Tag Archives: industrial revolution

I Hate the Industrial Revolution

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Have I ever mentioned that I hate the industrial revolution? There has not been a time in history that has done more damage to the family than the industrial revolution.

Before the I.R. The home was the center of commerce. Families lived in generally the same area often times having several generations within the walls of the same house. Consumerism wasn’t nearly the problem it is today. Society was primarily rural, and the father was the leader of his home.

Children were raised in the home and boys were trained by their father to take on the family trade. Girls were trained by their mothers and grandmothers how to be good wives and mothers. Men and women contributed to society but did so from the home.

Then came the industrial revolution and the rise of shift work. Men were taken from their homes and required to work in jobs miles from home. Communities became more and more urbanized. Children were trained in schools, and families began to rely on those schools to raise their children. There has never been another time in history when the family unit as a way of life has taken such a devastating blow.

As I think of how the industrial revolution changed the functionality of the family unit, in much the same way the church building has changed the functionality of the church. I must make it clear right off the bat: the church is the people who follow Christ; it is NOT the building.

Before the church building became the center of Christendom, the Christians functioned in the towns and villages around them. Towns and villages were much more tightly knit, so when someone was converted to Christianity the entire town heard the message not only of the conversion but also of Christ Himself.

The people weren’t so focused on Sunday morning that it was their end-all to their Spiritual activity for the week. Christians were about living daily for their savior. They were evangelizing daily to whomever they came in contact with. Christian was what defined them – it was not merely one of many tags they wore.

Then came the church building. As church building were built evangelism slowed. In fact, nowadays most churches do very little evangelism outside of their church buildings. They work hard to find the best preachers and teachers or to provide the best, most inspiring worship so that they can draw people in to the buildings. This was never supposed to be the way of the church. In fact, Sunday morning worship times weren’t even originally for “seekers”. It was for Christians.

Another development from the culture of the church building is that they generally place the preachers and pray-ers up front on some sort of risen platform. This gives the notion that those who are “leading” in the assembly are somehow better or more spiritual than those sitting in the pews. My brothers and sisters, this is not so! The preacher is not better than you. God shows no favoritism. We are all broken people saved only by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. An elder or priest has no higher place in the kingdom of God. They are brothers and sisters of Christ just as I am.

This brings me to another thought. When did the church begin the idea of “leading” so many things anyway? There were preachers in the first century, but when did the people stop praying and start relying on some “leader” to do that for them? I think that this is yet another result of our building-focused church mentality.

So, what do we do? It’s time to take back the neighborhood for Christ. It’s time for Christians everywhere to get back to evangelism. This is not about coercing someone into attending a service. It is about introducing people to the One who can save them from their sins. Only when we get out of our buildings and into the neighborhoods will communities be changed for Christ. Only then will the kingdom once again forcefully advance.

You do not have to wait on your minister or pastor or elders to get this started. You can start this today by merely talking to the person in the next cubicle or your next door neighbor. Then, in the midst of conversation and relationship you make sure that Christ becomes the focus. Do this in the context of love and passion for Christ and what He has done for you, and I guarantee that people will listen. They may not all respond, but your job is to plant seeds everywhere you go and let God give the increase.

You and I can never convert anyone. Anyone who says they can convert people is an egotist. Only God changes the hearts of men and women. We are merely his mouthpiece, so all glory goes to him.

May you have a new look at what it means to be the church. May your neighborhood be taken for the kingdom of God, and may the whole world be changed because you got outside of your church building and told people not about how great your church is, but about how great your God is.

God bless you, and if you need anything or would like to talk about this more, feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611. Have a wonderful holiday, and take back the neighborhood!

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This IS My Sunday Best

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Do you like traditions? Some traditions are good and useful, but I enjoy finding those traditions that have need for change and addressing them.

I see some traditions like the daughter who always cut the ends off her roast before putting it in the oven. One day she finally wondered why she was doing it. So asked her mother, but her mother simply said, “that’s the way my mother always did it.” So they went to the grandmother. The grandmother chuckled and said, “my oven wasn’t big enough for the entire roast, so I had to cut the ends off to get it to fit.”

The daughter had been a part of a tradition that was no longer useful nor was it relevant.

Do we have traditions in our churches such as this today? Yes we do. In fact, new obsolete traditions pop up every year as cultures change. The trick is making sure we understand what is a tradition and what is scripture. Many people raise the traditions to the level of scripture and err in doing so.

If you are handy with Google search, you can find out what happened about 150 years ago. Before the industrial revolution there were basically two classes: the haves and the have nots. The haves were able to afford the nicer clothing due to the fact that everything was being made by hand to that point. The have nots had to settle with usually two outfits per person. One they wore to work and the other they wore to town. There was little difference in the style of these articles of clothing. One was simply cleaner than the other.

The haves would wear their nice clothes especially in public to make sure that there was a difference between them and the have nots. It was a status issue. This practice crept into the churches and there was still much division within the family of God as the two classes were still being encouraged through dress and action within the walls of the churches.

Then came the industrial revolution and the rise of the middle class.

With the invention of the Spinning Jenny, clothes manufacturing became less tedious and therefore more affordable to this middle class. More and more people had access to nicer clothes. The upper class began to push the lower classes to conform to their practice of wearing their nicer clothes to the Sunday assemblies. This idea was resisted for several years.

Finally, around 1850, the last of the denominations began to accept and practice this idea of coming to the assembly dressed to the hilt. The term “Sunday best” was coined shortly thereafter, and the rest is history.

Today we still have many people in churches as well as many church leaders who think that dressing your best on Sunday is the only proper way to attend. In this culture, however, people are dressing up less and less. Even business men and women are dressing more casually. The days of dressing to the nines are gone. It was merely a tradition, and a relatively recent one at that.

In the church what this does is continue the mindset of the haves and the have nots. I have known several people who do not attend worship anywhere for fear that the “don’t have anything nice to wear”. What a shame!

In 1 Corinthians there was an issue of the haves not treating the have nots as equal, and it came to a head concerning the Lord’s Supper in chapter 11. The haves could get to the assembly quicker because of horses and the like, but the poor had to come from the edges of the area and on foot. The rich would go ahead and feast at the supper, but when the poor got there no food was left.

If we continue this idea of “Sunday best” in our churches we harbor that same attitude distinguishing between the classes. Church is supposed to be a collective of unity. God does not show favoritism. God was fine with David dancing in his underwear before God. Where was his Sunday best? God didn’t seem to care.

In Joel 2:13, God says, “Rend your heart and not your garments.” God is more interested in your heart and attitude than he is in how you dress. If you have nice clothes, then church is for you. If you don’t have nice clothes then church is for you too. In fact, how awesome would it be if those that are haves dressed down a bit just so they could show their desire to commune with those that have less.

I know of churches that do just that. They minister to homeless and other poor, and the leaders dress down to keep from flaunting their wealth before the poor. It’s an attitude of acceptance and unity.

Remember, as long was your heart is totally dedicated to God, then no matter what you wear, you are in your Sunday best.

May we be a people who promote unity in our churches as we love each other no matter what they wear. May we humble ourselves a bit – remembering that Jesus, the King of kings, humbled himself and became a man…just like us.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this, please feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611. God bless you!


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