<The owl commercial launches the message>
Did you know that that commercial is almost 50 years old? It’s memorable. It points to a question, provides a practical experiment and even an answer. However, the wise old owl is only validating his own personal knowledge and experience so is that wisdom?
Dictionary.com defines wisdom as: the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight.
By this definition there can be several sources of wisdom and while these aspects of gaining knowledge are good and right for example...
Example: Bigger is Better idiom
From before humans were humans. Probably even from before humans were primates.
A bigger chunk of food = good, you'll eat more.
Bigger hunting grounds = good, you'll eat more.
A bigger cover = more members of the herd will be safe from the elements and the predators.
A bigger partner = a stronger partner.
A bigger child = a healthier child.
And so on.
In fact, I can assume that the only aspects in which “smaller is better” only started to appear when humans developed tools and combined mechanisms. There, of course, a more compact tool with the same degree of efficiency is better (easier to hold), and a more compact mechanism takes up less space AND demonstrates one's skill or rich resources to pay for that skill.
This mentality has its roots in early consumerism, particularly within American culture post-WWII.
During the economic boom at that time consumer culture exploded and out of it came the idea that yes, you could buy say, a cheeseburger for $2 - but, you could also buy a Super Mega Grande Cheeseburger Supreme™ which was three times bigger for the exact same price!
The idea was that, if you could buy more for the same price, then why shouldn’t you? People naturally want to buy more to “get their money’s worth.”
On the surface it seems logical, but if you look closer it becomes worrying. It started off small but now this excess has begun to creep into all areas of our modern culture.
While seemingly true, the story fails the test of Godly wisdom because it falls short of the divine perspective. Hence the reason Jesus' life, death and resurrection confound people and why God’s Spiritual direction often gets confused with human brilliance.
Four weeks ago, we began unpacking four verses of one proverb to help us all come to see the depth of God’s truth. The scripture we will unpack is the one you heard at the beginning of service - Proverbs 30. In the last four weeks, we learned God:
uses the small and faithful over the large and equipped to do His greatest work.
gives power to the movement of smaller worshiping, gathering and missional groups who look to expand
redeems people groups by sending scouts (smaller parties who seek to see the enemy) who are willing to take on the giants.
Bands us together (the church) to succeed in the direction He has sends us, we only need obey
This week we move to verse 28.
a lizard can be caught with the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
Some of the world created by God teaches us wisdom. In this case, a small creature has the ability to be caught by anyone but because of its size invades the most protected areas of society.
In the same way, thoughts or ideas can be understood but they can never be stopped. Every great revolution begins with an idea - religious freedom or self determination.
The thought of being able to recognize and understand an idea does not mean you're able to stop it from happening.
There is no greater example of this than the Jewish diaspora.
A diaspora is: a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer to the mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories. Diaspora is often associated with persecution. However, the disbursement has historically grown the population first persecuted.
In the same way, the idea of small is the best way to bring about what we all pray for: the Kingdom of God to come. A hope first introduced when Jesus taught a small band of followers, we call the disciples, to pray “thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” Those words define us
By utilizing the power of small bands of people to share the idea that heaven has come down to earth, that it will happen again and all be a part of it if they commit their lives to it is the greatest of all news. It is with this understanding, I believe small bands are better equipped to penetrate fortresses of power and make permanent change come about.
Herein lies the larger motive in espousing the Coracle as the greater vehicle to reach a culture that is seemingly more and more divided. The Coracle is a group with a dynamic sense of place and mission. They are as different as the people who lead them and in the parts of the world God has sent them. This is the power of the small and diaspora or scattered. We, at the Center, recognize the coracles as sent to places the western version of ‘Church” can never go. They are not held captive by what was but motivated by what could be. They are able to be more flexible and creative. They are better at adapting to their environment and translating the good news of Jesus in ways only those trusted could.
The “Church” was born at Pentecost. A time in which true unity between God and his people began along with His power so as to convey the message to every tribe and tongue in ways they could understand. God uses the ordinary in ways some believe are crazy. Remember the reaction of the crowd when the Holy Spirit swooped through the town. The non-believers claimed the Christians were drunk. However, God knew the power of hearing the good news in one’s own language. That power is what we harness in the coracle ideal.
Let me stress, the coracle is not a small group. It is a small ingenious way to share the gospel in ways subcultures can experience and begin to understand. It’s often said Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Each with its own distinctive. These distinctives when cherished offer unique opportunities to share Jesus. The coracle serves as a strategic initiative to engage the non believing community with God’s Word. It is the Kingdom of God coming down with power to break into the human palaces of our world. The coracle is a decentralized form of the ‘Church’ designed to confront evil, reach every person and transform our society.
The coracle makes it easier to see the needs of the hungry and do something. It makes it easy to see those who need shelter, jobs, education or even healthcare in our neighborhoods and do something. It allows us to see the pain of those addicted, abused, mentally ill or stigmatized so we can do something. The coracle gives permission for the body of the church, its people, to act. We are more powerful than we have ever imagined when we act in His name.
When Jesus said to Peter, “You Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hade will not overcome it.” (Matt 16:18)
He had in mind a church so engaged and dispersed that it could and would make disciples of every nation through ushering in justice, dignity and life via those willing to enter the cosmic battle taking place all around us!
As Paul said in the letter to the Romans: For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:4-5)
I know what some of you are thinking, nice word pastor, but I don’t feel competent enough. Do you think those 12 knuckles who sat around the last supper table thought they knew enough? If you’ve been a Christian for more than three years, you’re ready. Let me tell you how. If you honestly are open minded enough to follow the Spirit’s leading and willing enough to try, God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit will equip, guide and provide for your mission. I am serious. Those young men who followed Jesus didn’t have anything that you don't. In fact, I could argue you have more because you have education, the bible, stories of thousands of miracles and even our support to stay encouraged.
We believe there's a place for the centralized concerted church expressions, BUT they must serve the coracle expressions of the church so that we can do the work of Jesus and confront every evil, reach every person, transform our neighborhoods and our society everyday and in every way.
If you would like to know more about the author, check out www.communitycenter.life