OMCGs and Barbarian Faith – Part II

When talking with my friend ‘D’ I was trying to help him understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I am discovering that when someone comes from a particular experience of community they have a tendency to overlay that framework on subsequent forms of community. So in our conversations he was continually viewing the church thru the lens of the ‘gang’. In that scenario I would be the Pres and our leadership team, Vice Pres, Sergeant at Arms etc…

It did make it a tad tricky for him to ‘get’ church…

However what he did ‘get’ was that when we follow Jesus he calls us to be ‘one percenters’, not to simply show up and be in the club and draw on all of its benefits, but to be right in the deep end and completely sold out. I told him that if he was a ‘one percenter’ in his old world then the only way to enter this world was as a one percenter – or don’t bother…

If you’re even mildly intelligent you have already figured out the problem with that statement. Churches are full of people who are not ‘one percenters’. Churches are full of hangers on and wannabes who simply enjoy hanging around the gang, or for whom it has become a way of life. ‘D’ is no mug and having been around our church community for 6 months now he asked this question of me:

‘What’s the deal with this lot?’ he asked me one day. ‘I mean I’m more like Jesus than half of them…’ He had observed some passive and indifferent faith and didn’t see that lining up with what we had talked about. What could I say?… For someone who had just jumped into the life of faith he was already disillusioned.

Dallas Willard has said this well:

The leading assumption in the American church today is that you can be a Christian but not a disciple. That has placed a tremendous burden on a mass of Christians who are not disciples. We tell them to come to church, participate in our programs and give money. But we see a church that knows nothing of commitment. We have settled for the marginal, and so we carry this awful burden of trying to motivate people to do what they don’t want to do. We can’t think about church the way we have been.”

When discipleship is optional then we create a culture where laziness is normal and where faith is flimsy rather than muscular and rugged. I have no doubt that part of the reason we struggle to get blokes in the church community is because it is more passive and gentle and doesn’t call out their more primal instincts and passions.

I sometimes wonder if I were not a Christian and instead were a middle aged family man who was quite happy with life, would I bother investigating the life of faith?

I imagine that at some time in my life when there was a crisis I may be desperate enough to turn to churchies, but then I may also look to a form of spirituality that looks cooler – be that right or wrong…

I am not for a moment suggesting that ‘coolness’ ought to be our goal, but I wonder if we approached faith like Mcmanus suggests in ‘The Barbarian Way’ if men might not be inspired and drawn in.

Ok – I should let you know what Mcmanus had to say shouldn’t I?…

Next post…

To be continued…

1st digital camera

8 thoughts on “OMCGs and Barbarian Faith – Part II

  1. This is awesome, I’ve actually been thinking about this for the last couple of days. Im talking about it a bit tomorrow, the difference between saying you know ‘god’, and actually following the specific and sacrificial Jesus, the one who gets into trouble, and stirs things up, and asks people to take massive risks, rather than just be comfortable and spiritually lazy, the one who calls out that primal instinct for adventure and broadened horizons.

    One question though, what’s a one percenter?

  2. a one percenter is the cream of the crop – the one who takes things very seriously and doesn’t see middle ground as acceptable.

  3. He sees himself as more like Jesus – and he’s probably right, and needs to be encouraged for that. Just cos others don’t / can’t, doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t. Biker clubs have ‘associates’ and other posers who join in on the fun stuff and talk the lingo, but don’t do much more than that, so I guess we would need to expect that in church communities as well.

    When we got involved in junior surf-lifesaving this year, we noticed that ’80-20′ principle that we’d heard about so long in churches – alive and well in a non-church structure as well.

    So these ’80-20′ and ‘1 percenters’ principles aren’t church, or bikie, or CWA or anything – they are basic human principles that follow in most/all organisations big enough to accommodate passengers.

    I played at a pub last night and chatted for 15min with a girl with a similar beef, but had walked away cos she was ‘burned by the church and God’ through her particular denomination. Unfortunately, she was at the wrong end of her 5th glass of red for much new info to permeate her skull, but the principle is very similar – why on earth would she bother getting involved with all this church stuff when they just let her down? (Admittedly, I don’t think it was all the churches fault in her case, but that was her perception).

    I reckon ‘D’ has a better chance of understanding faith than understanding church!! 🙂

  4. You remind of the good questions Dave Murrow raises in “Why Men Hate Going to Church”, but I think you’re onto a stronger answer. It’s not (just) the forms of church that fall short but the very (lack of) substance. Make your church as masculine as you want, but the guys will still figure out if there’s no purpose to being there beyond the event itself.

    My gut feel is that the minority church will continue to lose the marginal members, while the one-percenters steadily attract more of their like. My opinion wavers on whether you can hope to inspire the marginal to radical commitment, but it feels harsh to cut them away.

  5. Toddy, i loved what you said about the masculine ‘form’ over substance. I remember being in a men’s conference, and to start things off, two harley davidson’s were ridden into the auditorium. Now i don’t have a thing against harley’s but from the conference i just got the feeling that having the toys and the look was more important than fighting the tough battles of a radical, meaningful life that doesn’t need to put on a show.

  6. “one percenter’”

    Woe Unto the Shepherds That Feed Not the Sheep!

    I am against these shepherds; and will require My flock at their hand and will cause them not to feed My sheep any longer; neither will these shepherds feed themselves any more. For I the Lord will rescue My sheep from their mouths. These shepherds are lying shepherds; their motives are wrong and they have not sought for My counsel nor have they been able to impart the TRUTH of My ways to the people. These are the blind leaders of the blind. Plants that shall be rooted up, because I, the Lord have not planted them. Ezekiel 34:8-10

  7. One of the problems that your mate “D” will probably react to, will be the emasculation of the male within the church. I realise that is a harsh comment but understanding where he has been and giving it a bit of thought, its likely. The church hasn’t feminized men but we have been dis empowered in that we do not have sufficient “men” of character and fortitude to stand in the hard places and be salt and light for the next generation. Unfortunately the culture of don’t rock the boat or make waves has over taken solid praxis as in the example of Christ.

    To a degree we have become politically sanitized and corrected within the church.

    I am not anti feminist by any means but wonder what price equality when men are now assuming the subordinate role.


    bless ya’s

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