As I’m thinking about applying to seminaries…as I’m thinking that I may be a “pastor” one day…I sure am a procrastinator when it comes to putting together a sermon/meditation/message. I’ve been working on it today, and put together a brief outline of some more thoughts [see below]. However, it always seems that when I’m the busiest, I decide to do things that do not need to be done at all.
Above is an idea for our church’s website that I just created. The church thinks that I should just make the site for them (with no additional pay…ha…those of you who have put together a website before…that’s funny, isn’t it?) – which I don’t have time to do – so for now, I can just play around [I love the shot of the Idaho desert-road…].
Here are some totally stream-of-consciouness-thoughts related to my sermon:
Intro: [Matrix pill clip there is something wrong with the world…]
We know the world is messed up. We know that there is much wrong with the world. Many of us just inherently have this feeling that there is something not right with the world, as Morpheus said to Neo in this clip.
We are living in a fear of the world. We are living with the mentality that the world is a sinking ship and that we need to just save as many people as we can before the ship goes down.
What have we created? We have taken Jesus’ words, “I am not of the world” and taken them to the extreme, using them for the basis of our creating a very unbiblical Christian subculture. We have this idea that since Jesus said he wasn’t of the world, therefore, we cannot be of the world, and that means we need to get out of the world; to separate ourselves from the world. We have felt the need to create ‘safe alternatives’ to the world’s evil activities. We have felt the need to simply create Christian versions of that which is “secular.” We have a Christian version of basically everything: from food products, to toys, books, music, movies (which are pretty pathetic), schools, businesses, work-out gyms, diets. In doing this we have basically created a Christian ghetto. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie The Pianist, but in the movie, the main character, the ‘pianist’ Spielman and his family have to move into a Jewish ghetto, against their will. There is a huge wall built all around the ghetto, with barbed wire and that is what is used to keep them from getting out. However, I find it pretty ironic that we, as Christians, have built our own Christian ghetto and moved in and many of us are living happily in our Christian ghetto. We’ve even put barbed wire on the top of the wall to keep anything from getting in. And there we are – in our Christian ghettos – where are the sick? Where are the pagans? Well, they can’t relate to our Christian subculture. In fact, many non-Christians find it frustrating.
By separating ourselves from society/culture – things that aren’t inherently Christian – we’ve lost many of the hooks that we can use to help even just talk about spirituality with other people. How many of you knew what movie that was, that I showed the clip from? Matrix: one of the best movie trilogies (along with LOTR) that we have today that can help give us some sweet hooks to relate to postmoderns in today’s culture.
We all know that Jesus hung out with the sinners of his day, and we say that we need to do it; but is the way we are actually living our lives putting us in contact with people who are sick and need a doctor? Too Christian Too Pagan is a book that talks about some of these issues. There is a story of a guy who talks about his relationship with his non-Christian friends and he says that if he knew that they’d never accept Christ he would stop being their friends.
Okay, so I already know the question that many of you are thinking right now. What in the heck is Adam talking about? Is he forgetting James? Is he forgetting that being a friend of the world means you are being an enemy of God? What about Romans 12, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind?” Are you just giving in to the secular world – and what about being holy? Being separated from the world? And this is where the idea of Paradox comes in – we can’t always get the easy answers we want – it’s not an either/or thing. Yes, we need to be separated from the sinful part of the world – the part that wants to take us away from God. But we need to be discerning enough to determine what that actually is – we need to be looking for the fingerprint of God in all things. Maybe there really shouldn’t even be a distinct separateness between the sacred/secular.