Lets Have a Riot!!
Well not quite a riot, but maybe!
One of my favourite actresses of all time is the one and only Judy Garland. She is the lead in a film set in the late 1800′s called the Harvey Girls in the town of Sandrock, Arizona. The basic premise is that several towns in that area have changed significantly, the previous centre for the community being a drinking house with dancing girls now replaced by a new restaurant chain that employed a different type of female, ones who dressed appropriately, spoke well and whose ambitions were to settle down and raise families. Sandrock, so the powers that be feared, was in danger of losing its alcohol dependant and very promiscuous culture
‘They will be building a church before we know it’ one resident exclaimed!
I wont ruin it for you as you will no doubt be down blockbusters after reading this, but the film is about that battle between these two cultures clashing and what these new Harvey Girls bought to the table (so to speak)
Its an interesting comparison to what happened in Ephesus (Acts 19) when Paul arrived. The previously pagan culture, underneath, welcomed Paul with open arms (he spoke daily for two years in a huge lecture theatre) its was a wide open door he reports in Corinthians. No longer did the locals need to worship gods made with their own hands, no longer did they depend on certain gods in the hope it would give them certain things, Paul spoke of one God, a God who wasn’t distant or hand made, but close and very real.
What he said didn’t change the culture though, it was the way people responded. The city began to look different, one local silversmith who produced ornaments used for worship in the temple began to speak out against the new beliefs, the effect in the economy and the future of their temple. The crowd responded and a riot ensued. It all soon cleared up, but Paul had to go and move onto somewhere else.
However, the interesting thing here is the huge effect that the reality of God had on the society, while causing a riot might be bad publicity (although lisa would im sure lead the way and be the first to call it a HoB riot) It has to be our goal to change culture. To some extent we already have, over 100 people a week now come though the doors of Trinity church and that is just a small part, we have seen lives changed, people change how they live and what they chose to spend their money on, churches (including where I am from) make the local poor as much of a priority as anything else.
But we must not stop there, we must continue and believe that the longer we all work together, as we try and flesh out who Jesus is, as we speak out about him, that maybe Stafford can look a very different place.
Its a great shame that we don’t have Judy Garland today, she with some other fairly insignificant people did change Sandrock, and as lovely and beautiful and wonderful (id better stop there…) as she is, we have a much better figurehead with us, and it was in his name that Ephesus changed so dramatically, so whether we succeed or fail, i’m up for giving it a go!
And if we really want to be biblical, when the riot kicked off, the leaders were shipped out the way quick smart, so if anything does happen, Will, Lisa, Jack, the Trustees and myself will have a taxi standing by!