Critical reviews (by Lutheran pastors and church musicians) of books and other resources for Christian worship, preaching, and church music from a perspective rooted in Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and good common sense. LHP Quarterly Book Review asks, "Is it worth the money to buy, the time to read, the shelf space to store, and the effort to teach?"
Feed: Pastoral Meanderings Posted on: Friday, September 13, 2013 5:00 AM Author: email@example.com (Pastor Peters) Subject: Trying to be something you are not...
My parents oft dashed my delusions of grandeur by saying "you have champagne tastes on beer money." When that did not work, they would tell the most embarrassing stories about me. It is a tactic they still do. I do not blame them, in fact, I find myself following their example with my own children. It can easily be mistaken as merely the delight of seeing someone squirm on the hot seat but it is truly the voice of wisdom reminding me to be who I am. I thank God for those who still bring me painfully down to earth when my ego inflates me.
It seems to me that we live in a time when being something you are not is epidemic. Men act like children or adolescents in our modern world. They eschew responsibility and seem addicted to the past pursuits of their pubescent lives -- thinking that drinking craft beer, wearing brand name clothing, buying top brands of latest technology, and dominating World of Warcraft or some other video game is the same triumph as loving a wife, parenting a children, going to work everyday, caring for the home, protecting the family, and being the spiritual leader of that family. The world needs men to be men. Nothing more and nothing less.
Women act as if not needing anyone is the greatest achievement of all. The modern day ideal is the self-sufficient woman who has career first, maybe a kid (with the help of a sperm donor but not a man), economic success, freedom to live as she chooses, and who makes all her own decisions. She complains that men are not men today but she does not need or want a man so she is content to play with boys as toys. She has become as hard, emotionally distant, and brutally conniving to get what she wants as were the stereotypical men she hates but she does not see it. She farms off her children to day care and indulges them. The world needs women to be women. Nothing more and nothing less.
The Church fears that being the Church is either out of style, irrelevant, or not fun and so the Church acts like she is not the Church. She eschews the things of God to be prophets of pleasure and self-fulfillment, she teaches self-help instead of the Word of God, and she worships at the same god of happiness as the folks around her. She chooses to act as an orphan even though she has a family, a lineage, and a history. She listens to polls like politicians but she has no time to listen to the voice of God in His Word. She mimics the skeptic's mind about the things of God, Scripture, and tradition but has bought into the fad truths of identity defined by sexuality, of values that shift with the sands of time, and of a today that defines hope as optimism, eternity as the time you wait to get what you want, and heaven as your best life now. The world needs the Church to be the Church. Nothing more and nothing less.
I could go on... You get the drift. We need men man enough to repent and kneel before Him who was incarnate to bring new life to those captive to death. We need men who are man enough to show up on Sunday morning to meet the God whose gifts are forgiveness, life, and salvation, in, with, and under the preacher's voice, the splash of water, and the taste of bread and wine. We need women willing be women, to show the nobility of a submission borne of love, to extend love and care to their children as a holy calling noble and pure, and to make the home a center of faith, hope, and love. We need women and men who live joyfully in the interdependence of lives made one in which God blesses this creative love with children who are raised in the Church to know the Lord. But... first we will need the Church to be the Church. Not some marriage between what we want to be and who we are but the Church. Not some Champale that promises to bridge two very different things but who we are.
We are trying too hard to be what we are not. How much harder can it be to be what we are? The Church is not a self-help group or a personal affirmation society or the provider of interesting entertainment. The Church is the body of Christ for the sake of the head who is Christ. When our teaching, congregational life, and worship remember this, the fortunes of a Church living in fear will be transformed. When we call men to Christ-like love as the men God has called them to be, women will delight in responding to that love with their own love and then the family will be set free from the tyranny of desire and pleasure to be the domain of the Lord. We have gotten where we are trying to be what we are not. What have we achieved? An empty shell of a structure of church and home so filled with problems that believe the prophets of doom who tell us we are dead. If we were who we are, we would know better. God's creative order has not been set aside but His people redeemed to live within the holy estates with contentment and peace. God's Church will endure and the gates of hell shall not prevail.