Thursday, September 11, 2008

listen to the sound

If you’re a reader of my blog at all, you’ll know that one of my soap box topics is the church’s need to listen to rather than protest the world’s resistance to the church and God. You’ll know that I believe the world’s resistance to God to be largely related to the actions of the church. And you’ll know that I believe the best form of action to be to listen to what they have to say, see if there’s any truth in it, and then act accordingly. In my opinion, there often is a lot of truth to it. Consider the following lyrics from a Marilyn Manson song;

The beautiful people, the beautiful people
It’s all relative to the size of your steeple
You can’t see the forest for the trees
You can’t smell your own sh** on your knees


When this came out many in the church reacted. For some reason they felt they had a right to be angry. I never quite understand this. What we should have done was listen. From a practical standpoint, if the church’s reaction had been to ask Marilyn why he felt that way, it would have all been over. Can you imagine? If the church’s leaders had said to the media something along the lines of, “We’re heartbroken that Marilyn feels this way”, and left it at that, it would have been over. I mean, do you think Manson would have kept writing songs about how much he hates the church? No way! There’d be no controversy in that. Instead, our actions have helped to sell millions of Marilyn Manson albums. That’s how controversy works. But more importantly, and from a spiritual perspective, it was a very ignorant and Peter like reaction. Peter also believed that it was his job to defend Jesus. What a ridiculous notion. Peter was going to defend the Son of God. What’s mind blowing to me is that the same people who react this way to a lost world, never manage to connect the dots when a Muslim does the same thing concerning cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Both are wrong. Both are arrogant. And both are ignorant, in my opinion. But more importantly, both miss a huge opportunity to change the perception of the world around them. And if we change the world’s perception of the church, then we make great strides in changing the world’s perception of God. After all, and for many people, their perception of God is tied to their perception of the church. And that’s the biggest problem.

Anyway, I didn’t sign on to talk about Marilyn Manson this morning, I signed on to share a few lyrics from Oasis’ latest single. I’ve become a big fan of this band, despite their rock star attitudes and the infighting they are known for. They make great classic rock and, more than any other musical discovery I’ve made since arriving in the UK, they’ve provided me with a wealth of back catalogued music. Great music. I have no idea why they’re not more popular in the States.

Their latest single is called Falling Down and includes the following lyrics;

A dying scream
It makes no sound
Calling out to all that I've ever known
Here am, lost and found
Calling out to all

We live a dying dream
If you know what I mean
All that I've ever known
It's all that I've ever known

Catch the wind that breaks the butterfly
I cried the rain that fills the ocean wide
I tried to talk with God to no avail
Calling my name from out of nowhere
I said "If you won't save me, please don't waste my time"

Listen.

The world is constantly sharing its deep desire for communion with God. Put down your picket signs and listen to the sound of the world calling out and asking God if He’s really there.

John Wesley believed in a doctrine he called “Means of Grace”. The Means of Grace are the ways in which God pours out grace on mankind. Wesley believed there were two; Jesus’ death and resurrection, and what he called “acts of piety”. “Acts of piety” were any way in which a believer actively loved and served someone else. Through these acts of piety, John Wesley believed that God’s grace was, quite literally, poured out on mankind. Mind you, neither John Wesley nor I am suggesting a salvation by works. What he was suggesting, however, is that if mankind is to physically see God’s grace in the present day, then it is up to believers to show it. That is our job and that is God’s plan until His first means of grace, Christ, returns.

It’s a heart warming doctrine but also a heart breaking one because, if it is true, it puts an awful lot of responsibility into the hands of a church that, in the last several decades, has largely shown nothing but anger and contempt towards the very people we’ve been charged to actively show love and grace to. We must change that.

Listen to the sound of the world calling out and asking God if He is really there…….

……….and then act accordingly.

Comments on "listen to the sound"

 

Blogger Andi said ... (4:47 PM) : 

Amen! 'nuff said.

 

Blogger Cari said ... (9:15 PM) : 

Yesterday I got a call from a patient who is into tarot cards, and it freaked our nurse aide out. Apparently she (our aide) spent her time there on a four-hour tirade about evil spirits and hell. When the lady called me, I naturally wanted to tell her what "we" believed, but felt this wasn't the right place. In listening (not my spiritual gift) I learned that she'd been hurt badly in her "religion" and has since decided to pick up only the parts of "all religions" which she found beautiful. While I would love to tell her exactly why tarot cards aren't beautiful, I have found a door wide open to actually share the love of Christ with her. Today, I get to call the aide in and counsel her regarding her behavior. I'm not sure what I'll say.

It sounds to me like this woman is desperately seeking love and acceptance. She shared with me a story about the "Christians" who lived next door to her who found her Egyptian goddess posters evil, and so they disemboweled a frog and put it in her car. I'm sure she wanted to get baptized in her local NT church the next day.

There will always be people who hate God and Jesus and the church and everything about it. We don't get to take that personally. But there are people out there screaming for love and understanding, who could find it if we'd really LOVE them!

 

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