Tag Archives: Good News

Evangelicals and Lack of Tradition

This year, the Christian calendar begins November 28th. It is the Season of Advent.

Advent House

Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and many mainline churches observe the Christian calendar. The topic for each Sunday is predictable. Scripture from the lectionary guides the themes, liturgy, sermon, art, and music of that particular time. Traditional? Yes. Useful? I do believe it is.

It provides congruence. Most Evangelical pastors are accustomed to, more or less, speaking about what’s been on their mind recently. This is carefully referred to as “what God has laid on their heart.” (And you’d be a fool to question the movement of the Spirit, right? Maybe a fool, or maybe a blasphemer…if you spoke your thoughts.)

In general, it’s not a terrible thing to follow the leading of the Spirit. (If that is truly what is happening. But, that’s another post entirely!) But does this unformatted contemporary formula help cinch together the Story of God, the Christian Story, and bring a cohesive message of the Gospel, in history and depth, in a palpably connected way? Or, is the shoot from the Holy hip often more of a “bang here and a bit there,” approach?


I’d like to hear your take on it?

I tend to think a healthy mix of several Christian traditions could be very spiritually useful in contemporary times. We are already malnourished on a sound bite way of life as is it.

Chaplain Mike, a one-time Southern Baptist preacher, who blogs at imonk does the whole topic much more justice than I can. I strongly encourage you to link to his specific post with the link at the bottom, if you’d like.

Witness this poignant quote found there:
(It really hit home with regards to my Christian church experiences.)

“Part of the problem is that evangelicals really don’t have traditions,” said Carter. “Instead, we have these fads that are built on the strengths and talents of individual leaders. … But a real tradition can be handed on to anyone, from generation to generation. It’s hard to hand these evangelical fads down like that, so it seems like we’re always starting over. It’s hard to build something that really lasts.”– Joe Carter as quoted by Terry Mattingly

My main resource for this post and a really helpful article is here at imonk. It is most helpful for Evangelicals, and I challenge you to consider a deeper appreciation for the Christian calendar year, starting this Sunday, November 28th.

Thank you for reading.

Your Stomach’s Personal Savior- Evangelism Follies

Today started out rough. It involved seeing my son’s breakfast, before and after it was consumed. The poor boy’s tummy was upset. Sometimes I forget about using this common remedy I have in my refrigerator. I keep it for times such as these. Sure there’s Pepto Bismol, Tums, Gravol people use as over-the-counter medicinal aids, but I have found nothing works better than a few ounces of flat ginger ale. It worked wonderfully this time too. It’s not magical, it’s the ginger.

Now, suppose I wanted everyone to save money, and time, and feel better sooner, like my family and I have, but instead of telling them my experience, and the reasoning behind the remedy, I would first try a tactic to soften them up. Have you noticed this sort of thing used for Christianity?

Maybe asking them reasonable questions would get them to think about the whole thing themselves, and it wouldn’t seem like I was actually trying to shove my beliefs down their throat. I won’t but let’s suppose I would say to them,

“As a human, you would agree that all humans have tummy aches at some point in their lives, right?

The unsuspecting, pre-convert would then reply something like, “Um, what? Um, yeah, I guess, sure.”

Then I could say, “Did you know that you will 100% lose more money, and be more sick without using ginger ale to fix your tummy aches and vomiting?”

They maybe would say, “Um, no. But I’ve never used ginger ale before, and I’m not sure it’ll work for me.”

Maybe then I would say, “Since you haven’t tried it, you really can’t say that. Would you rather risk it, and throw up for days?”

And they might respond, “Well, I’m just not sure if I can see it  your way.”

And I would say, “Listen, you have to take that first step of faith. You have to say you’ll commit to ginger ale. You have to trust it will help you. And then you have to take the steps to implement that into your life. You have to be prepared, because you never know when violent illness will spring on you. It usually comes like a thief in the night! Sounds scary doesn’t it?”

They might say, “Well, I don’t want that to happen.”

(me) “Well, it might happen that way. In fact, it’s an absolute certainty, you will, one day, get very ill.”

(them) “Oh. I never thought of it like that.”

(me) “It is an urgent matter. Would you like to commit, right now, to accepting ginger ale as your stomach’s own personal savior?

I don’t evangelize any good news this way.

I just tell the truth, and share my experience. I don’t try a tactic, trick of technique to corner my prey, I mean, listener. I don’t simply because, anything I really love and enjoy I talk about anyway. It’s not fake. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s not a way to get people to do what I do, or believe what I believe. What they wish to believe is in their control. Besides, I personally can’t stand being manipulated, so why would I subject anyone to that?


What witnessing or evangelism follies have you seen or had tried on you?

Vocation

The Spirit of Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me

to preach the good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners,

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to release the oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

-Lk. 4:18-19

Why does embrace mean so much?

When I first saw this video below, I cried.

It showed me the power of offering connection and love. The largely untapped, healing power of embrace–which connotes acceptance–seems to be too absent today. The distance between us grows, even though technology has supposedly drawn us together.

Luke 15:20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

If you would, please response here, and explain your feelings about embrace, or any reactions you had to this post, the video, or the artwork. Thank you.

An idea for plumbing deeper:

Your challenge-

Bring these pictures to mind the next time you pray, and speak about them to God, honestly. If you have fears, joy, sorrow, gratitude, or other feelings, express them, using this theme as a vehicle to interact in your next intimate time with the Lover of your soul.