A Crisis Of Identity

Sometime in my ministry, the church I served changed from being a church desiring to be salt to a church desiring to be honey to help the world's solutions go down a bit easier. At first I thought it was a problem of liberal vs. conservative, or peacemaking vs. war-making. But lately I've decided it reflects the more fundamental problem of the church and the world.

What does the American world see when it looks at the American church today? Will Campbell, that great Southern prophet, was confronted by one of his friends who compared the church to an Easter chicken. Let me offer this passage from Campbell's Brother to a Dragonfly:

"You know, Preacher Will, that church of yours and Mr. Jesus is like an Easter chicken my little Karen got one time. Man, it was a pretty thing. Dyed a deep purple. Bought it at the grocery store."

I interrupted that white was the liturgical color for Easter but he ignored me. "And it served a real useful purpose. Karen loved it. It made her happy. And that made me and her mamma happy. Okay?"

I said, "Okay."

"But pretty soon that baby chicken started feathering out. You know, sprouting little pin feathers. Wings and tail and all that. And you know what? Them new feathers weren't purple. No sirree bob, that damn chicken wasn't really purple at all.

That damn chicken was a Rhode Island Red. And when all them little red feathers started growing out from under that purple it was one hell of a sight. All of a sudden Karen couldn't stand that chicken any more."

"I think I see what you're driving at, P.D."

"No, hell no, Preacher Will. You don't understand any such thing for I haven't got to my point yet."

"Okay. I'm sorry. Rave on."

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