Learn To Cook!

If there’s a phrase or idea that has really set us on our butt as the church it would have to be that of Sunday as ‘feeding time’.

If you’ve been around churches any length of time then I’m sure you will have heard people speak of ‘getting fed’ on Sundays. It’s so accepted now that it rarely gets questioned, but surely we need to keep challenging this idea that actually serves to undermine progress towards spiritual maturity.

Yes you heard me correctly.

If you had an adult child that came back home to ‘get fed’ (once a week) you would surely question what was going on in their minds. First they’d be completely malnourished… but secondly you’d have to look in the mirror and ask ‘what kind of lame job did I do as a parent?!’

Why didn’t I teach my kid to cook?… And why didn’t I teach my kid to take responsibility for their own nutrition?…

I know its not rocket science, but its a deeply ingrained way of thought – that we turn up on Sundays to ‘get fed’ usually by a ‘skilled chef’ who has done some serious preparation and for some (many?) that’s it for the week.

But what if we re-calibrated our understanding of Sunday so that rather than being the one time during the week when we stick our collective snouts in the trough, we saw it simply as the day we ‘eat together as a family’ with the other days being when we eat alone. Then perhaps we would foster better spiritual health in our communities.

Seriously – if the only time you get fed is on a Sunday morning then you’re in bad shape. If you’re a regular reader here (and I know there aren’t many left these days!) then you’d know I have been reflecting recently on the need for a bit more rigour and discipline in our spiritual formation and what’s interesting is that I think many people actually realise they are hungry – and they want it – but they aren’t sure where to start or mabe aren’t equipped to make it happen.

A couple of weeks back I put out the call to our blokes to commit to 6 months of ‘training ourselves to be godly’ i.e. practicing spiritual disciplines and engaging seriously as a community with scripture, prayer and the other more classical disciplines and within a week I had 7 men say ‘count me in’ which I think is absolutely sensational, but also a recognition that we need more than a Sunday roast once a week.

Of course if you know anything about ‘health’ then you’d know that good physical health involves a balance of calorie intake and calorie output. If all we do is get fed then watch out Biggest Loser… So part of the ‘training to be godly’ process is that of practicing service and making it every bit as natural as eating…

So let’s keep disassembling this bizarre nonsensical idea that we turn up on Sundays to get fed and let’s be more focused on teaching one another to cook so that we can actually feed ourselves.

Which idea do you reckon has more biblical currency?…

10 thoughts on “Learn To Cook!

  1. Amen. Hallalujah. The concept of the ‘Sunday Feeding Trough’ (Sunday roast? Roast pastor?) can be taken further, and shows itself to be a dangerous mindset.

    There are:

    – those who do not like what is being served up, despite it being good for them. They either complain, or leave.

    – those who put pressure on the ‘Sunday delivery team’ to ‘serve what we need (ie, ‘want’) because it is such a vital part of their walk.

    – those who whinge because it is ‘too meaty’, ‘too sugary’, ‘too spicey’ etc.

    However, it is a mindset that seems to suit churches, and I suspect those particular pastors who like to 1. have their churches full (‘come for your feeding time – you can’t afford to miss it’), and 2. don’t trust others to feed, meaning that it all happens on Sunday, all from the front, and all from the one person/team (mindset).

    Clearly, it’s a bit of a sore point at the moment… 🙂

    I’m always encouraged to hear about pastors (such as yourself, in this case Hamo) who put the role of feeding out to the body more broadly.

  2. Just wanted to encourage you to know that here’s another regular reader of your posts! I access you usually through google reader.

  3. Hamo,

    I’m a regular Hamo – don’t say much but I’m here! I’ve just started using Thomas a Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ as a devotional and I’ve got to say it’s pretty kick arse… still just a relevant today.

    I’m right with you on the discipleship front.

  4. Great post, Hamo. Completely agree (and am another follower who subscribes with google reader).

    We recently started attending a church that tagged itself as missional. We *thought* that meant that a bunch of folks who were cooking on their own (and feeding their neighbors at the same time) were getting together to “swap recipes” and relish the company of The Chef on Sunday evenings.

    But since old habits die hard, it has more taken the form of some well-intentioned folks trying to open a new restaurant.

    To beat this analogy down, though. I think a lot of Christians can “survive” on one meal a week because they aren’t expending much energy the rest of the time. (And even on one meal–usually of junk food–they get flabby.) The folks who exert themselves and discover how much energy it takes to live against human nature quickly become hungry and physically fit.

  5. Hamo,

    you are on the money yet again. just been pondering this since you wrote it and wondered if there was a ‘better way’ or perhaps, a more Aussie way of doing the feeding. We Australians are an eglatarian lot and have since Colonial times snubbed Authority and Authority Figures – we tend to not take them all that seriously. We also love our BBQ’s and the essence of the BBQ is one bloke on the tongs with several others close by offering advice and comfort (replenishing the tong man’s beer) and the occaisonal dig with several others bringing along the salad. It’s a cooperative venture with much camraderie and a good feed (hopefully) ensues.

    Could then, in an Aussie church setting, a similar thing work? whereby a group, say 3 or 4, under the direction of a ‘bloke with the tongs’ lead a conversation (rather than a sermon) whilst another group prepare and deliver up the salad (music) – (although I also thought of perhaps someone DJ-ing the service – dropping tracks into gaps in the conversation sort of thing)

    I’m kind of thinking ‘church in the round’ but with our present church architecture maybe it would still work with the barbie conversation at the front – maybe the music from the back.

    Anyway, just some thoughts but the real idea would be that the bbq conversation would allow feedback and comments from the sidelines. I like the idea of ‘swapping recipes’ – “here’s a sauce I made – try it and see if you like it” by Bob.

    I also am a regular reader – also via google reader.



  6. great post hamo – like the thought of being fed during the week and coming together to eat as a family. Frees us up a lot more to enjoy the experience instead of putting weight on the preacher to constantly churn out “good” sermons.

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