Sunday, August 31, 2008

Adam's Legacy: Remember Me...

Let no exegete of death
wax eloquent on my grave
Rhetoric masks rebellion
and redemption lies victim to

Nor admit the scavengers-
Who pluck the bones of character,
Image and Likeness are honorable
Remaining marks of the Creator.

Extremes are grievous errors
Respect remains in man, yet
No forgiveness can follow pride.

Only Truth can tell my story,
And the story of those who follow.
Remember me in accordance with the Truth.

Bait and Switch Church Marketing

The contemporary church, embracing marketing, now has all the integrity of a used car salesman. We poll the public to see what its felt needs are and then strive to meet them, rarely reminding ourselves that what the public desperately needs is Jesus. When we remember, we try to slip in the Four Spiritual Laws at the end of our laser light show.
Here's the problem: When we do that, we are guilty of a most deplorable "bait and switch." There are several consequences: The one who is converted to Christ because of the light show will remain faithful only in so long as he is entertained. This entertainment will slowly lose its attraction and so the puffery of a laser light show must become grander still. Worse, the church must compete with the titillating entertainment industry where it will always run behind as a cheap imitator.
We soothe our consciences by counting heads at our laser light show and the number of decisions made at the end (often understood as the price of admittance). Those who are genuinely converted are left to wonder why they had to be drawn to Christ by such a show of lights. Is there something about Jesus that is being hidden in the fine print of their new contract? As an evangelism scheme, the laserlight show has dubious merit. As a way to conduct worship, it smells of sulfur.
Christians have come to expect the laser light show, and like true consumers, they will go to where they can get the best show and the best deal. They know nothing of corporate prayer, accountability, mentoring, sacrifice, or spiritual growth. They worship enthusiastically when the laser light show is better than last year and complain when the church across the street is offering a better one. Worse, Christians want the best laserlight show they can afford for their children. What if the church cannot attract them? What if they head for college and abandon the faith of their fathers? Have we done all we can to reach them if we haven't had the best laser light show in town? This would all be ridiculous if I hadn't looked into the pleading eyes of parents willing to buy the equipment to restore their wayward child.
When they act like this, they betray themselves. They reveal in their complaints that they have never met Jesus. Not as Living Water, or Light of the World, or the Bread of Life. Not as Shepherd, Friend, Guide, or Judge. They have never felt His piercing gaze or seen Him in His glory. Their actions reveal them as strangers, for if they truly knew Him at all- the laser light show would be a colossal waste of time and money. Jesus Himself is far more attractive, far more beautiful than anything that can light up the night sky. Give the consumer Jesus first and while you may never be able to convince him of the virtures of a laser light show, you will have his attention when you talk about his Savior.