I recently returned from Western Canada where I had spent the Christmas Season with family and I was reminded of some obvious differences between the East and the West. One obvious difference is the prevalence of brick buildings verses the wooden structures of the west. Another glaring difference is the amount of buildings or streets and avenues that begin with ‘Saint’ reminding us of a day when the Church played a very active role in shaping society.
Even on the Peace Tower at the centre of our Parliament, are the inscribed scriptures, which simply points to an era when the government recognized that the majority of Canadians held to at least some Christian principles.
What a different time period it must have been.
Since then it seems that the Church has abandoned some of its role in these areas of society. Today we may occupy ourselves more with critiquing state run programs while all the while we are trying to convince culture that we are still cool and relative.
“If only people could come to our service and hear the hip music and hear the captivating speaking, then they would believe.”
It’s a bit of shock to read through a recent poll through the Ottawa Citizen, which states that half of all Canadians believe that religion does more harm than good.
Could it be that the Church has pulled back so far that we have successfully removed ourselves from the culture and that our worth is no longer recognized in society?
My generation is very good at locating and lobbying for change in all aspects of society. Look at the occupy movement, or the many different young people lobbyist groups calling for new legislation or even the simple act of buying free trade coffee – because it’s the right thing to do.
While we are good at recognizing wrongs and using every possible technology to shine a light on them, we often fall short on actually putting our own hands to the plough.
Christians have done an excellent job of educating who to contact and who to write and where to blog etc. for the purposes of motivating our government to take notice and address different social concerns.
The only thing is that it places so much of the solution in the hands of government. We need to remember that politics and government are downstream from culture. As people are raised up to transform a situation in society our government reflects that change in its leadership and governmental policies. It was Ghandi who said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
What if George Müller seeing all the homeless children and orphans in Bristol, had rallied the government to the need and was preoccupied in organizing the local church to care for the problem rather than recognizing the call of the Lord on his life to take the lead in addressing the great need himself? It was because he stepped out himself that that Lord, through Mr. Mueller, raised nearly 11 thousand orphans, established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans.
Its this kind of gospel worldview that has lead Christians historically to lay hold of the plough and “be the change that is needed in society” enabling once more for the Church to be that recognizable institution in society. Proposing a different kingdom and not imposing the kingdom, but living the alternative kingdom of God will distinguish once more the Church in society.