sing….!”, “how’d d’you work that one out?”, “Jamilia sang with out opening her mouth…..!??”

Our churches are so passionate, fervent even zealous about reaching out to our communities. Mission weeks, outreaches, programmes to get the church ‘out there’. My desk is strewn with the glossy glamour that these endeavours spawn. But we have become experts as we sully, smear, tarnish our efforts and motives by mixing into the cocktail concepts of ‘building bridges’, creating ‘warm contacts’, ‘relational‘ and friendship evangelism.

I stumbled into barky's blog and his post on transformational development. Who raises interesting questions regarding Mission Raison D’etre. Why do we do what we do? Are we comfortable with using our community and social outreach programmes as manipulating people in the kingdom?

"You cannot build a relationship with people when you have an agenda, even if you pretend you don’t. It doesn’t work…It’s a complete anomaly."

He quotes a friend’s phrase – "Our faith is our motivation, not our hidden agenda" ie "the Christian faith is the philosophy for living that brings hope and freedom, and is not merely a tool to manipulate and repress the most vulnerable in our society".

He finishes by saying "Community work is the arena where this is a most sensitive issue. Tread lightly and be authentic in the relationships you build. Please…"

Thanks Mark you really should blog more often about your work!!

If we are not careful our communities will look at us as we clean up our streets; wash away the graffiti; sweep up the broken glass; do “social action” and they make the same ‘discovery of authenticity’ that my daughter has today. They see the strings of evangelicalism, they see church, they hear the singing but quite frankly the lips aren’t moving.

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