Thursday, September 15, 2011

Be Thinking Christians

Even in believers there is a tendency to make something “gospel centric” that isn’t part of the gospel at all. Being raised in church, I have watched a variety “movements” and “legalism” come and go and, in truth participated in some of this. I mean, I have watched everything from Christians sitting at home with their lights off, hiding during Halloween, to Churches competing and outdoing much of the world with “Fall Festivals” during Halloween… but, don’t get me started on that because even when they go “all in” for the Fall Festivals, then you have the “no costumes allowed” churches and the “costumes welcome” churches. There are several members of Trinity that were raised in churches much like me - churches that preached the Word and loved Jesus (and I thank God for them), but most certainly added some “laws” that were seen as taboo. From the “no card playing” to the “ladies don’t wear pants,” to my favorite growing up…one that actually encouraged hypocrisy, the rule of “No Shorts on the Church Bus.” Oh, don’t get me wrong! We could wear shorts on the trip, we would go to the beach on a retreat, BUT under NO circumstances should you wear shorts on the bus! I wasn’t raised in the 70’s - I was in the student group in the late 80’s - and some of those years “jams” were still in (you remember “jams” right? the longer shorts that went all the way to your knee?) But you better not dare to show up on the bus with this on! I say this promoted hypocrisy because we could wear shorts under our sweat pants, jeans, parachute pants (have I mentioned that I miss parachute pants!?) or what have you, and we could take them off when we stopped to go eat in the mall, BUT when you got on the Church bus, yes that Greyhound that the A/C never worked dare not take those sweat pants off and expose your knee. Oh, those were the days!

I say all of this not to offend those adults who made those ridiculous rules. I say all of this because we still see such nonsense today and, in truth there is a high probability all of us as believers may hold to things as our convictions, which we want to force on others. A conviction is something that the Holy Spirit places in my life as a standard in my life - my behavior, attitude and boundaries. It is something I can and should live by and guide my family by…but it is not something that I can judge others by or impose on them. One of them that I have mentioned several times is that of music. I have heard on more than one occasion, incredible artists with doctrinal lyrics (that say as much as any of our cherished hymns and choruses) being accused of singing music that sounds worldly because of the beat of the music or the style. Is there someone that can define a “worldly sound?” I mean, I have heard worldly lyrics – but, I imagine if you ask the early Puritans, your grandmother, and some of our young seminary graduates of today what worldly music sounds like, you would get an amazing difference in answers. When I hear guys like Tripp Lee or Shai Linne, I am thankful that God has gifted them to rap such amazing God honoring lyrics. If you believe the problem is that it sounds “worldly,” then I would challenge you to listen to the beat of some of our choruses and ask grandma if she ever heard keyboard music and drums like that in the “Bar-rooms.”

I get on this soapbox of music only to ask if you have ever heard a song, chorus, or hymn, that gave a biography of the Prince of Preacher’s life? No, me either until now! Enjoy this incredible clip detailing the life of Charles Spurgeon….