Friday, April 27, 2007

Faithful or Relevant?

The two poles from which many discussions (arguments) in the church are based are those who strive to be faithful first and those who have an urgency to be relevant. I heard this discussed in a pod-cast by a guy named Roxbury. It echoed deeply in my experience. For some, singing the mass in Latin is really the only way to do it. "Agnus Dei" is being faithful to the intention and spirit of the work. For some newcomers, they are sure it's about a dear woman named Agnes Day. The other extreme of the conversation is so seeker sensitive that anything more than 3 years old needs to be dumped. Only if something was written or produced by people I know is it valuable, otherwise it belongs to the dustbin of antiquity. One has depth without application and the other is application without depth.
This conversation happens in worship discussions, mission discussions, curricula discussions, architecture discussions and even the discusisons about what names to give churches or classes. It's as if being faithful excludes being relevant or if it's faithful to our tradition and history it must be worthless. The worst offenders are those of my generation; the boomers. Those who are younger are often far more eager to know about a hymn or to hear a choir than my cohort. Those of the older years are far more flexible to new sounds if they come with integrity and speak to the youth. It's the boomers who are more often the pain to deal with.
The podcast I heard argued eloquently for insisting that both faithfulness and relevance must always be held together in the missional church. The relevant is effective only because it's being faithful and the faithful has lasted over time because it is eternally relevant (oxymoron?).
On another note, I'm off on a new adventure today for the weekend. I'm accompanying a bunch of guys from our church on a men & boys fishing weekend. It seems that there is a long-standing weekend retreat by a Christian outfit that hosts a spiritual fishing weekend. Those who know me know that I fish about as well as I play golf, so the question is for whom will this be more of an adventure; me or my host?


At 2:52 PM , Blogger kent said...

In the name of all that is holy, don't hook yourself!!

When style wins the day over mission that is when we are free to argue who likes what. The real question is how can we lead people into the presence of God? How can we open their eyes the Lord who calls them? How can in creativitiy show them the hope of the gospel?

Finally, I just can't see you holding worms.


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