Our systems are perfectly designed and implemented to get us where we are. We can’t blame others or bad luck. We built our systems and then our systems built us.
If we are only one play short of total victory, maybe small incremental and minor adjustments would get the job done. Not gaining ground year after year isn’t a demand for a simple tweeking, it is a shout for a total overhaul.
In talking about those who have not yet heard the Good News and God’s call upon our lives to reach the regions beyond, I became aware of many folks willing and even eager to make minor adjustments to their lives for the cause. This feels like just enough activity to sooth the conscience and reduce the volume of the Spirit’s voice.
What if the only thing that will get the job done is deep change? Moving from;
- Tithing to giving away everything?
- Giving away an hour or two each week in ministry to giving all day, every day for the rest of your life?
- Selling your skills for a paycheck to investing your skills so others benefit?
Maybe the commonly held benchmarks for success in the American Christian life are more determined by the system than by the Person, Jesus Christ.
Maybe “blessed are the poor” really means that the poor are blessed?
Maybe “My kingdom is not of this world” really means that God’s kingdom isn’t of this world?
Maybe “I am crucified with Christ” is an invitation to live dead?
Maybe “Go into all the world” really means that we should go?
Often the system honors and blesses the not the poor, but the wealthy; not those who live for the heavenly kingdom, but those who are building their own kingdoms; not those crucified with Christ, but those who seem fully alive in the natural; and not those who go, but those who stay.
The system we built now builds us.
Deep change anyone?
The news out of St. Louis County regarding the tensions there are further signs of how much the individual and collective human heart needs a complete transformation by the work of Jesus. As buildings burned, people ransacked and looted, and many were arrested, I watched a Caucasian women say, “I don’t know what all the noise is about. There are no racial tensions here in Ferguson.”
Clearly, not everyone sees the world the way she does.
When different perspectives intersect different deeply held beliefs difficulty abounds. Interestingly, every position claims that God is on their side.
Two definitions come to mind – race and ethnicity.
Race is genetic. In our DNA. God given. Unchangeable. With Darrell and Clairena as my parents, my race would be the same if I was born in China, Israel, or Burkina Faso.
Ethnicity is learned. It is about traditions, culture, and behaviors. Ethnicity is changeable.
MCA Church is moving forward in “keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3)” by learning what I call “race and ethnicity humility.” Following the Biblical command to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than your selves,” (Philippians 2:3) includes race and ethnicity! In humility I am to count other races as more significant than mine. Humbling myself before other ethnicities is a must.
Personally, my race is Caucasian and much of my ethnicity is Inupiat.
For me it isn’t real difficult to consider other races as more significant than mine, but it is a HUGE challenge to honor other ethnicities above my own. For example, my Inupiat ethnicity is steeped in the power of feasting as worship. After a successful hunting season in which God has provided whales, moose, caribou, fish, seals, walrus, and ducks, EVERYTHING stops for the feast. Naluqatak, the Barrow, Alaska Whaling Festival, is among the yearly highlights of celebration to God for His bountiful provisions.
With joy, I brought Naluqatak to MCA Church on Thanksgiving Day. I was so excited to have an MCA Church wide feast celebrating the goodness and bounty of the Lord. To my total surprise, the people of my own race thought it to be the dumbest and most family unfriendly idea they had ever heard. “What? You want us to leave our suburban homes where we gather on Thanksgiving with our family? You are crazy! Thanksgiving is a day to stay home with family.”
At that moment I realized that I am, by birth, a white guy. I am by upbringing, an Inupiat.
Deep in my soul I felt that those who disagreed with me about Thanksgiving being a church-wide feast unto the Lord were anti-ministry, anti-church family, and anti-love one another. Now I know that there are more than just one way to celebrate God’s bounty. I must admit, because ethnicity runs so deep in my soul, I still think the church-wide feast unto the Lord is better and more spiritual than “cloistering” in our middle and upper class homes.
This is clearly an opportunity for me to practice ethnicity humility.
MCA Church continues to become a collection of people from many races and even more ethnicities. By God’s grace we are learning to consider other’s race and ethnicity as better than our own. You, your race, and your ethnicity are deeply loved, valued, and appreciated in our Church family.
I can’t bring much change to the situation in Ferguson but I can humbly consider the races and ethnicities with whom I interact as better than my own.
Race and ethnic humility is my starfish. I can’t change the whole beach but I can make a difference for this one.
Eureka! We now have in place an online giving system that meets all of the requests we have received from our generous, committed, and energetic donor family. Our three most common requests have been:
- May I set up a recurring gift to a specific account (such as Tithe, Capital Campaign, Global Outreach, or the Boaz Operation)?
- May I view my contribution record to see my giving?
- May I give using my credit or debit cards?
You may be delighted to know that all of these features and more are included in the new MCA Church Online Giving system. If you prefer, you may continue to give through PayPal on our online giving page. However, we think you will LOVE the new system.
I just set up my MCA Church Giving Account and it took me less than three minutes. When you direct your web browser to our online giving page you will see the following.
To set up your personal MCA Church Online Giving Account, click on the “Log In To GIve” button. When you do, you will see the following.
Click on the “Sign Up” line in the lower right corner. There you will give your email address, set up a password, and be on your way to a superb online giving experience.
On the Online Giving Home Page, we have several helpful articles on the left side bar that will answer most of your questions.
If you would like assistance, please call the MCA Church office, 907 337 9495 and ask for the accounting office.
Blessings to each of you and if we can provide other services to be helpful to you let me know, because we want your participation at MCA Church to be easy and enjoyable.