Skip to main content

Pizza vs Potlucks

Yesterday my church family got together and had a party. It was a hot, muggy day in Cincinnati but we didn't let that stop us from getting together and playing games together and eating food. Fun authenticates forgiveness and helps build real-ationships (see what I did there?) in a way that attending church services and Bible studies alone cannot do. It gives us a chance to see each other sweat, wear gym shorts, spill water, eat cookies, and laugh out loud. It was a sweet time.

The lunch arrangement was for everyone to bring a side dish to share. Dale and a few others prepared hotdogs and meat while everyone's side dishes lined a table in the shade. Everyone brought something to the table and there was plenty left over for people to take home.

Watching the potluck unfold gave me some new fodder for my theological brain:
The Church was designed to be a potluck experience. Everyone brings something to the table and each of our unique dishes combine to create a whole dinner. We all come bringing something that costs us something but at the end of the day all of our needs are met and then some.

As opposed to...
For the past 20 years or so we have been making the American Church into a Pizza Party Church--where we all show up and consume as much as we can handle. Yes, we still have a good time and create memories with each other, but we didn't come bringing a sacrifice that costs us anything. We simply show up, show a couple slices of pie in our face, and leave the pizza boxes for someone else to clean up. There isn't any variety or glamour to a pizza party. Sure, there is no quirky side dish with questionable ingredients but there is also no heart put into the creation of the food, no originality in the dishes, no hodge-podge of cutlery and serving dishes, and no diversity and synergy among the meal.

We have created an atmosphere of Consumerism vs Community, Pizza vs Potlucks.
-We crank up the music to 108db--loud enough that you don't feel awkward singing out of pitch, but also loud enough that no one would be able to tell if you quit singing altogether.
-We hand out coffee and donuts before the service begins, subliminally telling you that you don't need to bring anything to church but merely relax and receive.
-We talk about how we didn't get anything out of the message today; as if the primary aim of a worship service was for us to receive instead of give God our attention and our hearts.
-We sacrifice times of sharing and testimony and leave all the talking to only those who are trained in exegesis with public oratory skill.

What if instead when we all came to church we treated it more like a potluck?
-What if we brought a snack to share with those seated around us instead of looking to receive something from others?
-What if we took away the sound system altogether so that corporate music didn't happen unless the people sang?
-What if the offering time was a highlight of the service instead of an afterthought during a time of announcements?
-What if we allowed everyone who had a word from the Lord to share, regardless of their pacing or natural delivery?

What if Sundays were focused more on Community than Consumerism? How would that change the way the world perceives us?


Popular posts from this blog

Protesting ChristMass

During a meeting with several other Cincinnati area worship ministers last week we got to talking shop about Christmas/Christmas Eve services; who was doing them, who was not, how many and what time. I was intrigued (neither positive nor adverse reaction) to find that roughly a third of the churches represented were not having any kind of Christmas Day services, even though Christmas morning is a Sunday this year. Yet there was one leader (Reggie) who said that their church has a Christmas morning worship service every year regardless of whether it falls on a Sunday.

Initially this shocked me. How could this be? Why would this be? Why have a church service every Christmas? Why not stay home and eat cinnamon rolls and open presents like the rest of America? Reggie said many of the people who expect this from his congregation are not native North Americans. Initially Reggie was against the idea, but once he realized how many people from his congregation wanted to have a Christmas mornin…

The Home School Game

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Our family has started a tradition of celebrating this day by opening gifts from our stockings on this day and remembering the historical figure of Nicholas, who was a humble and generous person. It is a wonderful compromise for our family backgrounds to both celebrate Santa Claus and at the same time keep Christ-mas about Christ. It has become a tradition I look forward to every year.

This year, we decided to add an element of teaching our children to be generous by choosing toys they want to give away to other girls and boys who are less fortunate than our children. Katie lined up two dozen toys they had not been playing with for some time now and laid them all out on a table. One by one, our kids examined the toys on the table and were instructed to pick out onetoy they wanted to keep for themselves. After each kid had picked out a toy to keep, they were told to go back through the toys and pick another toy they wanted to give away. It was heart-…

Imitation: Diets, Houses, and Faith

There were 3 options for my preschoolers to choose from: Honey Bunches of Oats, Cocoa Pebbles, or Raisin Bran. I set all 3 on the table and asked each child which cereal they would like to eat for breakfast; all three chose 'Honey Boats.' After pouring their cereal and getting each kid situated, I poured myself a bowl of Raisin Bran and we all got to munching.

When Isaiah (my oldest) finished his cereal first he asked if he could have more. Sure thing, which one do you want? 
"That one" *pointing to the Raisin Bran*
Surprised I pour him a bowl of Raisin Bran, surprised that he ate the entire bowl.

As we were cleaning up our bowls from the table after breakfast I realized that the Cocoa Pebbles were not touched this morning, not even mentioned. Odd, I thought, typically the chocolately-sugary cereals don't last a week at our house. And yet this is the same [big] bag of Cocoa Pebbles that we opened over a month ago. Why the sudden lack of interest?