winds and waves

Fashion really is a bit of a joke.

Afterall is there anything which provokes greater shrieks of laughter than poring over old photos? 'Look at that hair' ... 'Those glasses are terrible'. Then on it progresses to the likes of shoes and make-up and shorts...

Here is my question. If these styles can cause so much mirth a generation later, why are they so important to people at the time? Fashion has an enduring ability to come and go. And yet, in the moment, mountains of money and care and time are spent on things like hair and glasses, only to endure the shrieks of the children a few years later. I don't get it. How can something so transitory, be so important? How can we invest so much emotion in something which blows away with the wind?

The corresponding issue in the church is the one of relevance. The need to be relevant can hold the mind of leaders in a vice. They fear the alternative more than anything else. I sat atop Mt Maunganui once and watched the waves roll in. I counted 21 waves in the process of making their way to the beach, before doing what waves do: crashing into the sand and being forgotten forever. As I sat there, I counted 21 different waves (almost) that have held the heart and mind of the church in New Zealand in my time.  These waves just had to be surfed, if your church was to be relevant and to grow. Each one was the next big thing that must not be missed. The Hybelsian Wave. The Toronto Wave. The Saddleback Wave. On and on it really did go, placing enormous pressure on pastors and leaders to get with the trends, or miss out. While each was helpful for a time, they all did crash into the sand and become forgotten - with the church, a generation later, not much bigger or better. Questions need to be asked.

We are suckers for fashions and trends. These winds and waves just must be obeyed. No. They need to be watched and listened and read (keeping the head in the sand is not the answer), but they do not need to be obeyed.

The secret in being relevant starts with a clear, strong grasp of the things that do not change, long before the things that do change. Decide what they are and hold on to them. Better still, be held by them - for forever. 

The secret of beauty and attraction has nothing to do with the fashionable look. It lies with liberating the authentic person, made and loved by God, to shine through all the inconsequential wrappings and paintings in order to be loved for who they really are.

nice chatting



Anonymous said…
Agree agree agree agree
Ben Carswell said…
Really appreciated this post, thank you!

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