Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

November 8, 2007

I’ve had it.

Filed under: Religion and Philosophy — theburts @ 5:08 pm

“This Friday, November 9th from 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM Charge is hosting our first big concert event called “A Night at the Garage.” This is going to be an awesome opportunity for our church to open our doors for the youth of Nashville. The band The Turning will be headlining. We will also have free food, an X- box 360 give-away, and an outdoor laser tag course. Mark your calendar and show up with a crowd of friends for this free event!”

Someone else write the rest of the blog. Seriously. Just finish it in my comments…you know what I want to say. I love the people at this church. And I think they are very well-intended. But I worry about its method and effectiveness in exposing kids to the real gospel. I’m just gonna go read Ariah’s book and finish the gospel of Matthew, where some nutcase says something like “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

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7 Comments »

  1. First off, my response to the Laser Tag and video games,
    Is you should read this article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/us/07halo.html?ex=1349409600&en=7ec896ee5b886911&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    Second, just like a letter I wrote to a church in Minneapolis, there is a danger to enticing people to Jesus.
    The quote is: “What you win them with, is what you win them to.” I think Daniel said it well, that those who come and make a commitment at this event, will likely not be following Jesus, they’ll be following a rock band, a cool pastor, fun games or giveaways.

    If we are going to call ourselves followers of Christ then we need to follow Christ, and others will join us on that journey.

    Comment by Ariah Fine — November 8, 2007 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for the article, Ariah. Here’s a quote from it that was intriguing…”youth director at the 200-member nondenominational Country Bible Church in Ashby, Minn., said using Halo to recruit was “the most effective thing we’ve done.”

    It’s true that the game Halo, as popular among children as it is, gets kids excited and gets them in situations where the gospel message is (or might be) preached. But should we take our hat’s off to the effectiveness of our entertainment? More than the inappropriate nature of this game when compared to the christian message, I’m frustrated by our feeling that we have to be growing and succeeding. Who was it that said “we aren’t called to be successful, we’re called to be faithful”?

    I just wonder what would happen if we truly gave kids the gospel of Christ. Would it be so dull? Maybe the gospel we heard as kids was, but the more I look at it, it’s not a dull message! It’s exciting, dangerous, thrilling, and often gets you into trouble. Maybe, just maybe, if we decided to really follow Christ and unashamedly taught our kids the message of the cross, they would find it unusually appealing.

    The message of Jesus caused Josh and me to hang out with a few friends from the streets last night, and at one point one of them actually threw a real hand grenade (inactive) out of my car window in the middle of an intersection. Ticked the other guy off cause it was his, and I had to run back and retrieve it to keep peace in my car. We laughed about it later, but it was quite the ordeal at the time. What if our kids saw the gospel putting us in situations like that…how would they respond? Have we tried it? Is playing some video game really that much more fascinating?

    Or even if it is, have we really won a child over to the kingdom by giving in to the allure of rock bands, video games, and free pizza?

    Comment by Daniel and Amanda — November 8, 2007 @ 6:31 pm | Reply

  3. I’m almost speechless…almost. In reading that article about using Halo in churches, I was especially struck by the argument that “the church needs something powerful to compete against the lure of less healthy behaviors.” First of all, there is something seriously wrong when a video game is seen as more powerful a draw than the Kingdom of God demonstrated in our lives…unless the Kingdom is not actually being demonstrated at all…

    Secondly, is it really a more healthy behavior to replace real relationship with “fellowship” that requires little actual interaction through the glorified violence of a video game that stands in direct opposition to the gospel of Jesus, an easier and more palatable version of which is being presented between killing streaks? Call me crazy, but I’m not convinced that sex, drugs and alcohol are really much worse than living a powerless “Christian” life that buys into the superficial, materialistic emptiness of our culture, which is so neatly packaged in games like Halo.

    Comment by Stephanie — November 9, 2007 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  4. Very true, Stephanie. Thanks for the comments.

    Comment by Daniel and Amanda — November 9, 2007 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

  5. Hey Daniel and Amanda. Just spend some time cruising the blog. Great stuff here. I’m really proud of the two of you and the way God is giving you guys opportunities to spread the the very important message of “Living Simply”.

    I will chime in on this one post. I must admit that I often wonder about the methodology we sometimes use in our attempt to reach people with the message of Christ. The particular youth event described above was an attempt to reach a larger audience of kids in Nashville. Most of the things given away were donated from different people.

    Again, we may disagree on certain methodologies but I’m very proud of the “fruit” of these particular students. This same group of students made a choice this past fall to skip a fall retreat in Gatlinburg to go serve the under-resourced in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. This was their second trip to that same town this year.

    This is also the same youth group that handed out blankets to the homeless, and served in many different non-profit organizations throughout the year. Many of these kids just gave up their Saturday this past weekend to paint and do landscaping at the Nashville Family Shelter whiile many of their friends were sleeping in or playing video games.

    I know we are not all going to agree but I believe our intentions are the same. To help these students be the light of Christ to our community.

    God bless you guys,

    Pete

    Comment by Pete Wilson — February 27, 2008 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  6. Hey Pete, great to hear from you!

    Like I said, I love the people at this church and think that everyone’s intentions are pure. I think there is a ton of good done there, and am so happy to hear of all the wonderful activities the kids are involved with. I knew that the students there did a number of things like the Kentucky trip, but was unaware that they were involved in so many other things. Exciting! This church (as you probably know!) is atypical in that area, compared to so many today.

    I certainly don’t claim to have the answers. I hope that my blog didn’t come across that way…it was more of a frustration at the time, not aimed at one church but in the general direction I see large American churches going. I do struggle with this issue and wonder how much more effective we could be if we fed our kids the “raw” gospel (like, for instance, exposing them to homeless populations more and teaching them about and involving them in opposing things like brothels or children soldiers in Sudan). At the same time, I’m glad that kids get exposure to the light of Christ through any methods.

    Whereas an occasional retreat or game night or rock concert might be fine, I strongly believe that too much of that (no matter how many it draws) can lead kids to accept a watered down, popular version of the gospel that could reduce their future impact as Jesus’ disciples. I don’t want our kids to just follow along with culture, but instead I want them to be able to see how counter culture His teachings were then and still are today. And I think that’s so difficult the more we embrace the accepted norm of the day.

    I think that it’s great these kids are giving up that sort of thing to serve and to learn about injustices…I think that’s a great sign that they “get it.” I just think we need to learn from that…our youth today are often bored with Christianity. We can show them something different, and where they will all eventually grow out of their fascination with Halo and rock concerts, they will never outgrow the things they learn at SafeHaven or Kentucky.

    You’re right that we won’t agree on everything, specifically the church’s methodology and how we should compete with culture, though I’m nowhere close to being as educated on the topic as you are. I’d love to continue the conversation. I appreciate you and Bryan and everyone there who is trying to “help these students be the light of Christ to our community.” Please forgive my sarcasm and uncouth way in which I wrote that blog. I need to continually love and show grace and mercy to all those with a desire to walk in the way of Christ regardless of disagreements, and I also need to be more careful in how I discuss things about which I’m frustrated. Thanks again for your comments…hope you come back often!!

    Peace in Christ,

    Daniel

    Comment by theburts — February 27, 2008 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

  7. Thanks Daniel. No offense taken. These are important conversations for us to be having. I have a lot to learn about this part of my faith. You have taught me much in the past and I believe you will teach me more in the future. Call me soon or shoot me an e-mail at pete@crosspoint.tv and let’s go grab breakfast. I want to catch up with you guys and hear more about what God is doing in your life.

    Comment by Pete Wilson — February 28, 2008 @ 6:39 am | Reply


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