Monday, March 19, 2012

When Churches Say "Uncle!" (Part I)

Going Down For the Count

When I was a kid, which seems so very long ago, I was a scrapper. By that I mean I loved to mix it up with the boys in my neighborhood and elementary classes. We would imitate WWF Wrestling, pretend we knew “Karate,” or fought as cowboy and Indians. When one of the gang came across boxing gloves we would “duke” it out in fun. Of course it was always fun until someone got hurt.

When things got a little too physical for us, and by that I mean we were getting hurt, we had a signal for the other fellow to quit. I am sure it was the same signal that you probably used when you use to rough house since I think it was used universally. That signal we so often had to default to was, “Uncle.” This was the universal plea for mercy. But it meant more than just have mercy, it meant, at least to us kids, QUIT! Stop, let me go, I have had enough. Of course sometimes someone jumped us and repeatedly called for us to "Say Uncle."

No one really knows were the expression came from. It has been seen in print as early as 1912. It might have come from an old Irish word, anacol, which means among a few things mercy and sounds like “Uncle.” There is even a folk lore legend that goes like this:

A gentleman was boasting that his parrot would repeat anything he told him. For example, he told him several times, before some friends, to say “Uncle,” but the parrot would not repeat it. In anger he seized the bird, and half-twisting his neck, said: “Say ‘uncle,’ you beggar!” and threw him into the fowl pen, in which he had ten prize fowls. Shortly afterward, thinking he had killed the parrot, he went to the pen. To his surprise he found nine of the fowls dead on the floor with their necks wrung, and the parrot standing on the tenth twisting his neck and screaming: “Say ‘uncle,’ you beggar! say uncle.’”

Regardless of where it came from and how it developed, almost every American boy, and some girls at some time and place have cried out, “Uncle.” I quit, I give up, let me go!

There is a sure tale-tell sign when churches have given up and are quitting God. Maybe, since Christ is actually the head of the church, I should have said when they have given up on Christ. It is easy to see when churches have cried Uncle.

Churches cry Uncle when they turn from trusting both Christ and what He said in the Scriptures about the church to church growth theology and methodology. Church growth theology screams one thing very loud and clear, we don’t trust Christ to build His church so we will do it our way. Adoption of church growth methodology is a sure sign the church has cried Uncle!

What does church growth methodology say so clearly? We will go into that in part two in tomorrow’s post, Lord willing. Please stop by.

To be continued...


Ian said...

Interesting. I am looking forward to the continuation.

Shannon said...

I agree and can't wait to see the next are you my friend...sorry it's been so long since I have stopped by but I've been on a long hiatus...I am slowly trying to make it back to blogging and have written a few here and to you and your wife...miss you all terribly and hope to see you again soon.

Ma said...

I agree that trying to build a large congregation by any means is not what Jesus had in mind.

Once the institution is formed, no matter what the size, the building, programs, staff, etc, need to be funded, hence the need to fill up the pews...It's about the money