Word of mouth

Noise, tradition, expectations. Nothing is new under the sun, not even the perversion of church (aka “the process of improperly changing something that is good”).

We are tempted to slide into routine and rules – most people find them comfortable. We like to function in autopilot mode, we love our cruise control, we love our morning routines… but everything ought to be put under scrutiny on a regular basis.

Religion has the root in the latin “re legare” which means “return to the law”. But where does that leave the “grace”? Boundaries and rules are good, the law is good, but to a point. Up to the point it squishes the grace.

We continue to read the Word of God, and though I have studied it intently throughout my childhood and youth, and it is glued to my heart, if I don’t return to it regularly, to the source, I forget the details and nuances.

The other days I was talking with a friend who works in IT and trains people. In the fast paced culture, some roles are destines to dumb-info-down, even for highly intelligent, highly education groups. It’s a constant chase to make information digestible fast, almost like chewing / mashing the food for your kids who haven’t developed teeth yet. As we constantly get better at doing this for others, their teeth and stomachs loose their vitality and purpose.

The main reason I was always urged to make things easy to read, easy to grasp, info fast to absorb, was the apparent lack of time, not the lack of brains. But the side effect was the dumbing of people. Nobody goes to the source to process the context and the concepts. I can be talking about food and farming, about information technology and company information, or about the truth in the bible. How many of us go to the source to read it, savor it, dwell on it? We expect pastors to write captivating sermons and deliver them with pathos. But the better the pastor or the teaching in the church, the more complacent the congregation. It’s like always eating at a restaurant because the chef is so good at preparing the food and we don’t have time to do it at home anyway, so we only eat on Sunday. Undernourished. Like children who wait to be spoon-fed, word of mouth.

“The millennials and church”: quite the topic and quite the mystery. We are not ones to sit in pews and listen to someone’s interpretation of a small passage in the church, out of context often, like an exposition. Often when Jesus healed a broken person, he would just urged them to go tell others what Jesus did to them. That was it. Highlighting our own brokenness to let Jesus shine. We’ve turn things around. Church is a club where we present our very best, not realizing that this pushes people away instead of attracting the broken and the needy. Church is back where the pharisees were 2000 years ago, when Jesus while saying that he didn’t come to break the law but he came to fulfill it, and then proceeded to mingle with the broken and heal them. He was most angry and rebuking at the priest and their facade. Ultimately, the priests orchestrated his crucifixion. When will we learn?