I love Pixar movies. As a father of three (relatively) young children, we still have a valid excuse to watch them. In fact some of them have been seen so regularly in our house that I could recite the script quite happily. Although these days Hannah and I are the ones that still try and push to watch them whereas our kids are wanting to move onto more grown up films. Sigh….
And one of the things I love about Pixar movies is the shorts that they include with all of their releases…usually played at the start in the cinema, and included as extras in the DVD release.
For The Birds was released in 2000 and was shown as an opener to Monsters Inc, the huge Pixar hit featuring John Goodman and Billy Crystal. It tells the story of a group of small, grumpy birds that are perched on a telephone wire, who are interrupted in their daily routine by a much larger and friendlier bird who wants to join them. The small birds are having none of it, and are unwilling to share their perch. As they try and knock him off of the cable so they can have it to themselves, there is a sudden realisation that their selfishness and inward focus is going to have some serious repercussions…
Too often we are like this as a church. For a place that professes to care about people and be a part of the community, we can be like these birds on a wire. We happily get on with our Sundays, singing the songs we like, seeing our friends and listening to a good message. But when that is disrupted…new people we don’t know are sitting in “our” seats, unfamiliar songs are sung and service times and orders (and even meeting places) are changed to make it more accessible to potential visitors; we grumble, complain and question what is happening to “our” church.
I have experienced it from both sides…having been at our current church for over 12 years, there is a comfort to seeing the same familiar faces each week, talking to my friends and not keeping an eye out for visitors…something I need to address regularly. And from the other side, many years ago in our last church I received so much grief from certain members of the congregation as I was “doing the work of the devil by playing drums in church”! Heaven knows what they’d think about our current services at EBC!
So next time you’re running a series on community, or looking at your next invite, use this short to remind yourself of how inclusiveness, community and outreach is so much more important then maintaining the status quo.