I came across this site (thechurchyouknow.com) via Darryl at Dying Church. It is clever and witty. They have produced seven videos based off of NBC’s “The More You Know” campaign of public service announcements. The video, “Attendance,” almost made me choke, I laughed so hard.
Update: I just watched the video, “Worship.” It’s about as hilarious as “Attendance.” I especially like their write-up that accompanies the worship video:
Don’t get us wrong – we love musical worship, and songs have a rich heritage and important role in worship. But when songs become synonymous with worship, the latter gets confined to nicely-transitioned 20 minute packages a few times a week. Sometimes, these packages are even off-key, or incredibly painful to listen to and participate in.
If worship is a condition of the heart and an attitude towards God, then worship can take place in so many more places and ways. It might be spending time with your children, or it might be going for a run. It might even be a group of friends sitting around enjoying conversation and a few beers and laughing when someone farts. Okay, the farting part might not be worship. But not every gathering has to have a guitar and singing to include true, heartfelt worship.
Authentic fellowship, both with one another and Christ, is always worship – and doesn’t need amplification for the world to hear.
That last line is awesome!
5 thoughts on ““The Church You Know””
I thought they were great. My favorite was the tithing one.
We still joke about it, “Remember, those donuts are not for you!”
Very funny and insightful. But, sadly, the authors give into the “Myth of Being Cute” to some extent. Even more sadly, they give into the attitude and mindset of our postmodern world with respect to knowledge.
In the credo, they state, “We may both be wrong. We may both be right. There may not even be a wrong or right, depending on the subject.” What does this statement mean? Any thoughtful discussion of these phrases reveals a number of problems, none of which has any rational foundation. You cannot really argue directly with it, because those who hold to the mindset do not accept reason as a basis on which to ground our discussion. The videos actually are conveying a message those who created them believe. Saying, “We may be right. We may be wrong” is humble. What they actually said in their credo is just plain silly.
When Jesus, the Logos, comes to us and invites us to live in his rational Kingdom with His Father, I cannot see any connection between that message and the spirit of the statement above. Those who say things like that cannot see truth, probably because they have “despaired of ever finding it.” (- Dallas Willard).
The Lord said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.” What does that mean? It means we have access to “right judgement,” which is reason. Modus ponens, Modus tollens, and other logical structures are available to help guide us to truth. If are his disciples, or want to become one, we are called to follow his teachings on this matter. If we do not agree with him, we ought to admit it and seek to understand and eliminate the hinderances inside us.
Hi Grace, I love that line as well. Very funny! And in my experience, it actually articulates the way some Christians think about others who “don’t give as much as they should.”
Hi Sam, I think I understand your objections. But I would encourage you to view that portion of their credo you mention in light of what they are trying to accomplish. They are trying to provoke conversations around issues of church life in a way relevant to our post-modern society. If they were to come out and say, “We’re right and you’re wrong,” then the conversation ends before it begins. I don’t think these guys would have invested so much time and energy into this project if they really thought that everyone was right. But I think underneath the “cuteness” of the videos is a deeper passion — the people of God are failing to BE the people of God. And the site and videos expose that with a “critique from within.” In fact, in some ways, these guys are standing in a prophetic role. They are questioning the observable practices of local church life that hint at a much deeper deception. The modern western church, despite its wealth and rhetoric, is failing at its role of becoming like Jesus and participating in Jesus’ campaign for global renewal. And much of the problem is that we have embraced incorrect and even destructive ideas of what it means to be Jesus’ followers and his Church.
Quite frankly, I don’t think these guys really care if a church uses a guitar, a worship leader and 20 minutes to worship God. But what they do care about is the inherent dualism that this practice fosters when practiced uncritically — i.e. I can only really worship when I’m at church and being led by a qualified professional or if I’m singing to a worship CD or if I’m singing worship songs. The write-up that accompanies that video obviously communicates that worship styles or preferences are not the issue. The issue is the church’s and the Christian’s understanding and ultimately practice of true worship, of which music is only a small part.
