Tomorrow we have a community barbecue on our church forecourt. We will give away hot dogs and burgers, there will be music, face-painting and even a magician (I wonder who that might be?). One of our members is working flat out to make it all happen (pray for him and the team if you are a pray-er).
The task is complicated by the fact that our church roof is being re-tiled, there is scaffolding at the front of the church, there are sometimes skips and there is a caged off area for the builders so we have to be very careful about health and safety as the place is effectively a partial building site (no builders working that day though).
We also hope to be able to offer people friendly conversations and perhaps a little book by Jeff Lucas that opens up questions of life and faith in an engaging way.
Oh yes, and the weather forecast suggests that we might get a bit wet at times so we will be dodging the showers. It’s good Baptist weather – full immersion!
We will be seriously multitasking tomorrow. Indeed churches often are: which is why I think churches are female if you are stereotyping because the gender stereotype is that men can’t multitask.
I don’t often find stereotypes helpful. Especially if you are going to lump together about 3.5 billion people on this planet as having the capacity to multi-task (or not depending on which gender you select). I know some blokes who are awesome at multi-tasking, and some women who are not so good at that.
We find stereotypes funny because we sense that there might be an element of truth in them (man flu anyone?) but they have a sinister side too. Indeed ‘sinister’ reminds me that left-handed people were stigmatised in the past because of stereotype that left-handedness was a sign of being under evil influence (‘sinister’ meant ‘left-sided’). Today we consider such concepts to be medieval superstition. Stereotyping means that you don’t have to bother considering people as individuals because you have already decided what they are like. It is a very close relative of ‘prejudice’, but perhaps wearing a funny wig so we feel happier about it.
God has made 7 billion individuals who are currently living on this planet, not to mention the billions who have lived here before us. And not one of those people has been the same as anyone else. Even identical twins (or triplets, etc) may look similar but have different personalities, experiences, preferences, and so on. We are all unique, just like everyone else.
So if God has gone to all this trouble to make all of these amazing people and not resorted to making any exact copies what right do we have to reduce them down to stereotypes? And that includes stereotyping churches!
Be blessed, be a blessing