Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More on Christianity as Crisis Management

My last three posts have been closely related. I've been chatting about holiness. And I suppose "discipleship" (though I haven't actually used the word). I said that we need to understand the relationship between sin and the many crises, conflicts, and trials that we face.

I guess I started down this trail after hearing yet one more sermon about how we need to cry out to God in our times of need and distress. Not that I don't agree, mind you. But it's another example of crisis management Christianity--Jesus as some sort of ascetic Santa Claus/Superman figure. We cry out, he comes to our rescue. Is that New Testament Christianity?

These types of sermons are very "successful." Many people will come forward for prayer at the end of the service, and many will tell the pastor how wonderful it was, and that we need to hear more like that. But nothing, nothing, nothing will ever change.

Am I just being snarky and hyper-critical, as usual. No, I think it's that I'm sensing a lack, a missing ingredient. All these crises and distresses that so many of us so often need rescue from . . . it's not simply that the devil is "pulling out all the stops," as some would say. Have you noticed that in some Christian circles at least (the ones I'm most familiar with) there is more talk about Satan than sin, more about fallen angels than flesh with its inevitable (and intimate) corruptions. And yet, clearly, the world is enmeshed in sin, hopelessly tangled in it, and we are tangled in it ourselves. In fact, sin is resident in us, and right at home it seems. We are going to have to get a least as honest as Pogo, who said:
We have met the enemy, and he is us!
So here are some possible alternative sermon topics: why do I do the things I don't want to do? Who can save me from this body of death? What does cross-carrying mean? What does following Jesus look like, and why is it so hard? What is grace, and why do I need it any longer if I'm already saved? If I'm a new creation, how come I keep doing the same things I always did? Why do I keep building my house on sand instead of rock? What has the cross of Christ got to do with any of this?

That's a start.


Bill said...

Great post, Bob!

I used to read your blog every day, but somehow lost track of you.

I'm glad I stumbled across this post, though. Lord willing, I'll be returning often.

Spiritual Oasis Blog

Bob said...

Great to have you back, Bill. And it gives me a chance to get reacquainted with your fine blog!