Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Related Tags: Good Friday Art
Relevancy That Matters
Young, college-educated evangelicals are far more open to gay marriage than our parents. We may be rosy about marriage, but we also don’t care much who enters it.A picture continues to emerge that the Evangelical movement can be summed up as "Go along to get along." In an effort to be "relevant" we adapt the cultural forms of the current day, but forget to filter out the cultural norms and mores. We seem to try and fade into the wood work. Forget "Standing up" for Jesus, we do not even "Stand out."
If the culture war is still going on among the college educated, then, it’s not evangelicals who are leading the way. A friend sent me a note reporting from Princeton’s Love and Fidelity Conference reporting that it was overrun with Catholics and Mormons, but had few evangelicals. I suspect that’s indicative both of evangelicalism’s lack of representation at Princeton and younger evangelical’s disinterest in the marriage debates.
"Relevancy" is a term of comparison - one must be relevant to something else. One cannot be relevant in a vacuum. Relevancy in the church must be to God's created order, not the to the concerns of this world in its current fallen state. By definition that means we will appear quite different from the prevailing culture.
Maybe it is time we took a good look at what we measure our relevancy against?
Thursday, April 21, 2011
It'll Give You A Complex
I grew up in the Bible Belt. When I became a Christian, I learned I didn’t have to stop buying stuff – I just had to start buying Christian stuff. An entire world of retail spending possibilities lay before me: the Christian industrial complex. There were Christian t-shirts, bumper stickers, even Christian candy (“Testa-Mints”—peppermints wrapped in a bible verse). We were taught “secular” was bad, and supplied with charts that countered popular mainstream bands with a Christian alternative. We burned our old tapes (which is what we listened to back in those days) and went with the Christian albums. We were often sadly disappointed. It just didn’t sound like Metallica. As a friend of mine quipped, “All these Christian artists say, ‘God gave me this song,' and then you listen to it and understand why God gave it away.”Amen to that. From Part Two:
What we need right now, especially in the world of Christian retail stores, is creativity and courage. We don’t simply need to ride the wave of the market. Instead we should be making new ripples for the Kingdom of God.I disagree with Shane about some of the particulars of his idea -but I agree with him entirely that creativity is the key.
See, here is the thing. "Christian" merchandise should not need to be labeled as such to prove its identity. If we really are creative then w will make the BEST stuff. People will not but it because it is "Christian" - they will but it because it is good. (I think God said something abut that as He created stuff.) This idea might spell the end of Christian retailing, becasue if stuff is that good, it will easily be picked up by regular retailers. (Sorry Shane)
Think about many of the great artists of history - Shakespeare, Bach - their faith inhabited their work, and it was consumed by the general public. In fact it was the pop culture of its time.
Really makes me wonder.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
In the cartoon world of contemporary American evangelicalism, it’s all about bigger, better, and simpler. Help folks think their dreams can come true. Create “moments” for people in the congregation that they will never forget, that will “bless” families in safe and sanitized settings. Remove the messiness and reality of day to day life. Instead, put a sentimental, heart-tugging version of life up on the screen and make people feel it. Embrace the possibilities.I agree, but that seems to be a rare sentiment. People want disnefied faith or we would not be offering it.
Evangelicalism has become “Disney-ized.”
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the faith, I want the real thing, not a Disney caricature.
There is little I hate more in life than lies. Recall the days of when I weighed over 400 pounds. I had a denial of sorts going on in my life - I paid little attention to many of the effects it had, but I could never bring myself to say "I'm not that big."
I think that is where the church is - we keep saying "Jesus" over and over so we figure we are not lying. But by failing to examine the ramifications of what we do, we fail to notice that we are lying. We are trying to live like normal people when we are bloated and fat. Denial is a form of lying.
We need to learn to hate these lies. Christianity is not a fantasy into which we escape - it is a reality - what more it is the only reality that makes life here bearable.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
From Death - Life
The only one who has met death and conquered is Jesus of Nazareth. The only way to find hope in the face of death and eternal life and resurrection after death is through trusting in the matchless, death-defeating Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. By this truth, I shall live, and die, and live again.The Christian does not avoid death - he/she conquers it - we occupy it, we control it, but it is still a a part of our being. It is inevitable.
"Eternal life" does not mean no death - it means life after death.
Why do we act as if we can avoid death? And does not such make little use of our faith. Medicine keeps pushing death back, but only Christianity can wake up on the other side of it.
I think the church would be a very different pace, if only we truly grasped this.
Monday, April 18, 2011
This AIN'T New
Well, that's what Christian Web Trends is talking about.
First of all, I must confess an aversion to the term based on some jury service I did some years back. The defendant, caught on tape committing the crime - you know the time of day and likely activities. He claimed to be on a record sales "street team" to justify his presence in an unsavory place at a god-awful time of day. Not really sure that is a concept that the church wants to affiliate it self with. BUt maybe that is just personal bias on my part.
But what is a "street team" other than a formalized word-of-mouth campaign - something that back in my days in YL we called "contact work" - incarnational ministry. The concept was based on the fact that since God felt it necessary to journey among us, maybe we should base our ministry on the same concept. Come on - the idea is at least 2000 years old.
SO just a couple of comments. First of all, the only characteristic you need in a street team member is Christ-likeness. Secondly, "virtual" street team is simply oxymoronic. Did Jesus undergo a "virtual" crucifixion?