“You will be like God.” – The Deceiver
Seven poisons. Seven temptations? All have the echo of the first lie. A straight line from the first lie to seven little ones. There are most likely more…some I’ve bought into and therefore was not able to list because I may be just too mired in it.
1. The Excitement. We have no vision for a God who works unawares. You might challenge me to list 7 exciting things God is doing in the church right now. But I am not all that concerned about the exciting because I think he is always doing something and it’s always exciting. Every moment of every day. And even if I cannot see it, I assume God is working for the good of his people and the glory of his name. Just because you cannot see it, does not mean God is not working. We are stupid for excitement.
2. The Power. We will blast the hell out of Rob Bell for a yet-to-be-published book questioning hell. But circle the wagons in silence when one of our own is publicly accused of abusing his power. And then use our power to attack those who have publicly accused him of this. We could have just waited for Bell’s book to come out first and then written thoughtful responses. We could have waited to accuse those who have started these blogs – representing hundreds upon hundreds of people who claim spiritual abuse – until after the dust settled. But no, the need to minister from a position of strength and power, waxes and rarely wanes till it’s too late.
3. The Profusion. Podcasts, vodcasts, conferences, webzines, blogs, twitter, facebook and now Google+ – all of it is now a means of information about how to think, live and believe as a Christian. And these do not even take into account the weekly bible studies, accountability groups, prayer meetings, worship gatherings and Sunday services. It is all so much and coming at us 24/7 with unrelenting urgency. Most will not be able to keep up. They will give up because it is all too much. Less than an hour after your pastor’s message, you will see a link to an interesting sermon from a pastor across the country and it will be in high-def video. As you go to tweet about it moments after it is over, you’ll see a killer quote to retweet. And on and on and on…A deep, abiding thought will be almost impossible. And we will not rest in a Word.
4. The Perspective. We have none. And it’s why we get all excited about a pastor’s criticism of something like the American Dream while not even stopping to wonder if they have achieved it yet. We use iPhones to make people feel guilty about their wealth. We say ridiculous things like, “Instead of criticizing __________, you should be out witnessing!” Back at ya.
5. The Young. If Whitney is right and the children are our future, we’re screwed. I’d prefer my parents were the future or their parents. Heck, I don’t even want to be the future. But I digress. There are some things – theological, political, social, familial, etc. – I’ve been thinking about for a while. But today’s young Christians – some half my age – thinking about an issue over night after watching a documentary, reading a book, etc. are suddenly experts espousing you know thoughts on like stuff. We need to recapture a practice of stopping and thinking and learning before we are old and only do the stopping and thinking and learning because we have failed so often that we now see the need.
6. The Celebrity. Maybe it’s always been the case. But I cannot help but think with the advance of the internets and the rise of social media, the cult of personality has grown within the evangelical church. It has minimized the work of the local church and placed the power to save and sustain in the abilities of a few while marginalizing the work of the Spirit. It’s created elitist pastors who hob-nob in green rooms before going on stage at conferences.
7. The Cool. We are thirsty for cool and have drunk it down to the dregs. In an effort to be relevant and gain market-share, we have taken every cool trend, product, hip TV show, movie and music star and baptized them for our purposes. We wanna be cool, be see as cool and want to be guilty of cool by association. It’s really just sad. And Junior High.
Let me close by saying, God is powerful and good. He will not ever forsake his people. But these facts do not preclude us from being concerned about some of these things. I am assume there are other things to be concerned about. It is certainly possible I am part of the problem behind other complaints and therefore have not seen them. Guilty as charged, I am sure.
And sometimes a complaint is not mere complaining. Call this a last salvo for a while as this blog takes a different turn…