April 25, 2008

Are You A “Shirker”?

Filed under: Books, Christianity — jodygambrell @ 11:03 am

I am currently reading, “Death By Suburb” Death By Suburb by David Goetz. This is a required reading for the ministerial staff at Dawson. The author will be conducting a seminar for our staff next month. In his book, Goetz compares religious folks to the life of a shirker bull.  He writes, “The shirker bull is a male elk that is able to grow very large antlers because it shirks his biological duty by choosing not to participate in the rut.” “The shirker bull, most likely a loner, avoids fighting other males and thus pours all his caloric energy into growing exceptionally large antlers.” Goetz goes on to say, “Shirkers are religious folk who inadvertently disengage from the suffering of the world and who unwittingly collect to themselves every available religious experience. Whether the latest book or Bible study or spiritual director or new church with the really authentic and post-postmodern worship, Shirkers are always on the move for the next spiritual plane. Shirkers are wild for the ideas of God.” Shirkers want to make their life count through acts of service. When the service produces no results, the shirker tends to move on to other acts where his or her service seems to be producing results. “The problem isn’t with the act of service but with its motivation.”

Goetz continues, “Religion in the ‘burbs tends to be more a program to join than it is an experience that changes your life. The more I participate in the programs, the further I remove myself from the deep suffering of the world. That’s too bad. The entrance to the thicker, deeper life in Christ goes directly through the suffering of others. As soon as I discover my spiritual gifts, I am hustled into serving in one of the legion of church programs. Eventually I get to be a church leader, and I can sit for four or five hours at a setting and discuss leveraging resources for the kingdom of God.”

“What we enjoy, after being released from the need for significance and success, is the sweetness of the obedience. Finding one’s purpose comes not from the results of service but from the act of obedience.”

I am often guilty of being a “shirker”. Unfortunately, the church often encourages the “shirker” lifestyle. I am convinced that God is trying to teach me something here lately. Several of the books that I am reading right now are challenging me in weird ways. I’m never really a fan of books that I am forced to read but this one has not been all that bad.


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