stop reaching for prestige

“The classroom cannot compete with the glitter and the billion dollar success and the prestige of this commercial education… disguised as entertainment and which by-passes the intelligence while operating on the will and the desires” (Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride).

So, I ask, why bother? Why bother competing? Because you’re either going to lose and look ridiculously imitative and envious; or, you’re going to get caught up in the upwardly mobile church movement which is bound to crash because it demands so much money and energy from people. My suggestion is to quit now! Quit competing. My hunch is that the more real, simple, raw and unadorned you are, the more genuinely you reflect Jesus who was unadorned from the manger to the cross to the tomb, and the more authentically the message of the cross is displayed.

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  • Let the Will of God be done.

  • John

    What? Go a little further in your thought on this one.

    Let’s get rid of adorment – earings – nice clothes – funky glasses – nice cars – lets make sure all our “stuffl” that is shiny is painted black – matter of fact – lets all move to a commune and live together.

    Hmmm – thats been done before and doesnt seem to have an impact on the unchurched.

    You can be a church thay is big and modern – with its bells and whistles – and still be real and authentic.

  • if we continue to try to capture and keep people’s attention with the bells and whistles… well, i say give up! give up now!! before it’s too late!!!

  • Fred

    The Gospel can be offensive to those who don’t know Christ. It’s not our job to MAKE the message offensive.

    It’s our job to translate the message to the world around us and make it intelligible.

  • Fred

    Sometimes people interpret that translation as “bells and whistles.”

  • John

    Dave…your point doesnt stand under its own weight.

    Why do we get LCD projectors? Why do we use full band instead of just a humble piano? Are you saying that the church is to be out of touch with culture? Or are we to be relevant to the culture?

    I find for too long the church has been out of touch with culture. For too long the church is trying to give answers the world is not asking.

  • well, these are serious questions that need to be asked. similarly, should we speak king james english? no. because that’s not how we talk anymore. how do we read congregational songs? memory? no. hymnbooks? some. overheads? some. digital projectors. sure. the question is what are we doing that is natural, native, organic, authentic, indigenous, and actually reflects the culture of the congregation? or are we doing things that are signs that we are anxiously caught up in the hopeless competition for people’s attention? at what point do we ask ourselves: “is my digital inclination an aid or an addiction?”

  • John

    You are making assumptions that can be misleading.

    Who is the judge of what is being used for “natural” or “organic” or that which is being used in “competition”? Lets not be naive to think the reason we use technology or visuals is to grasp attention from a culture that is embedded in it.

    What is the bottomline here? Isn’t it that Christ is preached? Is it not that people are turning to Him?

    Your got in a vortex of your own argument bro. – I will say “give up, give up now before it’s too late!!!”

  • you have to be the judge of your own motives and actions… and just because christ is being preached it doesn’t mean it is being done truthfully or with good motives… that’s beside the point… christ is preached even in the most ornate and culturally bound institutions, but that doesn’t excuse our motives or methods… amen?

  • Fred

    Is Christ preached in an UNDERSTANDABLE way? If I go to China to preach to the Chinese, do I first set up a school to learn English so that the Chinese can listen to me in English and read an English Bible?

    No. I learn Cantonese…or Mandarin…or whatever, so I speak their language. I do my best to translate the Bible as accurately as possible into their language.

    It’s the same in our culture. I use the language of the culture rather than the language of the church. The language of the culture where I live is not just verbal–it is musical, visual, practical, relational. Does God’s message translate into that? I think so.

    Do we leave people with just cultural language? No, cultural language is just a tool to bring people to the place where they recognize spiritual reality. They come to that spiritual place where the language of culture becomes irrelevant.

    But if we LIVE in that place where the language of culture is irrelevant then we have given up on the people around us.

    God forbid we strive to compete with others on how well we translate God’s message into the language of culture. But God also forbid that we forget to speak God’s message in a way that people around us understand.

  • John

    Amen Fred!