Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Buffet for Jesus...

a local church will seek to make the impossible possible this Sunday by attempting to set a world record for the world's largest potluck buffet. which makes me it events like this one that contribute to the feeling that the church has nothing of great import to offer them? i am certainly not pinpointing this one event as exhibit A but it is a compelling example: a community of faith attempting to build a monument to excess and gluttony. it is my hope that the proceeds of the potluck will benefit some greater good or that the potluck is open to those truly in need of a warm, filling meal. i am reminded of Ronald J. Sider's seminal work entitled Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity, which exposed thousands within the church to look outside of themselves to see the realities of world poverty and world hunger, that as they enjoy the benefits of affluence each day, roughly 30,000 children worldwide die of starvation.

my wife says that my posting on this is offensive to those producing or putting on the event and it is not my intent to be offensive or rude, but to simply point out what i perceive from the outside observer looking in. i will take full responsibility for being the debbie downer/wet blanket on this one but i can think of at least a thousand other elements of church tradition we could be celebrating (esp. at this time in the Christian year) that would have an equal or greater unifying and uplifting effect upon the surrounding community. i am simply attempting to utilize this space to share my thoughts and observations in a way that is not only cathartic but also thought-provoking and conversation-starting. i will admit and take responsibility as well for the immediacy of this post, this is all coming from the gut and the back of my brain. as the conversation continues and i have had time to allow this to make its way to the frontal, processing parts of my brain, maybe i will think differently. if so, watch for re-tractions or re-flections on this subject here. i would love to hear comments and thoughts on this, maybe i am being too quick to judge.

all that being said, pass the potato salad mildred.


Jason said...

I know there are people who would be able to justify this event. I would not resonate with these justifications for as much as I could tell, but this church is not the first. There was a church in the reporter of the UMC which also attempted this event (they failed to break the record). But like you say, this is a massive way of "being Christian" in America and there are not many voices who critic this way of being Christian. So thank you for giving and adding voice to other ways of being Christian.

But how is this event any different from a church raising money for a bigger building, larger membership, greater pizzazz in worship, etc?

I think you are saying, there is not a difference.

Needless to say, I will be there for the sake of my marriage covenant...

Jason said...

What I had forgotten was this project it in an attempt to reach out to the community. It is an expression of the "1 Mile Mission."

In light of that I think parts of my comment may be out of line, and would like to retract my comments which were stated prematurely. I am thankful for lay members reaching out to the community, and this event is more than I have ever done at the church I work at. I am sorry for my uninformed comments.

I am hopeful that this mission expression will connect the church with the community.

postmodernpilgrim said...

Jason, your comments are greatly appreciated.

i am not suggesting that the laity and leadership of the church are cold, heartless people who put little thought and energy into the event. i know that is not the reality. i do believe that the best of intentions were in place as the organizing and implementation of this event moves forward. in the end, i know that this event will alleviate some hunger and open the church up to people that would not normally walk through the door on a Sunday morning. my concern is not the ends but the means.

i join in your hope that this mission expression will connect the church and the community. i am sincerely and actively praying for success for this event and appreciate the time, effort, and energy that has gone into planning and implementing this event.