Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Be Free of Culture, Don't Baptize it!

Mark’s hunger for spiritual things drove him to seek out a church in his Australian town. Ignorant of religious things, he dropped in on a congregation where the pastor read the Bible, made a few general comments then fleshed out his sermon around the latest philosophical findings. After the benediction, the young adults of the church gathered in the basement for sandwiches and discussion, so Mark went along. There he found a few musicians playing the same stuff he had been hearing in the bars, although with religious words. The fellow who spoke came across as a hybrid between a hard-drinking womanizer and John the Baptist. As Mark delved into the church a little more and chatted with the pastor, he learned that churches have a name for this. They call it “making religion a living thing of the people.” As Mark left that church, he found himself wondering if God’s people don’t know what they have to offer, if they do not see that the world can do entertainment so much better than the churches can, and if they do not believe their Gospel of Jesus Christ is enough. “Don’t they see that if they pattern themselves after the world, there’s nothing for them to be lifted to? Outsiders want to be free of their culture, not to see it baptized.” Mark Saber lived a half-century ago. His story was told by a preacher from Down Under in an old book I read as a beginning preacher. I’ve never forgotten the concerns Mark felt and the questions he raised. from Joe McKeever

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