Point. Counter Point

He said that we have to reclaim art for Christ. The first atribute we see of God is His creativity. He is an artist. Jesus was a master story teller. And Christianity has abandoned this field almost completely. This church often opens their services with secular music. By doing this, people will start associating music they hear on the radio with Church and Christ, and their thoughts will be there. And what is “secular” anyway. Paul quoted the pagan philosophers and poets of his time. “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” is set to the tune of a popular tavern song. He encouraged worship leaders to go to as many rock concerts as possible to see what turns those people on, then do it in church. Meet people where they are.

Why is church suppose to be entertaining? Christianity isn’t supposed to be fun and games. Jesus didn’t organize carnivals and parties. People were drawn to Him because He looked them in the eye and loved on them. At some point, the lights stop flashing and people have to love Jesus because of who He is and what He has done, not because it’s “cool.” In fact, being a Christian inevitably sets people apart. What if we spent less money on conference designed to show us how to be cool and more money on taking care of the poor?

Go.

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17 Responses to Point. Counter Point

  1. Papa Robbie says:

    There are certain practices and concepts within Christianity itself that were “adopted” from pagan rituals, so the religion as a whole has been doing things to be “cool” for a few centuries.

  2. Smith says:

    I’ll start. I support paragraph 2. Well said.

  3. aly says:

    hmmm…interesting.

    i think that it is a very delicate balance.
    the church needs to be culturally relevant in some ways, but yet not succumb to the moral norms that the current culture values. yes, we need to step outside our “christian ghetto” (a phrase stolen from matt orth) to show people that christians are real people who can impact the music industry, or film industry, or banking industry, or whatever…by doing something well.

    however, when culturally relevant “entertainment” overshadows the real point….Jesus…then thats where we get lost. I think if the world saw Christians living in today’s society…and doing these “modern” things (ie contemporary music, etc.) for the Glory of God …and perhaps using their money to really change the world’s problems and actually love very unlove-able people by serving them and showing them Christ….then we might start to get their attention.
    good example? bono. rock star, poverty fighter, and speaker at the presidential prayer meeting….very interesting indeed.

  4. Jon Lowder says:

    to be fair to the person being quoted…What you have said, is not exactly what was said. It also neglects to note its context or heart with which it was said.

    I was one of those that spent my money on a “conference designed to show us how to be cool”. When asked what advice he would give to worship leaders today, this particular worship leader said first, read the bible like its your job because you must be sure that what you sing, teach, say, is sound. He said to make sure your public worship doesn’t outweigh your private worship. He also said he often advises people to go to as many rock concerts as possible because the artists you see have mastered their craft all for the love of fame and money. He said how much more should we with the greatest message master our craft. “besides, it’s just fun…”

    Paul had this to say about engaging our culture in 1 Cor….

    “19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

    You will have to trust me when I say that it is impossible for you to know, by a simple synopsis of a few speakers words, the heart behind this church. If you can’t tell, I hold this church and these leaders very close to my heart because it was in part through their efforts to be culturally relevant that I was exposed to the truth of Jesus Christ.

    I used to question their motives for being so “cool”. I have come to the conclusion that I will have issue with the methods they use when they stop preaching the gospel as unashamedly as they do. In fact, it seems like the “cooler” they get, they more loudly they seem to shout the gospel.

    I also learned alot about questioning other peoples worship through a passage shown to me in 2 Samuel…

    16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. 17 And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 18 And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts 19 and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, [5] and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house.

    20 And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will make merry before the Lord. 22 I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

    Michal was punished for her rebuffing of David and his act of praise. It teaches me to be careful not to criticize someone’s praise when it doesn’t fit into what I might deem appropriate.

  5. Shawn says:

    Since you asked me about my thoughts the other night, I will attempt to be helpful…

    The heart behind what was communicated is that PEOPLE matter to God and they should matter to us. God is not concerned about style or formatting! So many churches have created an environment with too many barriers to those who don’t know the rules of how that church does things. When do I stand? When do I sit? Which way do I cross first? Is that gibberish or is that guy’s tongue just having spasms? You don’t sing the third stanza, why did they write it then? How is this related to my world? Everything preaches. All these aspects of church are communicated before a pastor even begins a sermon.

    I know a couple that recently drove in the parking lot of a church and then turned around because they were not dressed for a wedding or funeral like everyone they saw. They weren’t even comfortable getting out of the car because they were dressed normally (or some would say more appropriate for a “contemporary” service). It really doesn’t matter what the pastor said that day for them.

