God Uses Gospel Silliness ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

God Uses Gospel Silliness

First day back on the subbing beat. After an easy hour spent "teaching math," I'm taking my planning period in the library. At the computer next to me is a dude hunched over his keyboard, eyes six inches from the monitor, wearing headphones and humming tunelessly. I stuck myself with an IV this morning to get the coffee into my bloodstream fast enough, so I'm slightly strung out on caffeine. With the tone deaf dude, my coffee buzz, and the frigid AC in the library, this seems like a good moment to think about interesting, slightly surreal ideas.

In the class he's teaching on emerging church, Mark DeVine recently made the comment that God is so thrilled when believers make any kind of attempt to communicate the gospel to people that he overlooks outlandish and silly techniques, and sometimes even uses them to point people to Jesus. In one sense, this is an idea without a lot of application, because we're not going to start wearing sandwich boards, FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME, and yelling verses at people, hoping that God will use our stupidity--because he can. It does help, however, to remind us that God wants compassionate hearts like the one beating in Jesus' chest, and the next killer ap evangelism technique will not be the defining factor in the world's salvation.

Hypothetically, I could turn to the guy next to me, who is now chuckling at a private joke while he hums, and interrupt his funky solo to ask, "Hey,if you were to die tonight...?" I'm not going to do it. But suppose I was moved by compassion, and that kind of evangelism was the only kind I knew. Would God shake his head in frustration? Probably not. So we should also hope that humans who are better versed in communicating biblical truth in today's context will not sneer at people who are still devoted to the tools of the previous decades.

We can try and bring them around, and demonstrate better ways to share and disciple, but God uses silliness of all kinds, even our particular brand--so we should distinguish between criticism and contempt.

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R. Sherman said...

Off topic.

I'm back, sort of.

I intend to have the "3 Seconds" review up on Tuesday.


Amanda said...

Also off topic. I'm managing a private blog for the whole region for InterVarsity. Someone asked me about site feeds today. Anyway I could ask you a few questions since you appear to be a master? If yes, you can e-mail me at amanda_salmond@yahoo.com that way I do not fill up your comments section. Happy Thursday!

Wayne Stratz said...

Ok, so I am certain of nothing, so what could happen is that after a life time of fearing that letting God into my heart will cause me to preach on the corner of Broad and Main streets.... God's first question will be why couldn't you get over that fear, I needed you on that corner.

But I also fear ever having to be a sub again and yellow jackets.

God has done many a thing to my heart but no sandwich boards as of yet.

Ariel said...

Hey Wayne, I appreciate your honesty. I'm not convinced that fear of certain, radical methods of sharing mean that God wants us to do those very things. Maybe we're afraid for good reasons! E.g., the particular gospel nightmare we're visualizing would not only make us look stupid, it would make God look stupid.

So for the record, you won't catch me wearing sandwich boards anytime soon either.

Being a fool for Christ is one thing. Being a fool for no good reason is another.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife