Monday, September 14, 2009

That's Just Rubbish

The cell phone photo doesn't do it justice. In the "compost pile" left by the previous owner I discovered 2 liter pop bottles, plant tags, and a multitude of clear plastic boxes sporting labels that said "Organic Baby Spinach" and "Organic Basil" and "Organic Broccoli Sprouts." The organic matter inside had composted down nicely, but the boxes were clearly having problems rotting.

Done properly compost creates a rich, fertile, nourishing garden soil. "Gardener's Gold" they call it. I am a fan of composting, so I know that egg shells should be washed and crushed before being added. I know that coffee grounds, leaves, and grass clippings will be good for a pile but cigarette butts, old t-shirts, and shopping bags will not. I know not to put meat in a compost pile. And I know -- no matter what it's labeled --that plastic doesn't compost.

Despite her very good intentions the previous owner was building a rubbish heap, not a compost pile. I know this because I've read and paid attention to more experienced gardeners when they talk about gardening and composting, but if I didn't know any better my compost pile might be rubbish also. Which makes me think...

As Christians -- even with the best of intentions -- if we haven't been paying attention to the teachings of Scripture and we aren't listening to those more mature in their faith, maybe the work we are doing is just rubbish...

A friend of mine recently stopped attending a church that she and her husband had attended for many (many many) years. The main reason they left was the new pastor. This pastor refused to listen to any advice from the older members of the congregation. Outreach programs that had failed in the past were revived to fail even more spectacularly and expensively. Matters which had been canvased and resolved prior to the new pastor's arrival were re-opened, feelings hurt, and decisions changed by the "executive removal" of dissenting voters from their positions in the church. The choir was disbanded in favor of the youth praise team (for a congregation mostly over age 60). Parishioners were rebuked for trying to maintain a standard of modest and appropriate dress in the sanctuary. Wednesday night Bible Studies were discontinued in favor of Friday night movie nights, supposedly to attract more people to the church, but the line-up of secular movies drove away existing members.

With the best of intentions, that pastor bought into the idea that she needed to fill the church pews and she wasn't very particular what she wanted to fill those pews with. Plastic was fine in the compost pile as long as it made the pile bigger. That church, a church that could have been a small but rich and nourishing group of Christians, is now failing. What you put into your compost pile matters, and what you put into a church matters. Preach the Truth, from the Bible. Anything else... well, that's just rubbish.

No comments:

Post a Comment

My dear, few, readers you inspire me to keep writing. Thank you.

Comments are moderated to avoid spam and so that I do not have to subject you to that annoying "if you're not a robot" thing.