Monday, 30 July 2012

The Olympic family

I have enjoyed the start of the London Olympics enormously.
I thought the opening ceremony was a stunning spectacle and wonderful interpretation of one mans vision of our history and indeed our present.
I loved the fact that it was unafraid of putting into the rich mix ,some of things which would make a section of the population uncomfortable. I didn't feel as as at least one MP did that it was "leftie" ,nor did I think it was pessimistic, but rather it reflected the huge diversity of Britain in 2012 & at various times it made me both laugh and cry.
A work of genius that incidentally included not one, but two Christian hymns.
There is one phrase though from the Olympics that has grated on me enormously.It is a phrase that has occurred both in connection with the discussion around empty seats, and with the special traffic lanes.
Both the seats and the lanes we are told are reserved for " The Olympic Family". These are often the IOC & National Olympic Committee bureaucrats.
I think it grates because it speaks of insiders and outsiders, of a privileged elite who are somehow better than the rest and therefore deserve special treatment and special seats reserved, even if they have no intention of taking them up.
It rather belies the claim that these are the Olympics of the people.The phrase asserts that rather the games don't belong to everyone but to the few.
I am probably being excessively chippy about it.

It did get me thinking though about the phrase "the church family".
it is a phrase which has justification in scripture in both Old Testament and New Testament. Acts 2 indeed shows us how the church behaved and blessed others as a family. It is therefore not the theology of the phrase, but the way it is sometimes used and interpreted today by Christians that can seem troubling.
I have heard the phrase used to justify a club mentality, we belong to the church, we are members therefore we have special privileges, we are insiders and club members,and even “the church is about us” Indeed once many years ago I was reminded that we pay your wages ,you should do what we want" but of course, I may be their servant but they are not my master.

I dislike this club mentality because we are not better than other people ,if we belong to Gods family it is not about our gifts, or our characters, it is all about God's amazing grace "that saves a wretch like me"

Belonging is not about privilege, it’s not about special seats in the grandstand in heaven,or special lanes on the Highway to heaven it is about service.

I dont expect the IOC to understnd this but I am hopeful that the church will

Yes if by Gods grace we belong to God, we belong to His family, but we are there not to preserve our rights, but to serve others as Jesus did, and by our service, done in Jesus Name and power, to make, by Gods grace, outsiders insiders. Isn’t that what Jesus came to do?

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