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Monday, February 22, 2010

Fill in the Blanks

Last night, during communion came an unexpected moment. There they were, the pastor and the leadership in front of the church holding the bread and the cup, ready to do communion. The pastor had a mic in his hand and was talking about how all these wonderful things are going on in the church and that they were going to sent off some missionaries to Ushuaia tomorrow morning. Then things took an unexpected turn. But to explain what happened, I need to update you abit. If you have been watching the news lately, you might know that the first ever gay wedding happened in Latin America in the province of Ushaia. So the pastor decided to bring that up a little bit. What he would have to say is something I would never forget but would be also something that confirms what I was already thinking about the way the church handles the topic of gay marriage or abortion or things like that.

The pastor said this topic has been a conflict for so many pastors and just like north america, is a controversial topic. They don't get violent or angry or extreme about it the way they do in North America but it has been a theme that people are very mixed about. But Guillermo said what a waste doing things like protesting and fighting are. It is not our jobs to go and define to other people the way they should be acting or to define to them the specifics of what being a Christian looks like. Our only job in the world is to love people, pray for our society, and do our best to make a difference in our world

If change is meant to happen in a person, God is really quite capable of touching someone and transforming them himself. He does not needs us to stick our noses in things that are none of our business and was never our responsibility. The belief system in this church is that our job is to be praying and putting things out into the realm of the spirit for change and transformation in people and in society. But it is not our job to decide what is right or wrong and what the change should look like when God touches society. Nor is it our job to decide what aspects of society need to be changed. This is the reason in their prayer meetings you will hear them pray against the darkness that is over the economy and for the darkness to be broken over our lives and our business and our friends and family and our nation. And you will hear them pray against consummerism and poverty. But you will never hear them pray specifically against people or pick out something that is of political interest and decide that God should support them in their views. We simply pray generally for God's presence to touch people's hearts and minds. But what specifically God deems as needing change or transformation is none of our business.

And then in a surprising turn, he casually said the one of the church's prayer groups meets in the home of gay couple. That one caught me off guard completely. CCNV has hundreds of prayer groups that meet throughout the country in people's homes. It is somewhat like the house church movement in China. What he said meant one of two things, either the couple has opened up their home for the church members to use but aren't involved necessarily in the group. Or the couple might be participating in the prayer group. But whatever the set up is, it isn't the point.

What I love about CCNV is that they focus on their energies on what really matters. Feeding the poor, taking care of orphans and widows, AIDS benefit concerts, making sure that every one of the people who call CCNV their home church is taken care of and covered in prayer (and there is more than 30 000 people). Basically, they are so busy getting right in there and helping the needs of society that for other things that I think for topics that we deem important in our society (gay marriage, abortion, creation vs evolution), they actually really don't care. Developing some kind of creed or deciding what their official stance is isn't a high priority for this church. This is the reason when people come into the church, no one has a little mold ready and tells them "This is what your Christian life should look like". They don't do interviews, or background checks or give you rules or do any of that kind of nonsense. Instead, the attitude is alike "OK, God is going to use our church to impact your life however he decides." We tell them that the basis of Christianity is love and a desire to reach out to the world but beyond that, it's up to God to fill in the blanks of what each person's life should look like specifically or pressure them into anything. It's not the church's job or role.

Which makes me only respect them all the more. You see, Argentina is not an information based society. They are not like North America where we have education and have new information thrown at us all the time by by arenas of both science and politics. So there is no way that we could ever have an evolution vs creation debate because people here don't have that kind of information and alot of them don't have the interest in that kind of information. Information doesn't play a huge role in this society the way it does in hours. People lead very simple lives. But what I love is that the church just does not touch what they don't know and I don't think these kind of topics would ever be of interest to them.

There is so much to do in our world. Seriously! The church and I are more alike than I realized. Honestly, I don't like the way that people get so into the end of the world and trying to figure out the last book in the Bible. If you were to ask me what I believe, like this church, I wouldn't have an answer because I don't care. Because on this earth right now there is so much that needs to be done. One day in time and eternity, we're going to have answers for all the things we've ever wondered about. But right now on our planet, there is so much brokeness and suffering. I don't know about you but making a lasting change on this planet is going to keep me busy for a very long time :)

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas