The American past-time isn’t baseball.
It’s getting angry.
Americans are skilled angsters who never miss an opportunity to jump a bandwagon and go to war over something they won’t even remember tomorrow.
Because of our inherent tendency to give knee-jerk reactions, we not only serve as a source of endless laughing stock entertainment to much of the Western World, we also tend to emote our rage without thinking.
When the book The Shack came out years ago, a Pastor slipped it to me in Europe and said, “You didn’t get it from me, but I think you need to read it.” I read it. I cried. It touched me at various points, and made some good points to boot.
Did it have MAJOR theological problems?
You bet it did. Very serious theological problems.
But that shouldn’t determine whether or not you see it.
Years ago I planted a church in a Starbucks in Swansea, Wales. It all started on accident. Rick Warren may have planted the purpose driven church, but I planted the accident driven one.
I was only attempting to draw a few people together that I’d talked to at Starbucks to answer their recurring question about Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. It was toppign the bestseller list in the UK, after running the gauntlet in the US. I’d read the reviews of how evil it was and how we should all stay away from it.
The problem is, everybody around me had questions.
The night we launched that “one night only” reading group, we provided free coffee and cakes around the comfy chairs in Starbucks, and thirty non-believers turned up. The second night there were forty. The third night we tapered off around fifty.
Now I’ll be honest. I couldn’t get fifty Europeans in a room to talk about Jesus if I’d tried prior to that night.
Dan Brown got debunked.
Jesus was preached.
People got saved.
All because I was brave enough to read a book that others told me to stay away from. I’ve read the entire Book of Mormon, the Hindu scriptures, the Teachings of Buddha, and the Satanic Bible cover to cover. Why? Because they open up conversations and provide means to reach the lost.
When something heretical comes on the scene, I don’t look at it the same way I used to; the way I did before I was a missionary. Now I realize that “one man’s cast-away is another man’s treasure”. When I see something heretical hit the scenes, I know that it’s going to be a great way for me to engage people with the gospel like never before.
It’s a virtual Mars Hill provided on the platform of Pop-culture. Books and movies are a universal Areopagus.
Now I thank God when I see somebody give me something, anything that becomes a talking point about Jesus. I see it as an heretical lay up for the gospel slam dunk!
Theology IS important.
But people are just as important.
I’m not going to miss an opportunity to engage my friends in meaningful conversations about Jesus. Perhaps the only conversations they’ll ever have with me.
Most of these posts are written to tell people who can’t think for themselves whether or not they “should” see a film or not.
I say go see it.
Read your Bibles. Compare what you read. Read the differing sides of the argument, and discern for yourselves.
But DON’T, I repeat DON’T miss the opportunity placed in front of you to discuss God, Jesus, and faith with the people around you for the sake of your theological correctness. Don’t substitute being a soul winner for being a champion of the truth.
You can get mad. You can engage in American Christianity’s favorite past-time and just get mad…just like the Pharisees.
You can choose to make a stand for theological correctness while the people in your life continue to walk ignorantly into eternity…by stepping around you.
Or, you can place yourself in people’s way, by lovingly engaging them in their conversations. Sitting on the edge of the well with the Samaritans and engaging with them, heresy and all, and seeing them come into the kingdom. Entering the conversation they’re already having with the true gospel, instead of burying your head in the sand, waiting for the storm to pass, wishing it would all go away.
You know what’s going to go away? Your opportunity.
It’s time American Christianity finds a new past-time besides just getting angry all the time…
After all, it’s what we’re known for nowadays.
Hey, I’ve got an idea for a new past-time. It could be the same as our old one. You know, the one that Jesus gave us 2000 years ago, but we barely play anymore?
Ready for it?
P.S. – for a good review of some of the theological issues with The Shack, read Al Mohler’s post HERE.