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Smelling Good Fruit

For the next two weeks, whilst I am on leave, I’d like to share some excerpts from Andrew Turner’s blog sacredagents.net (he’s the ‘Fruitful Church’ guy). This one is on smelling good fruit.

When occasionally I’m tempted to despair, I find myself repeating this little phrase from Jesus over and over: “They don’t pick grapes from thornbushes. They don’t pick grapes from thornbushes.” When the media increasingly derides Christianity the difference between good and bad philosophy comes to light through the kind of communities they produce.

Over the last decade, during which Christianity has faced very hostile press, parents have been falling over themselves to enrol their kids in Christian schools in unprecedented numbers. Why? Because when it comes to the crunch, when it really matters – such as your own kids’ future – people have a good nose for good fruit.

It happens locally. Many Australians hate the idea of Christian chaplains in public schools, but love the actual chaplain in their own local school. My kids’ first school firmly resisted chaplaincy and any whiff of Christian input. The result? Parents were constantly asking us whether their kids could attend our kids club at the church next door to the school. Those parents had a nose for what’s stale and what’s fresh. It’s just common scents.

Which hints to me a tangible way forward for mission in Australian culture. If we don’t despair, but live fresh, distinct, communal lives invigorated by God’s Spirit, and simply be visible to and smellable by others, the ‘aroma of Christ’ will do its thing and many prodigals will come to – and follow – their senses.