Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brush-On Gospel; Roll-On Church?

While Jason, Keith & Terry are waiting for the supplier to come up with some more of the siding needed to finish the house ... they seem to've run them slap out ... I've been doing a little painting. We have some windows on our screened-in deck, which we've decided to paint, as some of them are rough-sawn lumber and quite nice. There's also the doors, etc.

I like painting as it doesn't require a lot of brain power ... kind of like waxing your car ... so I get to think a lot while I'm slopping the stuff around. And my mind is always drawn to two painters, one of which prompted this strange dissertation.

One is my Dad, but he's not the one. He was a fine painter, although he made his livelihood in steel sales and management. I recall one time we had our little house in Calumet City painted & carpeted, and they chose a bright chartreuse enamel for the living room. The pros came out and painted it and it looked awful. Lap marks everywhere, so Dad called the decorator and the painters showed up the next day and re-did it. It looked the same, only worse, as there were now TWO layers of lap-marks.

Dad finally told them to give HIM the paint and a brush and a roller and he did it all himself. And it looked beautiful.

The other painter was the man who painted our house in Muncie, the last house we lived in before we moved to Pelham. The builder was the best in town, and we bought it after the annual Parade of Homes, it having been a show home. And the painter had done a fabulous job on it.

I talked to him later ... the builder was an insurance customer of mine ... and he told me something interesting. He said that he always painted with a brush, which was the best way to paint, as he could control the coat of paint, how much was applied, how it was spread, etc, better that way. Then, when he was done, he used a paint roller to get the texture he wanted!

He also said that he brushed it on, because the action of the brush literally rubbed the paint into the surface, rather than just laying it on top. He told me it was much more likely to stick and maintain the surface, when he painted it that way.

I'd never known there was so much TO painting a wall, myself. Live and learn....

So I was reflecting on that when I happened to turn my thoughts to the spread of the gospel. And the old debate about the ministry-based outreach, as opposed to the evangelism-based method. I have to think that the ministry approach is more like brushing on the gospel, as opposed to evangelism and the risk of just putting on a "coating of the gospel" that may, or may not, stick.

Judging by the rate at which High School grads drop out more-or-less permanently, and in light of 10 million or so church-members we can't even find any more, I'd say something .. make that SOMETHING .. is causing the gospel to come unstuck. Perhaps, even, more often than not.

And THAT thought brings me back to the post I did some time ago, about "soul winning". How we should be a friend, a good neighbor, minister to people, so that when the Lord convicts them, they'll have someone to talk to. And, being as open with our friendship, and reliance on, Jesus, as we are about any other friendship .. human relationship .. that we're only too happy to discuss with someone.

I admit I may be a bit jaundiced in my view. Peg says she got a REAL light coating of the gospel when she said the sinner's prayer at age 12; she's described it as sort of a "love-em and leave'em" gospel. She never had ANY discipleship training until we joined the Presbyterian Church, in fact.

And then there's my experience of 25 years in the SBC, around folks mostly who know the doctrines of the Trinity and of "Eternal Security" and other SBC regulars like being against the lottery and against beverage alcohol, but whose knowledge is too often limited to a recitation of the conclusions of other people.

I've often asked people what the most important, the most to-the-point verse in the Bible is, and they usually say John 3:16. THEN I ask them who said it, and to whom it was said. I don't recall anyone even knowing that! You'd think, with arguably the most important verse in the Bible .. folks would know stuff like that...

Oh .. there's also that pesky 15%/35%/50% deal. You know .. 15% of the people do 85% of the work and give 85% of the money .. 35% give, and do, the other 15%, and 50% of the people give and do nothing. Come to think of it, that makes sense, as we cannot even account for the whereabouts of half the folks.

Maybe more.

For all the SBC has done right over the years, this sure looks wrong to me. I don't know .. maybe all denominations are like that .. but it sure looks to me as if we're putting just enough out there to get'em coated enough to get in the front door. But for sure, it's not lasting.

When Jesus did the painting, the coat lasted 2,000 years. I'm not sure ours will.

Hmmm ... could it be ... the prompting of the end times might be a result of the failure of the church as we know it?

Hmmmm.

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2 Comments:

At 8:40 PM, October 14, 2008, Blogger foxofbama said...

Bob:
I was the 71st comment on Wade Burleson's tribute blog to you.
You may want to click over and see what I said.
Moreso, you may want to click over to my blog and see my recommended reading to Rick Bussey of RickNBubba before he speaks to the Alabama Baptist convention.
And put Jerry Vines church member Susan Shaw; put her new book on your must read reading list.

 
At 8:51 PM, October 14, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Fox..

Fair enough ... but note it's Rick Burgess; Bubba is Bill Bussey.

They were clients of mine .. I insured their Mobile Urban Assault Truck .. a mobile studio they use for remotes.

 

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