Monday, September 18, 2006

Ocean Cleanup

On Saturday morning, Katherine and I spent the morning picking up trash on the beach of Key Biscayne with our church's members and thousands of people world-wide. When we got to the beach, I thought, Hey, this beach is clean already! But we picked up tons of trash.

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When Katherine was a teenager, her youth group at church would go to the beach for "evangelism." They would approach people working on a tan, reading a book, or just relaxing from their busy life. They would offer the person a small booklet ("tract"), and try to engage the person in conversation about Jesus which they would steer toward a particular "happy" ending. It rarely, if ever, worked, but they felt better about themselves. My youth group did similar things. I can't help but thinking that last Saturday, on the beach, we did more to build the Kingdom of God than Katherine's youth group did on their evangelism trips.

After the trash pick-up, we got a free pizza lunch and free entrance to the Miami Seaquarium and saw the real Flipper . . . well, the real son of the original Flipper. The show was filmed at the Seaquarium, and we had a good time, but it is not worth the entrance fee, but I would go regularly for $5 or less, I think.


Blogger RKS said...

"...we did more to build the Kingdom of God..."

Don't you think that the hardest part of working for God's Kingdom is finding the correct balance between speaking the Good News and living the Good News? Go to either extreme and the Good News is not communicated at all...

9:54 AM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger W Sofield said...

rks, completely agree. Gospel words and gospel deeds help to reinforce each other.

Two more thoughts . . .

1. Our culture is so saturated with gospel words apart from deeds that I think we need to start with deeds to gain a hearing (which will be further verified by our continuing deeds).

2. There is inherent good in cleaning up the world, even apart from saying anything. The kingdom of God is much bigger than the church, much bigger than a collection of souls. The kingdom of God is "the way things are supposed to be." It is complete shalom. It is a world without sin, evil, or chaos. Therefore, any effort to promote shalom, and make things on earth "as it is in heaven" is a building of the kingdom of God.

So, with cleaning the ocean (or curing smallpox) there is clear tangible results that things are better (less chaos, evil, sin). With ineffective "evangelism," we breed further separation between people, pride for the Christians ("God will love me because I am sacrificing for him" or "I'm glad I'm not like these poor people."), and bitterness for the beach people ("Why are these idiots bothering me? Can't they see I'm trying to relax?").

Thanks for the feedback.

10:05 AM, September 19, 2006  

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