Why the camera cannot tell the truth

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02/07/2014 by Chris Green

imagesIt’s true that we get used to things, and don’t notice them after a relatively short period.  We get used to the odd way you have to turn the handle on that door, the way that sign is unreadable.  The stain on the carpet.

Once, to focus our thinking, I unleashed a photographer on our buildings, and told him to take photographs of everything he saw, as if he was new.  He did, and he took hundreds of pictures.

Then the church leadership sat in front of a screen and watched, with fresh eyes, the state our buildings were in.  The washrooms.  The chairs.

And it did not take us long to realise that we had to do a major refresh on our facilities.

Thereby proving the old truth that we get used to things really quickly, and sometimes it takes a bit of a shock to see things with fresh eyes.

Lesson #1: find someone in the church with a camera.

But while it’s true, it’s also a limited and trivial solution.  Because I can’t take a photograph of anything that matters, however bad it is, and however used to it we are. The camera cannot tell the truth about:

The fervency and expectancy of our prayer meeting.

Or not.

The spiritual hunger and maturity of our members.

Or not.

The lostness of the lost.

Heaven.  And Hell.

Never photographed. And by comparison, every image on that screen was profoundly trivial.  The camera cannot tell the truth.

Hand on heart, the only way I can keep any focus on these issues is by insisting i spend time in God’s word.  Cliché?  Not really.  Because  it is only there that I discover what really matters, and I’m forced to look at reality in the light of it.

Lesson #2: Cameras are useless – find someone in the church with a Bible

Our task as preachers and leaders is to make sure that we all understand the here and now in the light of the gospel arc, of Jesus’ resurrection, reign and return.  That applies to everything we see, but more importantly everything we don’t.

By all means take your leaders through a slideshow of your facilities.

But show them the gospel arc, and the lostness of the lost. Don’t let them get used to that.


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