Who would you hack the Church for?

A father hacked the popular NES game Donkey Kong so his daughter could play as a female protagonist. How awesome is that? Here are some of his words:

“If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that the world could be just a bit more accommodating … I didn’t set out to push a feminist agenda, or try to make a statement. I just wanted to keep that little grin lit up on my daughter’s face every time we sit down to play games together.”

You can read the full story about this amazing father here.

This illustration makes me wonder what any of us might do, given the opportunity, to hack the church for the sake of our children. Some might say that God wrote the source code for the church, and that any change is surely an abomination; and perhaps they might be right in a fashion. But doesn’t this also suggest that God loves her children less than this techie father loves his little girl?

After all, wasn’t it Jesus who said something about the Sabbath being made for people, not people for the Sabbath? Certainly that might apply to the church as well. Do we truly believe that we are made for the church, or is the church that was made for us?

So who is up for hacking the church a little? And if you were to hack it, what might you change?

  • Female Priests for Catholics?
  • Mandatory sensitivity classes for pastors at large non-denoms?
  • Worship and teaching methods fit for the 21st century?
  • Intentional cultural and ethnic diversity at all churches?
  • More intergenerational practices?

If you attend, or even lead a church, try for a moment to not think about the things that bother you about the churches you don’t attend. Other churches are easy.

What hacks would make your church better? What are the things that would make it more palatable to the people who visit once and never return? What level of discomfort are you willing to accept so that others might encounter a life-giving Gospel?

And if you are among the growing number of people who have given up on church, what are the things you really wish you could find in a community that you would trust to shape and challenge you and/or your family? Remembering that no group of people is ever going to be perfect, what are those things that make church unbearable for you? How might they be fixed, if at all?

Now of course, a church where everything is up for grabs is not a church worth joining. The best communities regularly challenge members to grow, offer meaningful ways to serve, and critique some of the values we take for granted. Churches have traditions and practices that are worth preserving.

All the same, how amazing would it be if those of us within the fold aspired to love those outside as much as this father does his daughter, to “keep that little grin lit up” upon the faces of those we seek to reach.

How could we be a bit more accommodating?

So, these are my thoughts. What are yours?

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