During the second General Session we saw some more of Jared Hall (an illusionist), yelled out praises with David Crowder, jammed with Building 429, watched "The Jesus Painter" create an amazing piece of art in real time, and even managed to learn about how abstinence and the spin cycle on a washing machine have a lot in common. The speaker was author Donald Miller, which is one I'd been looking forward to. We even had some good seats in the fourth row, thanks for the generous effort Scott and Brian put into helping set up the room.
By the way, this is what is left over from a balloon I popped after it hit me one too many times in the head.
Donald Miller made some great points tonight about what it means to prepare a generation to follow Christ:
- Before the printing press, churches were built in the shape of liturgy (i.e. crosses) and iconic because people who couldn't read needed to understand the truth. One church went as far to make itself into the shape of the cross while making towers that resembled the castle nearby. In a sense we said, "We're like the kingdom of God... and we're like you, too."
- During the Enlightenment Era, we began to present the kingdom of God as truth to be understood and agreed with. The sermons became longer as we wrestled over ideas and concepts just like the culture was. In a sense we said, "We're like the kingdom of God... and we're like you, too."
- During the Industrial Revolution, the average lifespan of a man decreased as they left their homes and started building cars. Motivational gurus came in to businesses and tried to compare hanging a bumper on a machine to being a part of a team or family. Within the church we began to tell people that we wanted to help them become "profitable for the kingdom." God became a boss, the pastor became a CEO, and sermons became self-help talks to teach us how to become more efficient at living. In a sense we said, "We're like the kingdom of God... and we're like you, too."
- We used to meet in a cross, then a classroom, then a hall, then a conference center, and now in nightclubs. This is not progress.
- The breakdown of the family didn't come about because of hip-hop music and the choices of some Supreme Court Justices. It broke down because we broke our connection with God.
- Why did we start to present Jesus as a product who could fix our lives and fill a hole in our heart that nothing else could fill? Christians still have bad days, and so it would seem the "product" doesn't work as intended or we don't understand it.
- "Authority" and "love" will not always going to give me what I want. At times God will allow me to be in pain in order to grow me toward maturity. Meanwhile, Satan comes along and says, "God doesn't work. What you need to do is try harder. Start doing this list of three things..."
- We need to raise a generation of prophets who define life as more than what commercials (inside and outside the church) tell them.
- Acts 17 : Paul starts at their meeting place... he went to them. Then he begins with a compliment while we tend to take a Darwinian approach to try and starve out the "sin" and the "sinners."
- Evangelism is easy because no one is doing it. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few... because they are waiting in their farmhouses for the wheat to come to them.
- We have a million programs to strengthen marriage but not any to minister to 40,000 boys without a dad.
- One of the most important aspects of the Gospel is listening.
- I don't like saying that Jesus is exclusive, but it's interesting how the more intimate a relationship is the more exclusive it becomes. We understand Christianity from a propositional grid where our conclusions are right and others are wrong. The Bible presents relational Christianity - the nature of which is an intimate relationship.
My takeaway questions:
- How is my perception of God and the church shaped by the culture I live in?
- How does a church community help foster a healthier future by collectively investing into the emerging generation beyond adding a nice youth program off in the corner somewhere?