Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Persuasion (not about the book) (09/01/11)
- TITLE: It Seemed Good To Us
By Catherine Maher
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Like bees around our heads, talking, laughing, coffee in hand, the people gathered around us.
Off beat drums and over tweaked keyboard led the praise team in their ascent. Focusing on God alone, we determined to give Him worship. If our devotion depended on anything other than God this morning, we would end up short sighted. We’ve always heard a word, phrase or promise in the music that would touch our hearts.
We were raptured back into the smiles and open arms of the buzzing families again clamoring to welcome us. It was a strange transition descending from worship quickly back into the fold again. We stayed there for about twenty minutes, making acquaintances. We wondered if perhaps that was the gist of the meetings, to simply worship and fellowship. We longed to make new friends, so it seemed good to us.
The pastor began to preach. We concentrated on his words, not his appearance or ping pong style. In faded jeans, un-tucked shirt and gym shoes, he brought forth his message. “Love God, Love People.” It was a brief, uncluttered message of truth, literally boiled down to one mandate: To create a culture that welcomed and accepted the down trodden, raising them up as equals. He preached a culture without walls of rank or class. God doesn’t judge by appearances, so why should we? That seemed good to us.
Supposing that an offering would follow, we sat with gift in hand. No plate was passed, no basket made it’s way up and down the rows. Discovering an offering box near the exit, we learned they did not seek compulsory gifts. but preached a new freedom for all to give from a willing and cheerful heart. That seemed good to us.
As seasons passed, we continued to adjust our viewpoint. Anticipating the real meat of the message to be served up at any time, we came expecting. Some Sundays we adjusted well and completely enjoyed the grove. We offered to serve on the usher and greeters teams. This helped us get acquainted as we became more like the bees that first greeted us. We flowed with the stream as it carried us up and down the hills and valleys at the grove. That seemed good to us.
We began to sense we were walking in the middle of unseen dangers, as if walking around a battle field, moving cautiously to avoid contact with a land mind. All our energy was spend adjusting to the culture at the grove, much to the neglect of our devotion to God. Once we readjusted our compass to point true north, we were met with a surprise visit from the pastor who came offering to help us navigate through what he called ‘rough terrain’. He gave us several books that shaped his heart and faith.
The truth of what we were involved in dawned on us. The pastor was in error and we were like frogs slowly being cooked to death. You’ve heard the story, if you throw a frog into boiling water he will be shocked and leap right out. If you put him in lukewarm warm water and slowly heat it up, he will keep adjusting to the temperature and eventually be cooked to death.
The pastor was creating a third culture church. The first culture is the church of your parents, the one you were born into. The second culture is the one you go to when you become born again and follow Christianity yourself. The third culture is when you become disillusioned with your Christian experience, and seek a new church where together you repaint the gospel to fit a new culture. That did not seem good to us. It seemed so wrong to us that we no longer belonged there. We wanted it to be good, but were sadly convinced it was not.
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