Monday, May 07, 2007

Get Thee Behind Me, Ye Shiny Happy People!

We all desire to see the evidence of divine handiwork in our lives (we see enough of the other kind, don't we?). But what do we do when the token of the Spirit's work within us is not a song but a sigh? Not fulfillment, but only more longing?

According to Paul in II Corinthians 5:1-5, the presence of the ache, the groaning, and the burden are part and parcel of this semi-eschatological epoch in which we toil between the already and the not yet. In other words, you're supposed to feel that tension that you feel, and if you didn't, something would be drastically wrong.

But things get interesting when we compare this to what we often hear from the pulpits of our contemporary megachurches (well, podiums to be more accurate).

If your children aren't perfectly behaved (i.e., they act like children), then you must not be "growing them God's way." If your evangelistic efforts are characterized by "weakness, fear, and much trembling" (like Paul's), then you need to read Leonard Ravenhill's Why Revival Tarries while simultaneously listening to "Asleep in the Light" by Keith Green. If your "blessed hope" is in the future somewhere, then read Your Best Life Now to cure you of that other-worldliness. If you struggle with sometimes reading Ecclesiastes and actually agreeing with it, then maybe your life isn't "Purpose-Driven"© enough. If indwelling sin still clings to you, just pray the Prayer of Jabez a few more times.

Or to simplify: If you're tired of being looked upon as weak, foolish, and irrelevant (i.e., like Jesus), then take heart! There is a legion of churches to help you make sure that will never happen (pun intended).

I seem to remember Peter offering Jesus some similar advice. Of course, Jesus responded by changing Peter's nickname to "Satan," so, like, maybe we shouldn't go there....