I was at a gathering yesterday where someone in his thirties said to me, “Oh, you are the church with those amazing quotes on your sign.” When I shared this with our custodian Luke he laughed and said he’d been out by the sign one day recently and a woman was taking a photo of it with her smart phone. She wondered if she was in the way or if it was okay to take a photo. Luke assured her she was not in the way and a photo was fine.
I put a new quote up on the sign today. I think is appropriate to Lent for New Vision.
Why is “Growth is an Abstraction” an appropriate sign for Lent at New Vision? Well, part of the reason is the person whom the quote is attributed to – Brian McLaren. Brian McLaren is an evangelical in the United States who is interested in and sees a convergence happening between evangelical and main-line Christians over some pretty fundamentally important things – like the environment, like what Jesus really meant people to understand about God, like the diversity of God’s creation.
From the main-line point of view, a lot of evangelical thinking is based on the notion of “growth.” You’ve always got to be growing. So when you hear an evangelical point out that growth is an “abstraction” you are hearing a pretty distinct and unusual evangelical voice.
So that’s one thing. But the other thing, the more critical thing, is that this pithy phrase “growth is an abstraction” tells it like it is for Christians. The world we live in is one which includes growth and decay, birth, and death, justice, and crucifixions. We don’t need growth. We believe in Christ, crucified. It’s enough to keep ourselves repeating that.
You might say that’s what it is all about.
See you Sunday ~ for second Sunday of Lent worship, potluck lunch, and New Vision’s fourth annual meeting ever.