A Little Understanding – Stuck in the Entryway
If something affects the individual Christ follower, it almost always affects the collective of Christ followers. The blur of needs, wants and extras have made it difficult for churches to encourage maturing. With the world’s way of operating just outside the entryway and Satan selling his snake oil fixes, the church has become more focused on talents and hard work than on God and His call.
We do what we know and we work at it the hardest, trying to make God happy. We may not realise it but the world has seen the church this way for a long time. Those outside the entryway think the church is a bunch of people trying their hardest to do stuff that no one truly understands to make an angry God happy.
In an attempt to bring Christianity back to its New Testament beginnings…
…to change the perception the world has of this religion, a rebranding of sorts has taken place…What was once simple had become confusing. Those who wanted to know more about this Christianity thing found themselves lost in a religion that was tough to understand. Jesus never presented the good news this way; He used simple stories to present the truth. The church realized it was time to do the same. A new phrase was born to describe this movement – “Seeker Sensitive”.
All movements, religious or not, have their intentions and undesired consequences.
It’s like those ads on TV for pharmaceutical products…
“This product may not be right for everyone, consult your doctor before using it”. How stupid do they think we are? Of course it’s not right for everyone because not everyone has the same disease and of course you need to consult your doctor before using it, how else are you going to get the prescription?
It only goes downhill from there. First there is the annoying side effects; runny nose, hot flashes and so on.
Then there is the side effects that are identical to the problem you are trying to treat with this drug.
After that there is a long list of things that sound worse than the issue the medicine is supposed to solve.
Finally there’s the leakage issues, incontinence and diarrhea (sorry), and the obligatory; “may cause death”.
The desire to treat illness produces products that can both improve life, the intended effect, and cause serious issues, the undesired consequence.
The “seeker sensitive” movement…
…was based on the idea that the presentation of the gospel, including the words used and the environment they are used in, did not resonate with the unchurched people of twentieth and twenty-first century. The two thousand year old message was never at issue but as history has proven, the way to promote understanding often needs a new approach.
Jesus used parables that referenced cultural practices of the day. Paul used the human body as an easy to understand metaphor for the church and the use of spiritual gifts. The Bible has been translated into the common language of the people and then retranslated into more modern versions of the same language. Being sensitive to the seeker has always been a necessity for the collective of Christ followers and every individual Christ follower.
The unintended, at least I hope it was unintended, undesired consequence…
…was the labeling of those who are not Christ followers as “seekers” while those committed to following Him appear to have nothing more to seek. The entryway becomes the place that people who are no longer seeking, work hard to use their talents to convince people who are seeking, that what they really need is to come into the one room floor plan of salvation [see: A Little Understanding – The Floor Plan (part 3)]. Seekers need to get away from the world and punch their “get out of hell free ticket” so they can resolve their undesirable status of “seeker”.
Let’s back up a bit.
I understand the idea behind the “seeker sensitive” movement. There is no question that Christianity has had and probably still has problems connecting with those who don’t identify themselves as Christians but want to know more about Christianity. That being said, seeking should not be limited to just this group. Those who want to know more about following Christ and those who call themselves Christ followers require those who are ahead of them in the maturing process to be sensitive to their seeking – their need for more of God.
The snake oil salesman…
…has convinced the childish entryway dweller that they have discovered all they can, that there is no more to God. All they can do is use their talents and their hard work to reach those in the world who are seeking. The name may be “seeker sensitive” but the undesired consequence is that many have become “seeker driven” when it comes to others but lack any desire to seek when it comes to themselves…
The danger is, without seeking more of God, how can you…
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage— with great patience and careful instruction.”…
It isn’t just individual Christ followers who can fall prey to the snake oil salesman. The collective of Christ followers can become so caught up in reaching the seekers who are not followers of Christ, that they forget they are also a collective of seekers. Childish, immature faith is not limited to the individual but it can become the defining factor in the floor plan of any church.
…“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NIV)
Without seeking more of God, how will the individual or collective of individuals know what the difference is between “sound doctrine” and “what itching ears want to hear”? More of God is what we need, using our talents is what we want, hard work is a nice extra.
Stay tuned, part 5 of “A Little Understanding – The Floor Plan” will be posted next month
From time to time my blog will include abridged excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer until a publisher can be found. Maybe it’s because someone somewhere needs to read these words now.
For more posts from my book Blueprint find the heading “Categories” on the right side of this page and click on “Blueprint (my book)”