What Did I Learn This Week? Selling Nuts to Squirrels Doesn’t Work

Actually selling nuts to squirrels is a great idea – if you are a business in the market of goods or services. Seth Godin wrote yesterday on his blog about the importance of selling people things that fit their lives, rather than trying to reshape their worldview. It’s a great approach for your standard business, just trying to scratch a living in the market.

The church, however, is to be about changing worldviews. We are, in a large part, supposed to be people who are declaring to the world that there is a richer way to understand what is going on around us. We are telling the story of what true life really looks like. We are declaring the good news that all of history, all of the cosmos, all of heaven and earth are totally different because of the person of Jesus, and must be understood in and through him. This is a call to a new worldview. This is what it means to not be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The renewing of our minds in Christ is a total worldview shift.

And that’s the problem we face today. Many churches, especially in America, have adopted a business model for success and organization. In doing so we have either chosen to be focused on the wants and needs of the consumer, which might well lead to “success by alignment” but little depth in faith. Churches who have rejected that mentality, have chosen to go against the felt needs of the masses and instead opt to simply bark out platitudes to people who haven’t experienced a worldview change, all the while expecting to see the quick acceptance and rapid growth of the consumer-based model.

Godin reminds us that, “It’s extremely expensive, time consuming and difficult to change someone’s worldview.”

Should the church begin to take seriously our call to a new worldview, and its centrality to our message, we could then reevaluate our methods and structure. We could become people in any community who are willing to come alongside others, spend time with them and love into their lives and know that it could take years to see their worldview turn to Christ, if it ever does.

For the church, selling to squirrels doesn’t work – we are about changing worldviews. That’s what I think I learned this week – now if only I could be brave enough to live it.

Q: Where do you see the church approach her existence in terms of selling nuts to squirrels and what could we do differently to proclaim the worldview truth and love of Jesus?

What else did I learn this week?

1. The “woman at the well” might not have been a whore.

This article from the Huffington Post is an important reminder that we need to constantly consider the lenses through which we read the Bible. I have taught lessons that focused on this woman and her past, and have heard lots of sermons who do the same, and (the author of the article) does a good job of highlighting how the text seems neutral on her sinfulness. I’m hoping to study the passage more to see how it might speak more powerfully to the hope that Jesus offers us all.

Q: What other passages come to mind when you think about our tendency to overlay meaning onto the text that might not be present?

2. More and more people are recognizing the need for humility.

This article that Rachel Held Evans shared from Fox News calls Christians to pick up the phrase, “…but I might be wrong.” It’s an important, simple way to call Christians to remember that we are called to deal with everyone with love and humility and to get along with everyone as much as possible. Q: Why is this so hard for Christians?

3. I can learn something from the Huffington Post and Fox News on the same day!

4. Last names in Colombia are confusing…and fascinating. 

My friend Abby Smith posted on facebook this week about how, “in Colombia, everyone has two last names, one from their mom and one from their dad.” I asked her how it got passed down to their children and she explained that the paternal last name from each person is passed down to the child. Here’s how it would work (I think):

  • My Dad’s name: Robert Watkins (paternal) Lipps (maternal)
  • My Mom’s name: Patricia Nichols (paternal) Bevins (maternal)
  • My new name: Joe Watkins Nichols!

As the trend to hyphenate last names has seemed to grow in the states I’ve wondered how this would work as people got married and had kids. I find this fact about Colombia fascinating because it could (possibly) be adapted in our situation. Q: How important is the way that we pass down family names?

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