Glenn Kelley at www.churchmedic.com found a great 60 second video on how to train fleas in three days. It’s a great video and I’ve embedded it here as well. Take a look and then scroll down for more.
I’ve often quipped that if a church tries something new in worship it’s called innovation. If it does it the next week it’s viewed with suspicion. If it does the third week, it’s called tradition. Weeks, days, same difference. The church, by and large, has been stuck within the lid for over fifty years. In the 1950s the church shifted gears from a wartime church to a family church lodged inextricably in Modernity. “Everyone” went to church, and anyone who missed this week knew they were “supposed” to be in church. This way of doing and being church seemed to “work” for a couple of decades – long enough for it to become well intrenched as tradition. The problem is, these traditions became indistinguishable from our cherished beliefs. Preaching to the converted was the norm (the New Testament models “preaching” as something done for the non-believers … the church’s mode of teaching came from “dialogue”). Songs from the Reformation era, with a few Fanny Crosby songs aded to the mix became the “sacred” and all other music types were deemed secular and out of sorts with the church.
Leap … boink. Leap … boink. Leap … boink. And when the lid came off beginning in the mid-sixties, there was no escaping it. In the words of Stephen King in The Dark Tower, the world had “moved on” but the church at large did not.
What wil it take for the church to figure out how to communicate the Gospel with the Culture it has alienated? The evangelism course I’m teaching for the Missouri School of Religion is dealing with that very topic tonight. And Tom Bandy and I are dealing with a related topic (Worship Wars) on our call-in radio show Church Talk on Wednesday. I think one of the keys is listening and respect. We don’t have to like the culture we find ourselves in (though most “Christians” have accomodated themselves within it pretty thoroughly), but we’d better understand it and be able to relate to it … like Paul did on Mars Hill (Acts 17) … and not spend a lot of energy bad mouthing it … again, check out Paul’s response to the idolatry of the Athenians – oh wait, he didn’t respond to their “heathen” ways. Instead, he related and respected the culture well enough to be able to converse about it … and he didn’t say one negative word about the “idols” (input your own word in the quotes … tattoos, piercings, alternative lifestyles, etc.). But the folks in Athens wanted to “hear more.” When was the last time people in our culture asked to “hear more” from the church?
Leap … boink? Or will we jump just a little higher to reach our neighbors?