Thanks to Pete and Josanna Justine who led worship at the What if? Conversation. They read the following, and it got us all thinking…
THE OBSTACLE OF DULLNESS
From – Dangerous Wonder, by Michael Yaconelli
Episcopal priest Robert Capon named the first obstacle: “We are in a war between dullness and astonishment. “‘* The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality, or school prayer. The critical issue today is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into “nice people.”
If Christianity is simply about being nice, I’m not interested.
What happened to radical Christianity, the un-nice brand of Christianity that turned the world upside-clown? What happened to the category-smashing, life-threatening, anti-institutional gospel that spread through the first century like wildfire and was considered (by those in power)
dangerous? What happened to the kind of Christians whose hearts were on fire, who had no fear, who spoke the truth no matter what the consequence, who made the world uncomfortable, who were willing to follow Jesus wherever He went? What happened to the kind of Christians who
were filled with passion and gratitude, and who every day were unable to get over the grace of God?
I’m ready for a Christianity that “ruins“ my life, that captures my heart and makes me uncomfortable. I want to be filled with an astonishment which is so captivating that I am considered wild and unpredictable and …well… dangerous. Yes, I want to be “dangerous” to a dull and boring religion. I want a faith that is considered “dangerous” by our predictable and monotonous culture.
A W Tozer said a long time ago, “Culture is putting out the light in men and women’s souls.” He was right. Dullness is more than a religious issue, it is a cultural issue. Our entire culture has become dull. Dullness is the absence of the light of our souls, Look around, We have lost the sparkle in our eyes, the passion in our marriages, the meaning in our work, the joy of our faith.
The Bible names our problem: sin. Don’t let the word fool you. Sin is more than turning our backs on God, it is turning our backs on life! Immorality is much more than adultery and dishonesty, it is living drab, colorless, dreary, stale, unimaginative lives. The greatest enemy of
Christianity may be people who say they believe in Jesus but who are no longer astonished and amazed. Jesus Christ came to rescue us from listlessness as well as lostness; He came to save us from flat souls as well as corrupted souls, He came to save us from dullness. Our culture is awash in immorality and drowning in dullness. We have forgotten how to dance, how to sing, and how to laugh. We have allowed technology to beat our imaginations into submission and have become tourists rather than travelers.
Echoes of Martin Luther when he wrote, “In church we do not want to quench the spirit of the faithful with tedium.” One step I’m exploring to break the mask of expectation in worship is introducing new affirmations/creeds and new confessions.
Our T-shirt affirmation begins:
“I believe life is more than survival. I believe the heart is more than a muscle. I believe we can know right from wrong….
One new confession I’m developing begins as follows, but I would appreciate your input:
I am the sheep who got lost.
I have stepped off the path.
I have missed the mark.
I have damaged relationships.
Martin Luther enlisted in your war on dullness when he wrote, “In church we do not want to quench the spirit of the faithful with tedium” (Liturgy and Hymns, Vol 53, p 24). Yet in our worship gatherings we tread people through words that are archaic or act as ruts. At Holy Cross we rotate confessions and creeds/affirmations that use new words and images to create a visceral response.
A confession that I’m developing begins:
“I am the sheep who got lost.
“I have stepped off the path.
“I have missed the mark.
“I have damaged relationships….”
I welcome your input!
Our T-shirt affirmation begins:
“I believe life is more than survival.
“I believe the heart is more than a muscle.
“I believe we can know right from wrong….”