"Having travelled thus for many days, at last they came within
sight of Mansoul; the which when they saw, the captains could
for their hearts do no less than for a while bewail the
condition of the town; for they quickly saw how that it was
prostrate to the will of Diabolus, and to his ways and
designs." John Bunyan - The Holy War
It's amazing to see what happens in a crisis.
I was intrigued to learn yesterday that as a result of the current recession, councils in my part of the world have been inundated with requests for allotments, so that people can go out and grow their own fruit and vegetables. What's particularly of interest here, is that whilst it's not really that more cost effective (in terms of the weekly budget) to do this, it is of enormous benefit to the people who do it - they live and eat better as a result, and the land is put to good use.
It's interesting to seek to apply this example to the modern church.
Like the bulk of our present society, popular spirituality has taken a 'fast food' approach when it comes to its delivery of the Christian message and practice. Having a 'take away' meal, as we all know, once in a blue moon, may be convenient, but imagine trying to live on that (remember the movie, 'super-size me'. Scary stuff!).
I understand it's possible to poison certain grains in such a way that the more you eat, the more hungry you become, until you ingest enough of the poison that you literally eat yourself to death.
We can all point to examples where the church is suffering from this form of spiritual obesity, so what is the solution?
One of the exciting aspects of the modern era is our astonishing ability to communicate. People walk around with phones on their ears all day, with Lap-tops on the trains and buses, with access to literally billions of pieces of information, but they're often 'fat' or 'anorexic' in their lives as a result of the diet they get here.
We need to harness such means and use them as a window into a larger world - a point of access to a place where we can feel and smell, handle and engage with the true benefits of the faith that has once been given for our benefit.
If you are ready to get your hands dirty, so to speak, in such an engagement, here's a sight I can recommend:
It's not for the faint-hearted - it'll require thought, inter-action and, possibly, quite a lot of change,
but it (along with the many other people and places you can link to through it) may encourage some real health in these trying times.
The crisis is here, and it's very real, but the remedy is where it always has been -
in the depths of His mercy and the riches of His grace.