The Pharmakon Athanasias
S. M. Hutchens on Worshiping the Lord Without Lying About the Faith
I just received in the mail a glossy, color flyer for a startup megachurch wannabe in our area. It assures the reader "no church experience required," and is emblazoned with photographs of happy, active young people, including the pastor, in blue jeans and t-shirt, along with his cute little wife, similarly attired. "Remember when you were a kid and you had to take medicine that tasted really awful?" the flyer intones. "Even if somebody said it was good for you, didn't you just hate it? CHURCH SHOULDN'T BE LIKE THAT!" The message of this advertisement, which I am afraid is widely ratified these days, is that church should be entertaining, centered on the tastes of the young and the hip, and void of things that "taste really awful."
I wonder, really, what religion this is. The Lord on many occasions displeased—confused, scandalized, rebuked, and burdened—his disciples with his words and actions. As a result, many left him, the attitude of the ones who stayed being represented in the gospel by Peter's question, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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