In the same way, I don’t think these guys really care if one attends a church led by a senior pastor. Their issue touches upon the idea that the Senior Pastor is the guy who hears from God and then relays that message through a ministry of teaching, preaching and organziational leadership. As a pastor, I’ve heard people actually say things like, “I don’t need to study the Bible because that’s the pastor’s job. He’ll teach me what I need to know.” And quite frankly, most Christians who study the Bible simply overlay their favorite Bible teacher’s ideas over the text.
The point is that so much of this stuff is practiced uncritically. And the issue isn’t to find the right or wrong style or structure or practice. Local social context mixed with the local faith-community’s theology and pursuit of apprenticeship to Christ will shape a community’s practices. So in that light, different practices may be “right.”
This is a weak metaphor, but let’s say your family opens presents on Christmas Eve and my family opens presents on Christmas morning. Who’s right? Neither. Both. The issue really isn’t whether the observable practices or traditions are right or wrong. The issue is whether the underlying ideas that create and are sustained by those practices are right or wrong. And in that you are correct. There is truth and Christ can lead us there. But a local church or a Christian cannot begin that journey until current ideas are exposed, usually by addressing the practices and structures valued by the organization. And that’s what these videos do.
I was completely into what they were trying to say in their videos. They were saying that substance does not ground the things done in some churches. As you said, the external practice is not the problem…it is when it is done without substance, meaning, and life! But what is downright sad, satanic, and depressing is that they say, “We may be neither right nor wrong.” You’ve got to be kidding! There are realities that are neither right nor wrong. A computer is neither right nor wrong. A book is neither right nor wrong. A rock is neither right nor wrong. They are physical objects; being right or wrong does not apply to them.
But when we say something, we mean something. When I say, “A computer is neither right nor wrong.” That proposition has a meaning and a truth value. “A computer” refers to an object in the world. Then, I make a claim about its nature. It is “neither right nor wrong.” It is an amoral entity. That’s it. I said it and I’m sure I’m right. Could I still be wrong? Yes! A computer could be an inherently evil thing. This is the mistake we make about “knowledge.” It is not a God’s eye view. In our culture, we take it to mean, “I’m sure about that,” especially on “hot button” topics like God’s existence to mean, that I cannot be wrong. Claiming to know something is not claiming absolute certainty, infallibility. God could be a mental construct that I have put together to deal with my own fragmented psyche. I do not believe that for some very good reasons, but I am not discussing the question of God right now.
My point is that you cannot communicate anything coherently without acknowledging two things, which are closely related:
1. The objectivity of truth
2. The objectivity of knowledge
Truth is knowledge expressed in propositional form. Knowledge is the matching up of two things:
2. The world
A dear friend once said, “I am convinced if there was a better way than Jesus, he would tell me to take it.” I’m open. I could be wrong about Jesus or anything else. Being open to being wrong does not mean you simply throw in the towel and say, “I know nothing and neither do you!” I just thought of another cool teaching direct from the Master on a related topic. How can you not let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No” if you deny that truth is truth? If you deny the objectivity of truth and knowledge, how can you obey the Master on the matter of not playing human games when being asked to tell it like it is! If you have no truth, then you have nothing to say. If you have no knowledge, how can you recognize truth when it is before you?
I basically want to conclude with my final comment. I cannot (it is not a matter of choice) respect someone who says things like “We may neither be right nor wrong.” or sympathizes with those who do. It is just plain silly. Someone in this state is in need of prayer, love, dialogue, and maybe philosophical counseling.
P.S. This is not what we are talking about, so I will make this brief. It is totally true that human beings call things truth that are not. Just watch most teenagers. They call so many things that have no truth value as the highest truth. They are into appearances and feelings. They often judge by appearances. Or families that turn their traditions into the only right practices. But this is a different problem, one that God works on too.