Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The Danger Of Pointing It Out
Thirty years later I was tired of all of the clowns, barking dogs, trained and tamed lions. Now (thirty-eight years after Jesus invaded my life) I will stand—alone, if need be—and say this loud and clear.I agree with that without reservation, so why do I find myself shuttering when I read it?
The Evangelical Emperor has no clothes. A scheming tailor made him think he did, and he has been proudly parading naked for many years, with the crowd cheering wildly with their eyes wide shut. In reality, the emperor is butt naked, with no substance other than his pride in himself. I am no longer going to be silent. Many evangelical churches in our nation are as shallow as a puddle, as empty as crushed Coke can.
What good does it do for this unknown writer in Oklahoma to say this? Well, for one, I can finally stop pretending that maybe, perhaps, some of these celebrity naked preachers have something to good to offer if we just dig hard enough. I can say outloud what I have felt for so long: A steady diet of cotton candy does not satisfy. As a matter of fact, it leaves me sick to my stomach.
Listen to me. I live in the bucket of evangelicalism here in Tulsa. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting two churches and a “ministry” of some kind. The number of shepherds who care for their sheep is far outdone by those who want to “build a ministry.” I hear it all day long. The object of the game is to get as many people into their church as possible by offering the latest gimmick or fad. I have people come into my store everyday who are wearing rubber bracelets with the name of their church on them. The purpose is to get others to say, “What’s on your bracelet?” so they can then invite the other to their church. Once there, they get to hear and see the preacher on video piped in from some other location. Let’s get as many people as we can under the Big Tent. Then it’s time for the trapeze artists and the guy to get shot from a cannon to entertain the crowd.
No more for me, please. And I am no longer going to just smile and say, “Well, that’s good for you, but it’s not my style.” My style has nothing to do with it. We are here to bring glory to God by receiving his grace and mercy for our sins. Period. I hate to break it to you, but this life is not about you or me. God is the creator of this universe, and it is all for his glory alone.
Largely because I cannot escape on verse:
Rom 8:28 - All things work for the the good...As vapid, self-indulgent, gimmicky, and downright ugly as the Evangelical world can be, God's at work in it. Somewhere in the thousands that have been run through the mill there are a few that have heard God's voice and responded.
Does Evangelicalism need correction? Much and then more, but then so did the denominationalism from which it sprang and the Catholicism from which that sprang. God moves in history, most of all, church history.
God is moving now, in ways I do not understand. He is hard to find, often, but I trust He is here, and I rely on His wisdom, not mine.