Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are we relevant?

Last night, I listened to a Podcast I had downloaded while in the US. It was from a pastor from one of the churches we visited during class--the one church that actually got my blood boiling for the arrogant way in which they were doing inner city ministry. (Basically a we-have-arrived mentality. OK, there were actually many things beyond the we-have-arrived mentality that saddened and frustrated me about our visit to their brand new, very expensive campus. But I won't go into that now. It's just not necessary.)

So I decided to download at least one Podcast from their guru pastor, so I could actually hear him teach and decide if my assessment of the said church may have been wrong.

It wasn't.

Other than making a completely inappropriate comment about how he hopes they have "lots of hand sanitizer" at their new inner-city campus (?!), he proceeded to teach a lesson from a Q&A series. The specific lesson was on the emerging church.

What he said about this movement was good and true and solid as far as I my understanding goes. In fact, I learned a good amount about different streams within the movement.

It was the pastor's introduction to the sermon that really, really rubbed me the wrong way.

"Since you guys are all here at [our church], it means you really don't care about the emerging church. Which is good. You shouldn't! So just bare with me while I answer this question and then we might get into something useful..."

What really saddens me about this attitude is that a pastor (or anyone in a Christian leadership position, for that matter) would actually tell his people that they should not care about one of the fastest-growing phenomena in the Christian church. Regardless of whether or not you agree with what's happening in any of the groups within the emerging/emergent church, we should live informed lives if we want to be relevant. If we don't know what the different groups within this movement believe, we will either condemn the good along with the bad, we'll embrace the bad along with the good, or we'll simply not care.

As far as I understand our role as Christians, none of these options are really an option. We should in fact care. It doesn't mean that all of us need to become experts on every topic, but we should at least care to know enough so we can have an informed opinion. Or know enough to say "I don't know enough about this topic to have an informed discussion," and listen to what our friends have to say, then, in our study times, compare it to what the Bible teaches before we set out to simply argue with friends.

If we simply live life in the "I'm 'in,' so I don't have to care about what's going on 'out there' lane," we would become not only irrelevant, but we're missing the mark. Completely.

I've missed the mark many times in my life. I thank God that he's not given up on me, but opening my eyes daily to areas where I do, in fact, need to care more.

The journey is long. There's so very much to learn. God forbid that we'd ever not care to learn more.

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