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Crabgrass and Oak Trees

April 11, 2011

Matt at The Church of No People features the book Crabgrass and Oak Trees by Jonathan Almanzar and Aaron Havens.  The following is an excerpt from his interview with the authors:

The book is really a series of parables that compares the church to crabgrass.  Where did the crabgrass imagery come from?

Two places.  I spent a lot of time on the plains of Kansas which is described in the book, where crabgrass is abundant.  I also spent two years trying to get a softer, greener grass to start in the hot summers of Mexico.

I can relate.  I never thought I would care as much as I do about getting grass to grow in my yard.  So, in your minds, what stands in the way of the Church living up to its full potential?

There’s three things in my mind.  The church is afraid.  Afraid we won’t have enough, afraid HE isn’t enough.  Afraid our message isn’t cool enough.  Afraid that people won’t follow unless their life gets easier and better.  Afraid if someone “does” it better everyone will leave.  Afraid of the Spirit.  Second, we think that something great can’t happen, or we just aspire to less than the highest and best.  Last is our pursuit of comfort.  It’s not that comforts are wrong, it’s that always trying to be comfortable is holding us back.

You contrast the imagery of the church as crabgrass with the image of an oak tree.  Turns out an oak tree church isn’t so great.  What makes the church like an oak tree?

There’s a few ways the church can be like an oak tree.  Churches, like oak trees can suffer from “invertedness,” meaning consuming your own fruits.  It’s paying more attention to yourself than those around you.  It’s longing for your name to be known rather than the King’s.

Then there’s the fact that everything we do, we do, because we CAN do it:  An oak tree does what it can.  Crabgrass does the impossible (which you’ll find out in the book).  I look at our churches today and we spend a lot of timing planning to do things we can already do and then pray for God to bless them.  Then we do them (because we already could or else we wouldn’t have attempted it).  But it seems to me when I read my Bible that God was calling people to do things they could not do.  Then they prayed, not for HIM to bless it but to bring it to pass.  The Church needs to start looking at the impossible things.

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