4 thoughts on “Wherever Our Treasure Is…

  1. Dear Doug,I’m curious what prompted this post. The passage is often on my mind because it speaks to many contexts.For instance, this Sunday is “Celebration of Small Church Ministry Sunday” in the PC(USA), and the worship resources provided by GA include the following reflections:<><>“…What a rich variety of scripture lessons, especially for this Sunday when we celebrate the ministry of smaller membership churches! As I read and re-read these lessons, I was reminded of a conversation I had recently with someone who is a presbytery small church consultant. She was reflecting on her experience with a group of people from several small churches in her presbytery. They were being encouraged by the presbytery to seriously think about working cooperatively to enhance their ministry and mission….“…Now, a presbytery is stepping out into the unknown and taking a risk when it offers such encouragement to small churches. Often, churches will react negatively and some become hostile to the mere suggestion of working cooperatively with other congregations—even when such cooperation has great potential for enhancing their ministry and mission…..“…As the conversations continued, the consultant encouraged the group to talk about the concerns and fears they had about participating in cooperative ministry. After all, if the concerns and fears weren’t acknowledged, they would merely fester. The greatest fear was that of losing the congregations’ individual identity.“The consultant encouraged further discussion about a congregation’s identity. Such things as the church building, other property familiar to them, and the congregation’s history were lifted up. When the identification of such things seemed to be exhausted, she gently asked them, “Are such things really the essence of your congregations’ identity?” As the people considered that question, they realized that, while such things are important, they are not the essence of who they are. They acknowledged that, as Christians, their identity is through Jesus Christ.“Like Paul, this small church consultant asked the group to begin to “set their mind on things of the Spirit.” Together they could become “good soil”, open to new possibilities that could germinate, grow, and flourish.”<><>So often in the Church, numbers drive our notion of richness. How many members, dollars, buildings, and programs we have becomes the measuring stick for our “success” or “failure” in matters of the spirit. That’s odd, and rather sad.I keep wondering of late if I’ll have to leave the institutional Church in order to find a community of faith more in keeping with the gospel.Ah, me! Don’t listen to the blatherings of a pastor on a Friday afternoon. It’s been a long week. I’m just tired. Ya, that’s it. I’m just tired….In Christ,Mark

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  2. Hi there,Well, church spending and defense spending are very different creatures. In church, you spend more and something good might happen, or you might spend less and something better might happen. With defense spending, at least my understanding is you spends more money and you gets more weapons.Interesting the way the pie chart (of gross spending) looks vs. the bar graph (of % of GDP.) The top nations on the pie chart aren’t the ones the relatively ignorant popular mind (i.e. me) would think of as militaristic. I mean, France? Whereas the % of GDP gives you, from the top, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Syria, Iran, USA, Russia and Pakistan… a more militaristic-looking list.

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