Firstly I must thank my Twitter friend @UnvirtousAbbey for posting the first version of this sign. I was a funk soul brother and checked it out, I loved it, I laughed out loud and I had to use it.
I must also thank Fatboy Slim for releasing the Rockafeller Skank in 1998 (can you believe that?).
With all joking and frivolity aside, (and that’s hard to do with “Check it out now” running around in your head) this sign speaks to something I am passionate about;
or the lack of it in the church. It leads me to the edges of huge pits of depression to see how un-relevant some of the churches are today. To cite two examples from this week; parts of the Roman Catholic Church in Australia feel they are not out of touch on the child abusing priest issue (really?) and the Church of England has voted this morning that they will not be ordaining women as bishops (the C of E is just so in touch with modern life!)
We (as the Church throughout the world) have lost the obvious truth that Jesus was the most relevant of preachers. He spoke to what his audience knew – of sowers and Samaritans, of wedding feasts and vineyards. He told them, in parables, about how bad racism is and not to judge a book by its cover (The Good Samaritan) and about what the Kingdom of God is like (pick any one of many stories). If he was preaching in Melbourne today would he use those stories of sowers and Samaritans? Of course not – he would use refugees and footballers, he would say things like “Check it out now!”, he would talk the language of the people around him. So why don’t we! Why do we insist that everyone else must be like us when Jesus went out of his way to speak like everyone else.
I was in a Church last month that still has ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ in its prayers and readings and the priest was wondering why there was only 4 people at the service. I wanted to show him a Message Bible and say “Check it out now”.
I stare into those massive, depressing pits and I see their names craved in stone on the rims – “The world must change not us”, “We’ve always done it this way”, “Our church is not for the likes of them”. I want to reach out and erase those names, empty the pits and write on the, now, empty walls, for all to see, lines from songs by the likes of P!nk and Lady Gaga – You’re Perfect, Raise your glass if you are wrong in all the right ways, you were made this way!
Why cannot we remember that the Bible says that JESUS is the same yesterday, today and forever not the Church? The Church MUST change, the Church did change why did we stop?
So when Jesus does speak why not in 90’s lyrics – why not pointing to the Bible and saying, “Check it out now”? and we and all the funk soul brothers and sisters should check it out.