In a post last week, Russell Moore talks a bit about the recent Gallup poll that shows, for the first time ever, less than half those surveyed belong to a church. But he spends more time talking about the ways the Church is responsible for the decline.
Early in the year 2020 BC, our pastor was preaching on the importance of community, of being in a small group, etc. He talked about the things a lifegroup (the official 121 nomenclature for small groups) did together, starting with being in the Word together. And then, as he is wont to do, he went off-script. “Maybe you’re uncomfortable studying the Bible, maybe you’d like to learn to study the Bible. We could start a How to Study Your Bible life group!” And then he went on with the rest of his sermon.
Knowing how these things went, I checked in at the office after the service.
I’ve told this story probably a hundred times over the years. If you’re one of the ones I’ve told it to, well, sometimes real life has reruns, too. This one will be better than all those Saved the Bells. But not better than Batman, because what could be better than a Batman rerun?
In the summer of twenty-five years ago, the XO of our church at the time asked me to breakfast. Just like in the military, an XO at a church is the person who makes the things happen that the captain/pastor dreams up in his head. If you were to look up XO in the dictionary, this guy’s picture is who would be staring you in the face.
Today, we could talk about a global pandemic or racism or why a virus doesn’t care how you vote or why there’s a shortage of cold brew tea(!), but instead, let’s talk about the most pressing issue of the day.
More specifically, bad worship music.
Some of you think that’s redundant. Why do you think so? Because there’s a lot of it. Why do you suppose that is? To examine that, let’s re-visit a movie from the last year of the 80’s. The movie is set in the most unlikely of places, a poetry classroom at an all-boy’s school.
There I was, minding my own business, getting ready to do some exercising, when Chris Rice’s voice penetrated the fog that is my brain in the mornings.
Because we’re talking about God, we can fill that blank with a lot of words, all of which are true. “Comfort” is the word that probably leapt to mind first, from 2 Cor 1:3. And while many need comfort in these days, we’re going to look at a different word.
One of the things we need most in these days is discernment. The dictionary tells us that it is “the ability to judge well.” That pretty much sums it up: we need the ability to judge well. And we need it because, historically, humans are pretty bad at it. We’ve been bad at it for a very long time—Hey, let’s eat some of that fruit, it will make us smarter than God!