18 July 2005

Wanted: More Jesus

Recently I've made a concerted effort to keep from ranting when something raises my ire. However, as Solomon reminds us, there's a time and place for everything. Buckle up. Now is that time.

Every generation has it's shortcomings. Arguably, one of my generation's is the tendency to point out the shortcomings of older generations and thus refuse any of their wisdom. One place we see this most contemporarily is in the church. Let's take a poll here. Anyone know or happen to be a young adult who has left the church because they didn't feel the church could handle their struggles or understand their 'idiom", so to speak? Okay, how about this: raise your hand if the following response is familiar:

Q: So, you're like, pretty religious?
A: Well, I would use the term 'spiritual' instead of 'religious'.

I should see all of your hands up. Heck, I've said this before.

What we see in that last comment, whether we like it or not, is a Christian pointing to something other than the cross. In this case, Christians are starting to make a case for themselves in order to appear more marketable and friendly to a world without Jesus. Maybe it started out as a good intention, the fallout here has not been about Christ. It's been about us. We want to resonate with pop culture too! It becomes popular to give up on meeting with a community of believers because we begin believing they aren't meeting all of our needs. In short, we're a generation focused on individual needs and images.

Need a solid example? Take the most recent issue of RELEVANT magazine, wherein the ONLY article mentioning Jesus Christ in any conspicous manner (Ironically titled "O Jesus, Who Art Thou?") lists all the personalities that culture has assigned to Jesus over the years but offers nothing, NOTHING to draw readers nearer to the true heart of Christ. This article might as well be in Time magazine. What's biblical here?

Just a quick glance at the RELEVANT magazine website offers nothing to set it apart from the rest of pop culture, or as RELEVANT publishers might call it, "progressive culture". They're selling t-shirts, they're flashing newsbriefs, they're reviewing releases of the most popular bands. Now, that's fine, that's all fine, unless "they're" a magazine laying claim to offering insight about the Almighty and Eternal God, (and they are) in which case they're just wasting their time marketing God when normal people everywhere need to hear about Jesus' sacrifice and what it means.

Sure, read that article about God; you'll only get a run-down of how we [Christians] fail to uphold His commands. While this is true, what's fundamentally different here from other works-righteousness-based faiths? Nothing. Christ's death and resurrection are nowhere to be found.

Just about anything else; click on the link to our web-store...

Jesus doesn't fit anywhere in this economy. Christ died for us because in the depth of our sin, we can't reach, buy, or win audience with God. Spiritually, we're corpses. Just like a corpse, we can't change that, either. His death and resurrection alone make it possible to reconcile with the Lord. Of course, this leads us all onto a discussion of law and gospel. This is really a life-long discussion, but for a start you may want to check out a frequent ranter's outline of law and gospel here.