Thursday, September 20, 2012
Standing on Shifting Sand
He is saying that in America the foundation of our faith is the self, and the needs of the self shape the way the church addresses faith. This self-faith is built on what are called “felt needs.” Churches all across the land meet on a regular basis to come up with ways to meet people’s “felt needs.” From the songs that are sung, to the length of those songs, to the instruments played during those songs, to the lights that are up (or down) during those songs, everything is geared to elicit an emotional response which will lead into the next segment of the service. That next segment will be geared toward felt needs, with emotional pleas to come forward to repent or be prayed for, or emotional pleas to give. (“Plant a seed so God can meet your need.”) Then comes the message, which is also tailored around the hearer’s needs.Let's think about this for a minute - Jesus could have given them what they felt they needed - but he didn't and was crucified for it.
I’ll just come out and say this square: I hate the phrase “felt needs.” I think it is the greatest profanity my ears can hear. What is so special about my needs and how I feel about those needs? Look, I taught marketing for fifteen years. I have been involved in media marketing for more than 38 years. I know how to manipulate people with words and images and sounds. I know that to get an emotional reaction usually means to get a financial reaction as well. To be able to get a consumer to think, “I have dingy teeth. And if I have dingy teeth, that stud walking by won’t be interested in me. So I’ll spend money and buy this toothpaste that promises me white, bright teeth, and by association, promises me that stud,” is magic. It means millions of dollars in sales. Meet someone’s felt needs and you have a vacuum cleaner hooked up to his or her wallet.
So tell me, what does this have to do with the Gospel? And why are churches so concerned with meeting one’s felt needs?
So what's that say about the church today?