Sunday, March 23, 2008

Quotable if not notable

Below are 5 of the more thought-provoking things I've read/heard lately (warning: cuss word spelled with asterisks ahead).

1) "you were too busy steering the conversation toward the Lord
to hear the voice of the Spirit begging you to shut the f*** up
you thought it must be the devil trying to make you go astray
besides it couldn't have been the lord because you don't believe he talks that way"

(Lyrics from Pedro the Lion song “Foregone Conclusions”)

This is why “music that's fun and safe for the whole family” will never be a synonym for “music that grown-up Christians might need to sit down and listen to until it hurts and heals” (to be fair, their motto is easier to remember than mine). And if you're tempted to be offended by the language, just step back and apply that energy to this thought: what kind of experience led the singer of an obscure indie rock band to write this? And no, I don’t think the Spirit drops the F-bomb.

2) “The Power of Passionate Shopping” (Motto on huge sign at an outlet mall)

A five-word sentence about buying stuff, that somehow had the brazen courage and literary cleverness to work in both “power” and “passionate.” Did I mention that it's a sentence about buying stuff? Welcome to America.

3) “The quality of your website reflects the quality of your ministry.” (Quote from promotional video of Christian media consulting firm)

This video was playing on a loop in the "internet cafe" room that was set up at the pastor's conference I attended recently. I don't know how often this phrase popped up in a little box at the bottom of the screen, but I saw it several times, and I wasn't even trying to watch the video. I had to write it down, because it got me so worked up. How lucky for us that the people who discovered this powerful truth are also, conveniently, equipped to rescue us from the dominion of Media Hell into the Kingdom of the Cyber-Slick Elite.

4) “There would be a strong argument for saying that much of the most powerful preaching of our time is the preaching of the poets, playwrights, [and] novelists because it is often they better than the rest of us who speak with awful honesty about the absence of God in the world and about the storm of his absence, both without and within, which, because it is unendurable, unlivable, drives us to look to the eye of the storm.” (Frederick Buechner, from his book Telling the Truth, p. 44)

See Pedro the Lion lyrics, above, to be reminded what kinds of things the world is saying about the absence of God (and see quote 3 to be reminded what kinds of things Christians will do to fill that absence). Seriously, wow. This Buechner book is specifically speaking to preachers, and I’m definitely not much of a preacher, but it's been knocking me out.

5) “Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place.” (The Apostle Paul, in his second Biblical letter to Timothy.)

After slapping us with the not-so-subtle gangrene analogy, Paul has the nerve to name names. Isn't it funny that he says to avoid "profane chatter, "and then he talks publicly, by name, about some folks who are guilty of it? I used to think I knew exactly what gossip was, but now I’m not so sure. Welcome to Honest Study of the Scriptures.

Here’s a thought. Maybe I’m just getting old and crazy, but somehow quotes 2 and 3 feel more like “profane chatter” than quote 1.

That's a glimpse of what's in my head this week. Thoughts?


Robert Conn said...

At the risk of offending would-be anonymous bloggers from getting hot and bothered... I'll just say, "Yep."

D.O. said...

I spent about three years of my life firmly holding the conviction that the worse the church's website, the better the church probably was.

I don't necessarily think that any more, but I do still love me a terrible church website.

Oh, and thanks for warning me of the asterisked curse words that my eyes were soon to behold.

Michael said...

According to D.O.'s website theory, Community Church is the bomb!

Yeah that's right, the bomb...



Ky said...

I found the fifth quote very interesting because I've asked myself that same question on what is and is not gossip.

I think I've decided that it has a lot to do with whether not you'd be willing to confront the person on that directly. I believe that anyone Paul ridiculed to others, he would be willing to do the same to their face.

That's just my theory for what it's worth, but I've decided to make it my ambition to never talk bad about people / organizations unless any of the following are true:
1. I have confronted them on the issue.
2. I'm seeking advice on whether or not to confront them.
3. I would be willing to confront them and speak to them about it given the opportunity

I add number 3 to account for people like Joel Olsteen. Though I don't know him and have never confronted him, I would have no problem doing so.

Any thoughts from Ross or fellow bloggers?

the songscribe said...

wow - just a thought:

Paul dropped a sh*t bomb in scripture. Look it up for yourselves. Philippians 3:8 - skubalon (a harsh word meaning dung - easily translated to the modern day term of sh*t) If sll scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, maybe the Spirit just might drop the F-bomb once in a while...

at least it makes me wonder...

the Songscribe