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Salt May 2, 2007

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Christianity, Church, Family.
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Lately, I’ve been talking with several folks about a new church start near where I live. Part of the conversation has revolved around “how we do church.”

salt_shaker

Which begs the question for me: What good is salt, if it stays in the shaker?

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1. Oscarandre - May 6, 2007

Well, I guess it depends on your view of salt – some might say that it would be much healthier for people if salt stayed in its shaker…

2. Mia - May 7, 2007

When I first read your question it reminded me of a Sunday eighteen years ago. That was the first time I attended a church service that wasn’t Catholic. At the conclusion of the service little white plastic viles were handed out with the encouragement to “Go and be the salt of the world”. Young and naive I took the vile home and stared at it. I had no clue what they meant by their encouragement. Still, the idea of throwing out the vile made me feel bad. So I put it in the kitchen cabinet just in case I ever learned to cook.

A couple of years ago I gave Pastor a card thanking him for giving his life to the Lord and for being obedient to his calling. I shared the story about the vile of salt with him and signed the card with a closing note that read “Because you did I have salvation in Christ and so do my children. And now I also know what the salt was all about!”

“How we do church.” made me curious… Does the word of God instruct us to go to church? Does it define church as a building or a place of gathering? In Acts 11 I found the church described as a group of people who were believers in Christ. The disciples met with the church, not in a church.

Now I’m wondering how we managed to encase ourselves in buildings and gathering places to worship and praise God, in hopes of Him leading his lost children to the sanctuary doors. I think about the perks we display as a means of attracting people to “our churches” and wonder, truly wonder what it would be like to let go of what we know and completely trust in the leading of His Holy Spirit to bring our world to Christ.

3. Tim - May 7, 2007

Oscarandre,

Good point! I suppose the correct food analogy would be “a little salt is necessary, but too much ain’t healthy.” Then again, maybe the right way to look at it is in terms of concentrations. If the salt (Christians) were spread out more, maybe the flavor wouldn’t seem so distasteful to some. The more I think about it, the more I think you’re onto something with this analogy. Salt is only useful when it’s “in solution,” and that doesn’t mean “some water sprinkled over a bunch of salt.”

Maybe we (Christians) would learn more, grow more, be more socially relevant, and accomplish a whole lot more good in the world, if we were truly “in solution.” Maybe that IS a solution. 😉

Mia,

You’re asking many of the same questions that I have. I think one of the ways we (Christians) lose credibility is when we “sit in the shaker” and, as a result, remain ignorant of what’s going on in people’s lives. Christians aren’t immune to problems, and if there were fewer walls and more conversations, I have little doubt the effects would be good for everyone involved.

Thanks! – Tim

4. Oscarandre - May 7, 2007

I think you are on to something, Tim – the Salvation Army, for example, despite a somewhat daunting title, actually engender quite a degree of universal respect usually accompanied by some comment such as “Well, I don’t have time for religion/church, but at least the Salvos do good.”

5. totaltransformation - May 17, 2007

“What good is salt, if it stays in the shaker?”

I know it’s better for your health. 🙂 But for evangelism, not so much.

6. Tim - May 17, 2007

Oscarandre,

Most of the stuff the S.A. does is highly respected, but some of their work seems to engender (down at the individual level) more animosity between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” For the moment, I’m kind of stuck on this:

– Love God
– Love Your Neighbor
– Expand Your Neighborhood

This is a loose paraphrase of Jesus’ reported response to someone trying to trip him up with a tight interpretation of the OT law. He gave the greatest commandments and then followed up the question of “Who’s my neighbor” with the story of The Good Samaritan. I’m currently struggling with why we (Christians) have focused so tightly on the evangelism of The Great Commission, and seem to have lost the social mandate.

TT,

See the previous part of this comment for some expansion on this. I’m not even talking about evangelism… just the “love your neighbor” thing that we (Christians) always seem to be bragging about. Do we only love people when they do what we want (i.e. listen to our message)? That sounds more like manipulation than love.

No, I see us having boundless energy for loving ourselves and those close to us, but the energy seems to taper off quite a bit for people “outside our box.” My experience suggests that my evangelism is pointless if it’s not paired with real love, and that means that I’m just as concerned with someone’s quality of life here as I am the quality of their eternal life. – Tim

7. Oscarandre - May 18, 2007

I guess I have recently come to a simple interpretation (perhaps synthesis) of what I have learned from the various scriptures (although this might rightly fall under the category of “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”) and that is “Do good.” Perhaps your 3 points say the same thing.

8. Tim - May 18, 2007

I would agree with “Do good” as an all-encompassing interpretation. I suppose my frustration is the tendency for us to confuse this with “Do well.” 🙂

9. Oscarandre - May 18, 2007

You got that right, Tim, or even “Do lots.”


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