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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Is Christianity relevant?

The relevance of Christianity and the gospel has been a dominant theme in my thinking lately. So when several quotes in my reading and podcasting (or should that be podcast-listening?) addressed the issue, I couldn't put them down. I think it all started while reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, but since I can't quote the whole book here, I'll just endorse the book as a case study in the relevance of Christianity.

However, there were some quotes I did want to (and have the room to) share with you:

"Entertainment has destroyed our ability to think and prioritize. We lack discernment. We care about irrelevant things and ignore what is actually important. Unfortunately, the Christian community often responds by heaping 'Christian' noise on the rest of the noise. Attempting to be 'relevant' to students, we instead contribute to their appetites for distraction. Entertainment has made us silly and Christian entertainment has made our students silly Christians."
- John Stonestreet, Summit Ministries

"Under pretexts such as 'contextualization,' 'missional living,' and 'relevance,' an unbridled willingness to accommodate Divine truth to human preferences is now going on virtually unchecked in the modern and postmodern evangelical movement. Multitudes of Christians today think it is their prerogative to mold and shape everything—worship, music, and even the Word of God itself—to the tastes and fashions of the world."
- Phil Johnson, blogger with Pyromaniacs

"You are at your most relevant when you are at your most loving."
- Paul Matthies, guest preacher at The Village Church

I can spend so much time trying to watch the right movies, read the right books, and learn up on all the right topics that I neglect the "greater things". It's not that I'm avoiding working on becoming a more loving person. But if I am investing more time and effort to bolster my relevance than I am to build of my love for others, I will constantly be falling flat on my face.

Now, in reflection, my motives were good enough. I wanted to show the beauty, hope, and relevance of the gospel of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ. But if I only feel relevant while talking movies, books, and ideas that everyone else is talking about, I am deeply missing something. If I think that being able to talk about Lost, The Shield, American Idol, The Shack, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and all the other stuff gives me an edge over simply being loving (and growing out of that: gracious, winsome, humble, teachable, honest), then I have bought into a sad lie. If I understand all mysteries and all knowledge but have no love, I am nothing.

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