Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sometimes I Wonder...

When a church obseves Palm Sunday and Easter while having nothing to do with Lent or Good Friday or anything else about "the church year" (because these things are too "liturgical" and therefore "religious" and therefore "doctrinal" and therefore "formal" and therefore "not from the heart") it makes no sense to me at all. It makes Easter seem like some inexplicable nod to a cultural tradition that comes around each year "out of the blue." It makes Easter seem, in other words, more like a tradition (and only a tradition) than ever it did in my liturgical days.

My church is jumping through a lot of hoops this Easter. We're turning ourselves into a cafe, don't you know? Baristas and all. Moving out all the chairs, bringing in tables. The message will be brief (brevity is definitely one of those "hoops"), a video, and "dialed down" acoustic worship. Don't want to scare anyone off, you see.

All year we as a church are caught up in "knowing" all sorts of other things than simply "Christ and him crucified," and then, once a year, there's this stylized nod in the direction of distant Calvary (it's really not so gruesome from a distance . . . in fact it's kind of a nice picture, isn't it?). Let's face it, this is simply the truth about the church.

I don't want to pre-judge any of this "cafe" business. I'll be helping move the chairs today, in fact. I'm all for "thinking outside the box," after all. I just think it's funny how we "Spirit-filled" Evangelicals consider ourselves so authentic and "from the heart," when actually we're just playing church games like so many others. We want to attract unbelievers, but I know that I myself, in my days as an unbeliever, would have been wryly amused by all this "show", then I'd have hurried off to a real cafe where I could sip my latte in peace.

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