John shares a personal story about growing up in a large Church and having many friends from that time in his life even up to today. He recalls being critical of the college group when he became a part of it because the leaders modeled their approach after the mega church Willow Creek. A lesson that stuck with him was summed in a statement made to him, “You cannot franchise the blessings of God.” His reference to “simony” is an excellent example of the problem of franchising God. His use of McDonalds is too obvious. The example of wine is very good and very challenging for rectors. For a Church to take on the characteristics of the environment in which it is placed just as a grape takes on the flavor of its soil, climate and barrel takes a great deal of time and sacrifices must be made. The sacrifices include choosing what is best to meet the needs of the people rather than what the minister prefers.
The critique on the church growth movement and its history is not for me. I rejected the church growth movement a long time ago. The results of that movement, however, do remain with the church and the authors are right to point out that segregation is one of those results. Church growth models promote drawing crowds with similar backgrounds resulting in segragation.
“Plant sequoias” is a nice way to describe this Slow Church approach. The note that spiritual formation is a long process is refreshing to read. The control issues in satellite churches are currently being exemplified at Mars Hill in Seattle.
Our sense of taste is used to explain how connected we are intended to be with our church community (Psalm 34:8). This makes sense when taste leads to consuming because what we taste we then eat and what we eat becomes a part of us. The argument that to taste God’s goodness is to experience costly discipleship is then made. The connection is made because Jesus calls us salt and salt has characteristics such as being grinded up and dissolving which reflect the Christian life.
Why this chapter was titled ETHICS has eluded me.