It’s May 4th. You know what that means, don’t you? Your feed is going to be full of Star Wars references, and possibly an Arrested Development one here and there, too.1
Jared’s starting something intriguing:
What follows will be the first of a two-part exploration of my primary thoughts on this question. In this installment, I want to outline some reasons why we may be seeing a systemic collapse of the attractional church movement before long. (Trigger warning:chickens.)
Maybe he’s not the fool. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s my eye sight. Is it possible that I’m conversing with the one who can draw water without a bucket? Since I’m the one who is broken, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to assume that I’ve got the answers to what I need. Maybe a bucket isn’t what I need, and I’m so focused on Jesus’ lack of a bucket that my eyes are blind to what I really need. Maybe he knows something that I don’t.
Imagine a single mom with one child who pours out her life to see her son have a chance at a better life. She works two jobs, scrimping and saving to keep him clothed and fed. She teaches him honesty, hard work, and charity. And when he comes of age, she scrapes together her meager savings and puts him through college.
He graduates, gets a great job, and never talks to her again.
Polarization has become weaponized. Nobody wants to hear from people they disagree with. If I don’t like your Facebook posts, I’ll unfriend you. If I don’t like your column, I’ll boycott the paper until they fire you. I want to hear from good people who think and talk and live like me. That’s polarization. And polarization meets weaponization because many in our culture are willing to use whatever they have, whatever they can leverage, to make this polarization work for them–whether money, friends, jobs, hobbies, even sports. There are lots and lots of folks willing to blow up their lives to make sure there’s no presence of the people and ideas they hate.
I keep coming across a “sticky” misconception that God (specifically, Jesus) changed the name of an important figure we now typically refer to as “Saint Paul.”
In a recent sermon, I heard: “Just like Saul the persecutor can become Paul the apostle, God is gracious to us.” On an exam, one of my brightest students wrote: “It is Saul, who is re-named as Paul, who is the primary messenger of the gospel.” A church member asked me, “Wait, you mean Jesus didn’t change Saul’s name to Paul on the Damascus Road?”
The problem is that such a view, however common, isn’t accurate. I hate to ruin the fun.
Still, we have reason to be concerned about biblical illiteracy. What’s more, we have reason to be concerned about literacy in general in a digital age. Another survey shows that 42 percent of graduates haven’t read a book since college, and 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year. So, many Americans aren’t reading the Bible because many Americans don’t read.
A favorite from the archives:
Think about the people we listen to via podcasts and the blogs we frequent. Consider the Twitter feeds we follow and the books collecting dust on our shelves. Sadly, I suspect there are many names included there whose conduct would line up far more with what Paul describes than with that of an actual minister of the Word. People who take advantage and make slaves of us. People who put on airs—who have the appearance of godliness, but none of its power. Fakers, maligners of God’s word, if not in their words, then certainly in their conduct.
And what does Paul do here? He lovingly confronts the Corinthians with the deception. He is asking them, “Why do you put up with this evil? Why do you allow it to be done to you? Why do you welcome with open arms what ought to be purged from among you?”
- Happy Cinco de Quatro, everybody! ↵