Friday, August 7, 2009

The Church Germ

In a recent post titled Being A Christian Culture Snob on Stuff Christians Like, blogger Jon Acuff sheds light on the problem of how Christian relevance can become Christian snobbery. With his trademark satirical humor, Acuff does great job of helping us see how easy it is to fall into this trap. I'm not much of a history buff but I'll bet you that if we explored the history of Christianity, we'd find that previous generations have experienced similar intolerance and disrespect for the practices of their predecessors. I confess that I've been guilty of being a Christian culture snob myself when, as an example, I've referred to a traditional worship service as "Big Church" because I choose to worship in a contemporary worship environment. It's commendable to search for new and relevant ways to communicate the eternal truth of Christianity but it's easy to slip into the trap of snobbery when you think that you've achieved that.

I know a pastor who leads what would commonly be called a "seeker-friendly" church. I commend his evangelistic spirit in focusing his efforts on reaching those who might be uncomfortable in a traditional church environment. I respect his focus and consistency. I know him to be a gifted speaker and know that there are people who have come into a meaningful relationship with Christ through the ministry of that church. I cringe, however, when I've heard him eschew some traditional practices of the church as having "the church germ". That, I think, is what Jon Acuff is referring to when he describes being a Christian culture snob. When you and I express disdain for the traditions of our faith in the name of being culturally relevant, I think we send a confusing message to the people that we are actually trying to reach. What do you think it says to the seeker when we diminish or discredit the history that was part of bringing the Gospel to us or a communication tool that is effective in reaching some, but not all segments of our culture? When I mockingly describe traditional worship as "Big Church", I minimize the value of that to anyone who finds traditional worship especially meaningful. If the truth of Christianity is eternal (and I know that it is), then must we not show respect for the past as well as the present and for the diversity of how that truth is communicated?

How can you and I communicate to non-Believers in a relevant fashion without becoming a Christian Culture Snob?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.