A Children’s Song = the Plight of the Western Church

Moana...it's where we are!

If you’ve spent any time in my house over the past 3 months you’ve noticed one thing above all others. We watch the Disney movie “Moana” at least once a day!

That’s because (for some reason) my 2-year-old LOVES the music and something about the water, beach, little girl, a big adventure – captures her heart. I love to watch her watch it… but the movie is wearing me out!

However, there is a 3 min song near the beginning of the movie that has been speaking to me for the past month as I’ve thought about the words over and over again.

It’s the song that Moana’s dad sings to her about the village. Here are some of the first few lyrics.

“The dancers are practicing. They dance to an ancient song
(Who needs a new song? This old one’s all we need)
This tradition is our mission…”

I know I’m a pastor, but these lyrics hit me right between the eyes as the state of the western church for the past 50-100 years.

We (the Church) are the people on an island to ourselves and are SO SATISFIED with keeping things as they are. Our traditions have become our mission! We’ve lost sight of who we are and who we were meant to be as followers of God. Here’s some additional lyrics.

“We’re safe and we’re well provided. And when we look to the future
There you are, you’ll be okay. In time you’ll learn just as I did
You must find happiness right where you are”

There is something to be said for contentment. I believe that is a peace that comes from God. However, there is also a danger in becoming so stuck in a rut that, simply because our needs are provided for… we have been CALLED FOR MORE!

The village (in the movie) begins to experience massive problems that seem unsolvable – yet they refuse to consider any option that does not fit within the “tradition” of lone island thinking. Even as the young chief-to-be begins to propose a solution, the fact that it takes them off the island causes them to reject the idea immediately. If this doesn’t represent traditional church thinking – I don’t know what does!

The grandmother (village crazy lady) holds tightly to the ancient stories of her people and remembers (with fondness) a time when THEY WERE MORE than who they currently are. She encourages her grand-daughter to mind her father but to pay close attention to “the voice inside” calling her out to a life that is MORE than what she sees – WOW! I love this story!

We as “the Church” have been called to live in a greater story than what we’ve been sold from our previous church leaders.

There is a “voice inside” (the Holy Spirit) that is calling us to reclaim the adventurous life of Paul and sharing the gospel with everyone we meet and watching people’s stories change before our very eyes! Allowing the wind of the Spirit to fill our sails and take us where He wants us to go and to POUR OUT our lives as an offering to Him.

May the church of our generation NEVER settle for the comfort of what we (on our islands) can provide for ourselves….may we always be the risk-taking adventures God has called us to be in Him.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith

Matt Dawson is a pastoral leader, communicator, and blogger who desires to discuss the tension between life and faith, and help people experience life fully alive!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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