Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday Afterglow 6/16/2008

Here at the Abbey of the Genesee where I work by day, I look out at 1200 acres of farmland. Bros. Alberic and James work dilligently as our "farm brothers" to plant, care for, and harvest peas, sweet corn, and other crops that are a vital part of the community well being. Without farming, a significant source of revenue and the ability of the Abbey to survive would be threatened. When harvest time comes, the farm is buzzing with activity to bring in all the fruit of the labors that have preceded the harvest.

This past Sunday, our Gospel took us to the portion of Matthew where Jesus tells his disciples that the harvest is plentiful and ready, but there are too few laborers to go and bring in all that God has made ready in the land of the earth. It is a convicting message. Jesus is basically saying that he has made ready the harvest by doing his part. He has done the work of salvation at the cross. He has sent the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of men. People are ready to believe and be saved.

The problem is, we do not want to work the fields. Illegal immigration in America has taught us that Americans think they are below doing many manual labor jobs like picking the harvest on farms or cleaning hotel rooms. My thought today is, "Has this attitude infiltrated the church to the point that we are not willing to do the harvest work of the Church?"

American churches are more built on entertainment models than agricultural models. Do you think this has any correlation to the ability of the American churches to harvest what God has prepared?


Fr. Kevin


Melissa said...

I think the two ideas are completely irrelevant.

Someone got the idea that an employer could hire a person who comes to our country other than by legal procedures and pay them less, avoid employment taxes and make a greater profit. The illegals can't complain about the payment because they are not protected by the law they skirted in the first place and it is more than they'd make doing the same job in their country of citizenship.

Unions and liberals want to continually raise the minimum wage with the idea that all wages would rise, and people will remember this "raise" at voting time. The problem with this is that employers want value for their payroll dollar. They're not going to hire someone who isn't qualified, is uneducated and doesn't speak the language. Anyone can pick tomatoes. My pre-K students could pick tomatoes and they have a minimal education. (And that is why we have child labor laws.) If minimum wage was not so high employers could afford to hire anyone who is unemployed. Unemployed Americans sit at home, while illegals claim the "less than minimum wage."

An additional attitude I see is that "You can't support a family on minimum wage." Minimum wage was not meant to support a family. That's the wage for the uneducated, untrained and beginning worker. (Your teenager.) Get your education and have a good income before you start a family.

Evangelism is not a job, especially one that does not pay worldly benefits. We're called to be ambassadors for Christ wherever we are. Everywhere you are is an open field for evangelism. Especially if you are in the western world (America and Europe.) Why do you think Anglican Mission in America started? The Africans have been converted to Christ in amazing numbers. They are now sending "harvesters" to the USA because we are a mission field. You don't have to go to some third world jungle to bring Christ to someone.
There are un- and under-churched people all around you. Live your Christian lives (let your light so shine before men) and they will come to you to ask for prayer and about Christ (and bring glory to God.)

St.Patrick's said...

My question about correlation was just a "thinking out loud" on the relationship of Christianity and the larger culture of the nation in which we live. I regularly read emerging church web sites like www.theooze.com and read books like Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Emerging church thinkers have suggested some of the ideas I raised in connection with my message last Sunday.

Within America, missiologists and sociologists note that immigrant churches like hispanic and Asian congregations are growing faster than indigenous churches. So I am thinking "Why are the churches that are growing in America and around the world growing?"

The CEC, like other continuing Anglican movements, also has explosive growth in Africa. Our churches here in the USA are a small percentage of the total communicant members in our communion.

I do think the entertainment model popular today is very foreign to the worship in the times of Jesus and the Apostles as it creates passivity and a spectator/audience mentality. It wasn't even this way 25 years ago when I first started seriously following Jesus in evangelical churches.

When you compare America and Africa, the growth the American Church had during the first and second great awakenings is similar in scope to present-day Africa (but not in scale due to Africa's huge continetal multi-nation population). Poorer third world under-developed and emerging nations are where the Gospel is thriving.

I agree that we are to be intentional ambassadors for Jesus Christ everywhere we go--presence evangelism. I still wonder what impact current cultural trends have are having on evangelism--good and bad. I have read all the emerging church pastors and writers who are saying that we need to form new evangelism models and overcome cultural paradigms that are making Christianity a spectator sport.


Fr. Kevin