    The point is, if you expect for unchurched people to attend, then you should seek to connect with their world and relate to them in the process. This is the approach that Paul takes in addressing the men of Athens at the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-31). He comments on how religious they are and what he has noticed as he has explored their culture and looked around their places of worship in the city (if you don’t think a rock concert or a sporting event is a place of worship, then that is another conversation). But upon observing their worship and reading their writers, he is able to present the gospel in a way that is couched in the familiar to them. He takes pagan poetry and redeems it. They will never read or recite those words again without thinking about how Paul understood and explained their meaning. They will never pass by that altar again without reflecting on the claims Paul made about it. That is what some churches are trying to do with our most influential poets (artists whose lyrics are heard everyday on the radio and whose messages are preached in theaters and on television). For example:

    “The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story! But now, the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do.” (Gladiator)

    “I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” (Fight Club)

    It is not about being cool, it is about being cultured enough to be able to communicate in the language of those who don’t follow Jesus. The goal is not to be entertaining, but to be engaging so that the people and the culture can meet Jesus and hear what he has to say about the world in which we live. I will try to address the part regarding the poor later as this is too long for the blogdom as it is.

  6. Shawn says:

    And another thing, why don’t you consider writing for “Skirt!” or some other local publications from time to time? It can provide you with some extra $$$ and I think your whit and observations about life would be welcomed and enjoyed for many in Charleston. You might even get people to think about their lives and what they’re doing!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Papa-miss you. love you. must have coffee soon. in response, Christianity is the only religion that is relevant in ANY culture. so it’s not strange that it would easily incorporate the culture into its practices. i concede that people have raped and desimated other cultures in the name of Jesus. evil.

    John/Shawn – I wasn’t trying to judge any church or person. I was just taking parts of what I was told and other things i have heard people say and just throwing the argument out there. Seriously, i only hear AMAZING things about NS and the worship leader that i wasn’t even trying to quote. Promise! I got nothing but love. I just think the arguments are interesting. It’s a tough balance to strike. that’s all. 🙂

  8. cheryl says:

    i head someone say this weekend, “church is for Christians. It’s not for the unsaved. That is why we go out and serve. to take Jesus to them.”

    I don’t agree with this. But i think it may be more common than I ever knew.

  9. amy says:

    well said to both jon and shawn.

  10. Papa Robbie says:

    Peep this poem & let me know what you think. It’s also posted on my blog. It’s called “Hell”.

  11. Jared says:

    Bono- singer of trite songs and creator of catchy phrase “Jesus, Muhamed, Jew, all true” which he allegedly chants at his concerts.

    And Cheryl, ‘church’ isn’t for Christians. Church IS Christians. We are the body, anyone else in the building is just an observer. Others are welcome to visit our community. But the job of the church/elders is to ‘perfect the saints and edify the body’.
    Unfortunately Protestants changed the focus of public worship (“church”) away from the Eucharist/Christ sacrifice and placed it on the ‘message’. If the focus is on the Lord’s Table then it’s obvious that non-believer’s cannot be full participants in what is going on.
    Every ‘seeker friendly’ church I have ever visited has been ‘Christianity Lite’…

  12. cheryl says:

    thus declareth The Jared.

  13. Sam says:

    “The shackles are undone
    The bullets quit the gun
    The heat that’s in the sun
    Will keep us when there’s none
    The rule has been disproved
    The stone it has been moved
    The grave is now a groove
    All debts are removed

    Oh can’t you see what love has done?”
    -U2, ‘Window in the Skies’

    trite indeed.

  14. cheryl says:

    Remind me to write a blog about how criticizing someone’s music isn’t the same thing as saying their choice of beer is lame. I’ll say something about how music can touch people so deeply that it becomes a part of who they are and how they see the world. Criticizing someone’s music is like saying something bad about their church or their little brother. It insults the person themselves. I’ll have to work on it a little, but I will post something like that.

  15. Sam says:

    AMEN SISTER!!

  16. Jon Lowder says:

    I would just like to say, that if I never hear the term “seeker friendly” in regards to a church again…that would be just fine by me. I mean, who doesn’t want their local body to be friendly to someone who is earnestly seeking truth…

    I think it all depends on what you define as ‘church’. The church is the body of Christ, those in the fold. Obviously, many people say church and mean an hour on sunday morning when we sing and here some guy talk about the bible. The leadership’s call to edify the body doesnt start and stop on sunday morning.

    It seems to me that the body of Christ coming together for public worship and teaching of the word is an awesome witness to a ‘seeker’. I feel like it is fully acceptable to make that time culturally relevant and engaging for the non-believer and the believer alike. In fact I consider it a calling. The truth is that we all need the gospel. The same gospel that saves me is exactly what calls me to a deeper walk.

    13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. (matt 23)

    I won’t shut the door in any seekers face.

    Just to close out my end of this dialog…I am personally so excited to move forward with the vision that God has given our church. Our new slogan might just be “every person matters to God, so every person matters to us.” The means we will take the gospel to every hurting person we can, both in word and in deed. I believe that God has providentially brought this group of people together to be used to change the face of our city.

    Amen

  17. cheryl says:

    well sais, jon. (and sorry about putting an H in your name ealier…) We have great leaders at Santuary! Love the vision. So proud to be a part of a church that wants to love on the hurting!

    and I 2nd the part about everyone needing the Gospel, even those of us walking with the Lord. dependancy.

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