Sunday Evening Ramblings…

Well, I’m on my way to bed but I haven’t posted something in a while, so I thought I’d toss up some links and some thoughts.  Here’s some things my readers might be interested in:

1.  Unbelievable – It’s a radio show from the UK that I listen to at work.  Justin Brierley hosts the show, and it basically is usually a Christian and a non-Christian interacting on a topic.  The topics are amazingly wide, and I recommend the most recent program where Brian McLaren interacted with James White on the topic of the emergent church.  Definitely something I have been wanting to see happen for a while.  Here is the program link.

2. A Queer Thing Happened To AmericaDr. Michael Brown, one of the best Christian apologists tackling Judaism that I know of, has recently written an astounding (and huge) book on the change of the North American culture with regards to the issue of homosexuality.  If you buy one book this year, I’d say this should be it.

I could put up a few other minor things (i.e. the Al Mohler radio program or the recent William Lane Craig interaction with Sam Harris), but I’m sure only a select handful will care about that stuff…

…but on a different note, I went to another worship event in Vancouver this evening with my wife and had a very different experience than the last worship event I attended.  Last time, the “preacher” made me furious because he was basically a shallow guy who simply lied from the pulpit and mocked the Bible, but this time the “preacher” made me sad because he was a young and untrained guy, doing his best, who shouldn’t have been given a pulpit.

I know that sounds rude, but I was sitting in the back of the sanctuary crying because of how unhelpful the sermon was.  He clearly didn’t understand his passage and 60% of his sermon was stand up comedy.  He read Hebrews 12:1-4 and “preached” the metaphor (‘run the race”) without any explanation.  His outline was essentially:

1.  Life is a race (vs. 1c)

2.  We need to lay aside the weights that burden and the sin that entangles (vs. 1b)

3.  (He then started a new, seperate, 3 point outline)

3a. Jesus has shown the way (vs. 2a)

3b.  We need to look to Jesus (vs. 2b)

3c.  (He never really delivered his third point, but made a series of observations about various passages and ideas).

The audience was approximately 100 or so people, aged 16-24, and the speaker basically just read the scripture and never unpacked any of the metaphor.  He just read the sermon text, strung together a few unrelated verses, told a bunch of jokes and funny stories,  and then exhorted the listeners to do what the sermon text said (without any explanation/application).

He commanded everyone to do things like “throw off sin” (Heb. 12:1), but he never unpacked the metaphor at all.  He bascially commanded everyone to “start taking sin seriously” and never explained  what that meant or looked like, or how to do it!  I wanted to yell out “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?” but I didn’t.

I sat in the back, looking around the room at all the expectant and blank faces who were agreeing with the ethos of his sentiments, and started crying.  All those kids came to that church wanting something from God; some guidance, some instruction, some encouragement, some something.  All they got was a metaphor with no referent that boiled down to a series of other metaphors, told by a guy who probably couldn’t unpack the metaphor if his life depended on it.

I wasn’t angry at the guy preaching, but I was sad for those people who were listening.  They were wanting the steak of God’s word and got the tripe of confusing metaphor.

I am amazed at how many young people stick around at church for as long as they do, especially given the steady diet of pigswill that’s tossed at them because High School and C&C ministry is basically second tier ministry; less important than the adult ministries (and childrens ministries that bring the adults in…who bring the money in…).

I am not suprised that a majority of my 30-something friends have either left church, are going to “experimental” churches (i.e. emergent churches that meet in a movie theater/bar/greenhouse/whatever and basically try to do everything different with hopes that something will work), or are now returning to church after years away (usually because they have small children and they want their children to learn morality from someone).  Far too many of my 30-something friends have a whole lot of Churchianity without much Christianity.

I wonder where they picked that up?

Longing for the day,

Lyndon “The Armchair Youth Ministry Theologian” Unger

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