What if churches and Christian organizations had a vision to be “countercultural” in truly meaningful ways?
What if we woke up and realized that all our talk about “changing the culture” is empty because we are just as culture-bound as anyone?
What if we realized that ideas don’t matter as much as we think they do, and that practices mean a whole lot more?
What if we understood that the power of God’s Word doesn’t depend on us talking all the time, that expressing our opinions and judgments is not the same thing as letting God’s Word loose in the world?
What if we stood against the busyness, noisiness, activism, do-gooderism, media-saturated, virtual reality style of our contemporary world and instead offered churches as places of true sanctuary, true humanity, quiet, and peace?
What if our consistent invitation was: “Come to a quiet place and find rest”? What if we saw it as a primary contribution to our world to provide sacred times and spaces where weary, exhausted people could find true solace and retreat?
What if our church campuses were no longer dominated by functional buildings designed to be busy beehives of activity and pep rally enthusiasm? What if, instead, we cultivated gardens and glades, created walking paths and forest trails, developed lakeside amphitheaters for regular outdoor worship gatherings and church buildings that were essentially glass houses designed for contemplation of God’s works?
What if we, as congregations, refused to have any church programs other than providing opportunities for retreat and holding regular worship gatherings?
What if we sent people out at the end of worship with the simple admonition, “Go in peace. Be Christians!” and then just let everyone go live their lives?
What if pastors and “leaders” in the church saw their duty in terms of presiding over worship, and then spending the rest of the week out there in the midst of daily life with people, listening and encouraging, apprenticing them in the life of Christ, and caring for the poor and sick?
What if, as the monks understand, we taught each Christian that his/her whole duty was “Ora et Labora” — prayer and work — in the love of God, to bless the world?
What if we told believers that they shouldn’t wait for “the church” to develop “ministries” to help their neighbors, but that they are free to work with others in the community to formulate ideas, strategies, and programs for the common good?
What if we prioritized slowness, quietness, listening, contemplation, prayer, minding our own business yet being sensitive and available to those in need around us, a devotion to serious study and thoughtfulness, a charitable spirit, respect for all people and a willingness to engage all people in love and service?