I’m currently outside my usual routine, having spent a month away from New Zealand. Today I’m traveling home from China where I’ve spent the last ten days. In this post I’m recycling an idea I wrote about several years ago in another context, on the subject of language, based on a song from a New Zealand band called The Mutton Birds. Being an English-only speaker in China has reminded me of this song, as well as listening to a Mutton Birds live album at my kiwi friends’ place in Beijing yesterday. Listen to the track:
“The queens English was good enough for Jesus Christ and it’s good enough for me”
According to the song, this was the supporting argument of a US Congressman who was a guest on a talk show on the subject of “language”. Among other things, this guy is a xenophobe, and wants the whole world to speak his language. You could say he has an inexcusable naivety merged with arrogance and ignorance – and that makes for a really good song.
Putting the subject of language aside, and moving now to the topic of “being-Christian” or “the church”, I wonder if there are too many people that have a “congressman” approach to the outworking of their faith and/or Christian-faith-community. In other words, it can sometimes seem that people think by default that the way we do things is the way Jesus did things:
“the way we do church/mission/teaching was good enough for Jesus Christ and it’s good enough for us…”
“the way I’m Christian was good enough for Jesus Christ, and it’s good enough for me…”
Do you see what I mean?
How did Jesus do “church”, do “mission”, be “Christian”???
It might seem odd to try to reframe these concepts back onto Jesus, but lets briefly try to do that. Or rather, if Jesus were to do these things in 21st century New Zealand, how might they look?
Would Jesus do church like we do church?
If Jesus was leading a local church would it take some other form, or have some different priorities?
Do these questions connect with any observations you have of church? Do you ever see the vibe expressed in this Mutton Birds song expressed in your church context?
Video clip: “Queens English” by the Mutton Birds (originally on the album ‘Salty’, EMI 1994).