Monday, January 15, 2007

animatronics church

More thoughts from our family visit to Disney World and pictures from my blooming career as an amature photographer.

One of the old-fashioned attractions that we enjoyed was "The Jungle Cruise". This is one of those rides that Walt really designed his original theme park around. You ride in a boat that runs on a track hidden under the water. The guide leads you on a journey through a river filled with various thrills and chills and all kinds of fake animals that move and make noise. Walt loved robotics and animatronics designed to mimic real life.

So here was my thought. A lot of what people are looking for today in their "Christian experience" is reminiscent of a ride filled with animatronics. We want the church to look a certain way, sound a certain way, have a certain feel and meet our needs. But not in a deep and signicant way.

Animatronics was a cheap way to get consistent labor for a theme park. You didn't have to deal with real workers. You didn't have to clean up the poop and worry about feeding real animals. You just cover them in plastic and let them go through the motions, as everyone cheers and pays to get on the ride.

Real life and authentic community in a church is messy. That's why most people would rather just come and and take the 5 cent tour on Sunday mornings. We watch the plastic people go through the animotronic motions on the platform and wonder if we're getting our money's worth. Each weekend we watch, as people file through the doors of our church looking for the no commitment ride.

But God's plan for the church is radical. It involves real people, and real emotions, and real life change, and real conflict resolution, and real confrontations, and real help, and real sacrifice, and real commitment.

You can't experience what God desires for your spiritual growth in an animatronic church, just riding the rails on on Sunday mornings. You have to get out of boat and start getting involved in the daily life of following Christ in spiritual community.