Every Sunday, Americans flock to giant, hangar-like theaters, where rock music with shallow lyrics that most people can’t sing along with well blares out of $200,000 sound systems for a scientifically prescribed number of minutes before some attractive woman gets up and makes an appeal for money. Then a goateed guy in a Hawaiian or bowling shirt talks for a half hour about how we can all enjoy our best life now by doing something that tangentially has to do with the Bible. And maybe Jesus. Maybe. There’s another song, and then everyone goes to IHOP for all-you-can-eat pancakes.And:
Anymore, I don’t encounter much of God in a traditional Evangelical church setting. I have a hard time with the music, and I’m a musician. I wish the words were more meaningful and the tunes more melodic. I wish there were more quiet, contemplative songs. I wish we worshiped God in ways that didn’t always come down to something that emanated from Hillsong or the pen of Chris Tomlin. I keep hoping for a bright, airy space filled with people who minister to each other. I want to see the assembly of the people of God filled with prayers, and not just for a couple minutes. We need to use our individual gifts on a Sunday, and not just stare dully at a stage from whence the show pours forth. We each need to practice our spiritual gifts with each other in the assembly, because that’s what God gave them to us for. We need to eat a real meal together and bear each other’s burdens so that people leave encouraged and strengthened and not burdened by yet one more thing the pastor said they’re doing half-heartedly or altogether wrong. And we need to know that someone at that church has our back if the going gets rough. And we need to know whose back we’ve got when he or she stumbles.Read the whole piece to understand the context of all this, and the reason it is not just pointless snark.
Sometimes I get the impression that the entire American church is a mass of people waiting for the next big message from some Texas Mega-Pastor who will tell us how everything's going to be ok. When did the church become a quivering mass of helplessness waiting for the next smidgeon of encouragement, the next stirring message to relieve us of our near-debilitating fear. That's what you might think it is if you keep track of the the Christian publishing industry.
Note Max Lucado's new book: You'll Get Through This. Thanks, Max, I needed that. I probably need the You'll Get Through This sermon series, and the You'll Get Through This Campaign Kit, and the You'll Get Through This Study Guide with DVD Pack. No doubt there will soon be a You'll Get Through This for teens, another for women, for men, for Golden Agers, plus the inevitable You'll Get Through This daily devotional, not to mention the You'll Get Through This bracelets, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers.
Anyway, nothing particularly against Mx Lucado. I'm just wondering, when did this become what the Christian faith is all about. Read your New Testament, and ask yourself, what is the overwhelming theme, or the three major points, of these Gospel accounts and letters? Is it, you'll get through this? Is that the message that we ought to rally around? Or is that just the latest industry gimmick in a culture of gimmicks? Just wondering.