Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Luke 21:1-6
What is it about this story that is sad and ridiculous and oh, so appropriate to us today?
While Jesus was watching the stuff of eternal significance, we were all watching the stuff that was just temporal and would be gone in the blink of an eye.
Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.
If one of the objectives of the Reformation was to blur the line between the two “classes” of church members (clergy and laymen) which existed at the time, then I think Martin Luther would be terribly disappointed in the traditional American church of today. We talk a lot about the “priesthood of the believer” and Spiritual gifts in every Christian and how we are all ministers, but the ministerial structure of our traditional protestant churches betrays us. We still have two classes of members: professional Christians (ministerial staff) and the rest of us. And, unfortunately, the rest of us are most often content to sit back and wait to be entertained and fed and ministered to by the professional Christians. Any attempts by Luther and friends to truly mobilize the laity of the church seem to have failed pretty miserably by most standards.
Okay, okay. Maybe it’s not quite that bad. But even among our healthiest churches, there is often this understanding, this “norm” that has the professional Christians doing the work (and getting paid for it) and the rest of us just coming up under them and supporting that work however we can. Our church offices and support staff are often geared toward that same paradigm. Our budgets, our programming, our communications strategies, virtually our entire infrastructure in the traditional evangelical church is bent toward this same attitude of paying our ministers to do ministry so that we don’t have to.
Because of this, my heart aches for the traditional church. I know there are plenty of non-traditional churches out there who are experimenting with other models…churches filled with people who have fled the traditional church in order to pursue …