Sunday, July 26, 2009

just call me a fool.

I can't stop thinking about these things:

"God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important."
1 Corinthians 1:28

"And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5

And meanwhile the churches look more and more like a good, entertaining show. Don't get me wrong. I think their hearts are usually in the right place. I think they genuinely want people to know Jesus. But they run everything like a good business, like if we create just the right, hip atmosphere, they will come, the lost will flock to us and find Jesus, all because we wore the right jeans and broke everything down into a few easy bullet points.

Aren't we supposed to be different from the world? Not just for the sake of being different, not as attention whores, but because the world uses a system of value and worth that Jesus rejected. This is why the Pharisees and Jesus didn't exactly get along. The Pharisees wanted a Messiah to come in and validate their system. But he didn't. Jesus didn't play their little games. He wasn't interested in allowing people to feel better than one another based on stupid qualifications like clothes or money or knowledge. Instead, he was more interested in the poor and the hungry, and in a person's heart and motives. He was not interested in rules and religion and looks. In other words, he was not interested in the things the world considers important, in the things the world urges us to buy or accomplish or show off.

And I am not very old or even very wise. I don't pretend to have it all figured out. But I just wonder what Jesus thinks of all our churches, and the slick videos and the well-dressed hipster pastors, and I wonder if we are just catering to what we think people like based on what the world says is cool. And how maybe what we really need is some "plain preaching," not a few easy steps to improve your life. Church is not supposed to be a self-help seminar. It is supposed to be the body and bride of Christ.

"If you think you are wise by this world's standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise." 1 Corinthians 3:18

(Donald Miller says all of this much better than I do in Searching for God Knows What, which I have been rereading of late.)

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