Thinking Out Loud

April 15, 2019

Serving the Local Church

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:58 am

In the earlier days of his ministry, Rob Bell was invited to speak several times at Willow Creek in NW Chicago. Six of those messages were bound as an audio collection, Rob Bell Teaches at Willow, which I happen to own.

Because Bell’s ministry was founded on a one year exposition of Leviticus, he chose one time to speak about the scapegoat (on which is placed the sins of the people.) Bell asked for, and got a live goat as part of the presentation.

To the best of my knowledge, he did this presentation there on two different occasions. (I say this because I had one on cassette and one on CD, and they’re different.) One was for leaders which was followed by a behind-the-scenes (or Director’s Cut) discussion of his own sermon. He joked that in requesting a goat, it wasn’t really a big deal since Willow probably had a whole department for that sort of thing.

That proposition has stuck with me to this very day: The idea of a megachurch like Willow having a person on staff for live animal procurement.

It also occurs to me now that perhaps if LifeWay had offered goat rental, they wouldn’t be in the position of having to close all their stores.

For remaining Christian bookstores, it’s not too late. You might have missed out on donkey rentals for Palm Sunday, but there’s still lots of time between now and Christmas to get into sheep rental.  Also, in the summer many churches abdicate the preaching of the gospel in favor of promoting the local football teams, many of which have animal names or mascots. And since churches are also up to their necks in politics, let’s not forget the animal symbols of the two major parties.

Just be sure to pay your sources on time. An overabundance of financial obligations involving live animal rental is the beginning of what brought down The Crystal Cathedral. That’s actually true, look it up.

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