Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Nashville Gospel

I've decided to post weekly instead of daily. New posts will be posted each Friday so to give you something to chew on over the weekend.

Today's post is inspired by my college experience in Nashville, TN. Among its many titles, Nashville is known as the "buckle of the Bible belt". It is city with a church of Christ on every corner. Yet there somehow remains a terrible gap between wealth and poverty. Only in New York City is there a greater disparity between the wealthy and those in poverty. New York City, however, doesn't claim to support any one religion, but Nashville claims to be the buckle of the bible belt.

I'm not talking about a creek of disparity, I'm talking about a canyon of difference between Nashville's wealthiest and poorest. Now it might be an obvious conclusion that a church in the bible belt would preach about the gap between rich and poor. You also expect that church to be convicted and go a step further to find ways to bridge that gap. But somehow some Christians who attend the likes of Woodmount, Brentwood Hills and Otter Creek seem to pretend that this gap does not exist. They seem content to spend the excess of God's fruits on large houses, large SUVs and large credit card bills.

I'm positive the lots of Christians in Nashville give lots of money to missions abroad. But as they fund missions overseas, they neglect the single mother down the street who has to choose between feeding the kids and paying the utility bills. The sad reality is that most Christians in Nashville have enough to assist both the foreign mission and the single mother struggling to provide for her family.

This practice of giving out of the excess of one's fruits is an attribute of what I call the Nashville Gospel. The Nashville Gospel is a guilt-free approach to living the ethic of Jesus. The Nashville Gospel allows one to give some of their excess to those in need and at the same time doesn't require one to deny themselves their expensive possessions. You can have your cake and eat it too with the Nashville Gospel. The Nashville Gospel believes the "last shall be first" to be foolish thinking.

Fortunately the Nashville Gospel is not the gospel of the New Testament. The gospel of the New Testament is about a king born in a barn who owned nothing and gave everything.


J-Wild 12:58 PM  
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J-Wild 1:03 PM  

...and I heard they actually pay their worship miniters! Ridiculous. Great post my friend. What I would like to see are churches who are planning building campaigns to take a portion of what they raise and use it to build, rennovate, or provide staff salary support to churches who are in the lower income areas of their cities. That way as they build a new facade for themselves, they strengthen other churches as well. What if Otter creek took just 3% of their pledged and raised funds and paid for renovations to a poor church in Nashville. Seems reasonable considering their building plan is a multi million dollar project.

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