What I’m Reading Today: Matthew 7
What a week it has been – full of incredible highs and lows. The week started when I received word my best friend from seminary, Eric, passed away unexpectedly in the night at the age of 53. It culminated with a wonderfully healing time with former classmates at my 25th high school reunion. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to settling back into a routine of sorts as I return to my regular schedule. Thanks so much for the love & prayers you extended in my direction during my vacation. They were much appreciated!! Now, on to my reflection for the day…
As many of you know, I have a long-time interest in a movement known emerging/emergent worship. The primary goal or purpose of emerging/emergent worship is to create spiritual community that is relevant to the 21st Century world in which we live.
I’ve noticed that there is an incredibly fine line that individuals and communities walk in their pursuit of this path toward relevance.
What is that fine line?
That fine line has to do with maintaining a balance between being relevant and maintaining a commitment to the essential values and principles of our faith. Let me give you an example of what I mean taken from my days in Denver.
During my time in Denver, I lived right around the corner from one of the mega churches – a place called Heritage Christian Center. The church was started in an individual’s home and exploded over a short period of time until it had several thousand members. It made a point of using all of the latest technology and gadgets to draw people in and present a faith that seemed incredibly vibrant and alive.
In the process of creating the community, however, things began to change. The Denver Post, for instance, ran an expose saying that the senior pastor’s base salary was in excess of $750,000. They were unable to find an exact figure so they used a relatively conservative figure. The church had also purchased a private jet for the pastor’s use.
In other words, in their attempt to make their faith relevant to the world, they ended up adopting much of the world’s values and principles via their ministerial practices.
That example stands in stark contrast to Jesus’ words in today’s passage from Matthew where Jesus said: “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life – to God! – is vigorous and requires total attention.”
Most of us don’t have the temptation to take shortcuts by drawing salaries that approach seven figures or purchasing private jets – but we do face temptations to take “shortcuts” in other ways. Today, I would encourage you to take some time to reflect on the ways you understand the way to life to be “vigorous”.
Til next time…