Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ikea Furniture, Legos and Christianity.

I'm speaking in the Contemplative Service this Sunday and I'm struggling to get my thoughts together. The central theme is an illustration that I read in the book 'Post Evangelical' by Dave Tomlinson that resonated with me and I will attempt to put into my own words here.

The Christianity I embraced in my teenage years was one that is very similar to 'Flat Pack Furniture' that you can purchase at Ikea and many other stores. You receive a set of parts (hopefully complete) and a list of instructions. There is a distinct right and wrong way to put the pieces together. It doesn't matter who is building the furniture, or where it is going, everyone builds the same and you can easily judge how successful the person has been by the appearance and sturdiness of the construction and whether they have any extraneous pieces left over.

But what if Christianity is more like a bag of Legos? Everyone receives the same blocks, but each person is free to build them into a model that is their own unique creative expression of their relationship with Jesus.

I wonder what are the blocks that would have to be included for a person to be called 'Christian'?

In my 20s I often used phrases like '....ask Jesus to be your own personal savior...' a phrase that interestingly enough exists nowhere in the bible! For much of my life I judged a person's faith by whether they agreed with a set of Propositional Truths that I carried around in my head. I cared more about right doctrine than right living, more about what you said you believed than how you lived.

It was all about how well you built the flat pack furniture.

I'm at a turning point in my life. I am planning on tearing down the flat pack and rebuilding my Legos in a way that to some people would seem as if I have become 'Luke Warm' or 'Back Slidden', or even 'Straying from the Fold'.

This isn't a spur of the moment decision however. I've changed considerably over the past 6 years and every change has been agonizingly prayed over. So please don't judge in 2 minutes what has taken me years - I'm worth more than that.

Wow, I seem to have strayed from what I was going to originally type!

I will share the illustration of the Furniture and the Legos in the service, but I will not share how it intersects with my life. My silence is not out of fear, but out of a desire for everyone to find themselves in the illustration without me imposing my interpretation on them.

I am under construction - watch this space for more building information :)


Rima Bonario said...

Cool! Can't wait to see the magnificent tribute to the Divine you build now that you have the room to create a living faith.

Jerry said...


I think that personal growth and transformation are positives. I still consider myself to be slightly in flux... I've never stopped learning, and I cannot completely predict what I'll be like 5 years from now.

I'd enjoy hearing your sermon. Does your church record the contemplative service and/or post it online?

I'm planning to make a day-trip to Vancouver this Sunday. My friends and I will probably stop at IKEA; luckily, life is more interesting, varied, and diverse than the typical assembly instruction sheet. :)