Thursday, June 19, 2008

This way please, ladies and gentlemen...

I've been reading the Book of Micah, one of the minor Prophets of the Bible. Micah, like other Prophets before and after him, always had to contend with being extremely unpopular, completely marginalized, and tagged as irrelevant. The uphill task for every Christian today is to convey the truth of the Gospel, yet command the attention of the ones you're trying to reach with the message, while remaining relevant. The Gospel is a message of love, provision, and forgiveness, but it is also a message of repentance, obedience, and judgement. It is impossible to preach the truth while eschewing one or the other. Micah finds himself battling the cultural mandate of the day, as well as the leaders of Israel.

The search for balance and creativity in communicating the message of truth sort of reminds me of a flight attendants thankless job. I would wager that it's probably been a while since you paid undivided attention to the flight attendant during the seemingly repetitive and arduous pre-flight safety demonstration. Look around you next time you fly, people are reading, talking, laughing... everything but paying attention to the most important part of the flight. This shook me to the core when I watched a show on NatGeo the other day about a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines flight that ditched in the waters off the Comoros Islands along the south-eastern coast of Africa. Before the crash-landing people were instructed to put on their life jackets and not inflate them until they had exited the plane, many ignored the instructions. It cost them their lives. While many people survived, everyone who had inflated their life jackets while still sitting in the plane, found that they couldn't escape the plane as it broke up on impact with the ocean and immediately began to fill up with water. Their inflated life jackets caused them to float to the top of the plane and they just couldn't muster the requisite strength to swim against the bouyancy of their life jackets. less than 100 yards from shore, they perished in a tube that had been broken open on both ends.

While the stories of the Bible may sometimes appear minatory, the truth is that they are the same 'repetitive announcement' from God about a world that is on a fast track to crash landing into the very abyss of hell. Christians are the 'flight attendants' on this doomed flight, and we have to get the people's attention to ensure that they don't perish uneccessarily. If the truth be told, it is not just about being a great raconteur, but about understanding that it is the nature of sinners to sin. We cannot allow ourselves to be offended by people to the point that we lose an appreciation for the value of their lives. The flight attendant can no more decide he/she is not doing the announcement because less than half the people on the plane are paying attention, than we can decide to quit trying to find creative ways to communicate the truth so that people pay attention. What are some of the more creative ways you've figured out how to communicate truth? (You can't say blogging!)