Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Boombox Christians in an Ipod age

Every church age has its critics. When the church was birthed on the Day of Pentecost, Peter and the Disciples were accused of being inebriated. The people observing them couldn’t understand the phenomenon of unlearned tongues being spoken by unlearned men. “What is this new doctrine?” the people asked. Through the ages people have always tried to build “sacred cows” and attribute more value to them than the actual message of the Gospel. Consider music as an example. 19th century Christians were convinced that hymns and the pipe organ were what brought down the ‘anointing’ of God. As the century turned people began to introduce guitars, drums, keyboards and other modern instruments into worship. A segment of the church called this heretical and declared that God could not be honored by this wanton display of ‘worldliness.’

The method was assigned as much value as the message and many people were convinced that the Christian subculture needed to stay away from anything that smelled remotely secular in its application. It never occurred to these people that as generations pass, the value of our message is strengthened by the vehicle that’s used to convey it. Relevant is not a four letter word, contrary to the opinion of many of the so called ‘purists.’ Can you imagine applying for a job in today’s world and when asked if you have any computer skills you reply “No, but I’ve got great typewriter skills.” Your typewriter skills are useless in a world that’s run by microchips and ipods. You may indeed have superior knowledge and abilities, but without the relevant vehicle to convey your skills, they are redundant. It's tantamount to being a boombox Christian in an ipod age.

The message of the Cross is timeless. However, we are not! This means that the methods that worked when our fathers were preaching the Gospel are by no means sacrosanct. One of the critical values for a church that’s trying to impact their community is the ability to speak the language of the people they’re trying to reach. Like many others who are questioning the effectiveness of our methods of ‘doing church’ and consequently challenging the status quo, I have faced my own fair share of criticism. I’ve been called seeker-sensitive, emergent, watered-down, and numerous other monikers that were not meant to be complimentary. I choose to interpret them as compliments. Jesus said He came to seek and save those who are lost. I guess that makes Him seeker sensitive and puts me squarely in the midst of phenomenal company.


Ash said...

that was practically poetic my friend. i ended w/ ...mm... (wink)