loren Eric Swanson: Street Signs by Ray Bakke and Jon Sharpe

Friday, February 02, 2007

Street Signs by Ray Bakke and Jon Sharpe

Bakke, Ray, and Jon Sharpe. Street Signs. Birmingham, Alabama: New Hope Publishers, 2006.
As I read this book on Simeon by Moule, I realized what a pastor was like. A pastor pastors the poor, brings them into the church, hassles the elite, holds possible different congregations together, stays through years of trouble, and finally stays for a lifetime. During that lifetime he or she helps found organizations such as Intervarsity, produces ministers such as Henry Martyn and the Cambridge Seven with missions to China, appoints chaplains to work in social justice, and teaches at the university during the week. P. 54

Saving grace, the primary work of local churches, is paid by tithe money. Common grace is paid by tax money, but it is all God’s money. A city hospital, a good school, a strong wall to protect everyone, would be common-grace gifts. P. 103

Remember Lewis Mumford’s definition of the city, one of many to be sure, but instructive for its brevity: the unique office of the city is to increase the variety, velocity, extent, and continuity of human intercourse. P. 106

A generation ago, missions were geographical. They were out there. They were foreign. Today missions are no longer for distant, geographical spots on the world map; instead they are culturally distant and within American borders. As we have said before, the nations live within the shadows of the spires of our churches. P 118-119

What have supermarkets learned that the church hasn’t? Diversity. A generation ago you shopped in small markets, which sometimes were simple moms and pop shops. They served up fruit, vegetables, meat, sugar (especially after WWII), flour, brad, and all the main staples. Today the supermarket carries a diversity of foods. Why? Because the folks making their food purchases today are divers. Supermarkets stay open 24/7. Why? Because folks work different shifts during the day. Where you used to get one or two kinds of rice (white and brown), you now choose from a large variety of rice in your local supermarket. Often I take students into a supermarket, ask them to look around, and then we get together and talk about what they saw. After a tour of the supermarket we drop by a local church to find it posted meeting time for Sunday morning on its marquee. What’s the message? You get religion on our terms You get it when, where, and how we want to deliver it to you. So be here at 11:00AM Sunday morning and we will share it with you. P. 119


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