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Church is Bringing Serving Back… and Back Again?

November 10, 2010

This video has been making the rounds. I swiped it from Matthew Turner. One commenter noted, “I’m really really trying to be less judgmental and critical, so I won’t say much. But I can’t ignore how uncomfortable it is to see middle aged men trying to channel Justin Timberlake. *shivers*”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bringing Serving Back from Parkview Christian Church on Vimeo.

Now, what many of the posters have failed to note concerning this video is that it is derivative and an almost exact copy of another church a few years earlier… except the older one is done “better.”

Recorded and performed by BP and the Maitre D’s of Community Christian Church.

I’ll leave any comments between the two videos up to you guys and gals on this one.

But…

As I read John’s account, I keep coming back to a peculiar incident that interrupts the progress of the meal. “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power,” John begins with a flourish and then adds this incongruous completion: “so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.” In the garb of a slave, he then bent over and washed the grime of Jerusalem from the disciples’ feet.

What a strange way for a guest of honor to act during a final meal with his friends. What incomprehensible behavior from a ruler who would momentarily announce, “I confer on you a kingdom.” In those days, foot washing was considered so degrading that a master could not require it of a Jewish slave. Peter blanched at the provocation.

The scene of the foot washing stands out to author M. Scott Peck as one of the most significant of Jesus’ life. “Until that moment the whole point of things had been for someone to get on top, and once he had gotten on top to stay on top or else attempt to get farther up.. But here this man is already on top–who was a rabbi, teacher, master–suddenly got down on the bottom and began to wash the feet of his followers. In that act Jesus symbolically overturned the whole social order. Hardly comprehending what was happening, even his own disciples were almost horrified by his behavior.” (Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew, pp. 191-92)

I’m not necessarily sure “Random Acts” is the fulfillment of, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” I’m thinking more “Intentional Acts” would be closer to the service that should be “brought back.”

However, “I’m bringing clothing the poor and feeding the hungry back” doesn’t really fit the meter of the original song!

But hey, baby steps right?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jon H permalink
    November 10, 2010 9:32 am

    Just wait until someone does “Tithe In A Box”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy permalink
      November 10, 2010 10:28 am

      As in Firesign Theater’s “Rat in a Box”?
      Or SNL’s “Dick in a Box”?

      • November 10, 2010 11:22 am

        You should not give me any ideas.

        Ushers with offering boxes “mysteriously” attached to their pants – collecting!

        That just might get me defrocked.😉

        • November 10, 2010 11:24 am

          You kind of look like the dude in the first video Frank, maybe you could “rock” your own version for your church?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy permalink
          November 28, 2010 12:23 pm

          It’s happened, but not in a church.

          Further Confusion (the West Coast furry con in San Jose), three-four years ago, when this remake of “Dick in a Box” screened at their con variety show, “Furry Night Live”.

          After the show, the audience ballots for “Best Video”, “Best Live Stage”, and “Best of Show” were collected by the fursuiters in the video. Wearing the same boxes the same way as in the video.

  2. November 10, 2010 11:40 am

    I have mixed feelings about the direction folks have taken the whole servant evangelism paradigm. I imagine you’ve seen the Love project put on by the EFC, at least the Canadians reading this might have. We got involved as a church, after all Vineyad leader Steve Sjogren was a huge popularizer of acts of serving. But the big difference is that Steve would deliberately go week after week to the same places and clean their bathrooms for free. That was how he modelled it. It was very intentional despite the term “random” being tagged on – from listening to my kids the word “random” doesn’t seem to mean the same thing it did when I was growing up either. Anyway I had two big problems with the Love campaign. First it was an annual event. I can imagine that it was intended to start something more consistent, but that is a tough sell for middle class comfortable in my pew churches. Second, and this was from being part of planning events, most evangelicals didn’t get that it wasn’t meant to translate immediately into bums in pews. That part drove me nuts. There was a huge opportunity to churches to just do something together that brought them together was a bit of a different witness than our usual gay bashing and arrogant detachment. The first year it seemed to actually do some of that – bringing pockets of churches together with minimal kingdom protecting from the pastors – but from what I can tell it did not continue.

    I think serving has to be a key part of our identity – but it has to be consistent, intentional, and free of ulterior motives. But that seems to be too high a calling.

    As for the random acts of kindness deal. Randomly paying for gas is fine to make you feel good – but that is the reward folks. I’m sure there are odd occasions where it makes people think. But really it is what we should all be doing – Christian or otherwise. It is called being a member of the human race. And it is likely more effective if it isn’t just over the top one off acts – but consistent kindness and generosity. Big acts can also freak out people – make them suspicious of your ulterior motives. Not that you shouldn’t do such things, especially if you are feeling so prompted (but again I’m more convinced it is about us learning obedience more than impacting another person with our act, the temptation to make more of it than it is is so incredible), but if it doesn’ t match a consistency in your whole life’s witness – what is the point?

  3. November 11, 2010 3:32 am

    Ah yes, affluent christians “serving” by washing the windows of SUVs and handing out cakes. This confusion of service with consumerist comforts is sickening. . . or is it just the bad curry I ate last night?

    Can I polish your Rolex for you sir, Jesus wants me to help you.

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