I’ve heard a lot of Christian talks in my lifetime. It seems that in a fair number of those talks, the idea that the bible and that the gospel are explosive (or could be so) featured so heavily as to have been engrained in my head.
I’m just wondering… Is the bible meant to be ‘dynamite’? Is the gospel?
Its just… well, when I think about it, the idea of the bible of the gospel exploding in a great big BANG doesn’t seem to fit. There is something slow and steady about scripture, something growing, something expanding. Like sunrise or sunset – where you can’t quite tell the moment where they begin and end.
The whole smell of the Jewish culture in the Old Testament, the simplicity with which churches met and began to grow in the New Testament… Yes, there are moments of great drama and ‘explosion’, but is it not mostly the simple bread and wine of daily life under a new King?
We are exhorted and exhort people with the message that the power of scripture and the gospel are incredible. Which of course is true. But do we do more harm than good when we light a fire under people and tell ’em to go and use dynamite to change the world?
Dynamite is powerful and impressive – you certainly can’t go hiding your dynamite under a bushel. Dynamite is effective, speedy and the results are immediately discernible – not just by the one who lit the fuse.
So what happens when our use of the ‘dynamite’ is more of a fizzle than a bang? What happens when our use of the ‘dynamite’ brings no visible results and certainly not speedily or even effectively? What does it say about our lives when they are… frankly… normal? No wham-bam-pizazz here.
Too many times people (especially young people) are being told to go and shine, go and change the world, go and… blow up the bastards!!!
That may be paraphrasing a little.
What does that mean for the kid who is shy? What does that mean for mother of two small children who barely sees the outside world never mind have time to light a fuse? What effect does that have on the capable, dynamic young person who has grown up in a quiet country church with very few outlets for ministry? What does that look like for a new church-plant in secularist Western Europe whose members are not yet on spiritual meat?
Running around talking about chucking dynamite seems like it could leave people feeling useless, stressed, arrogant and dissatisfied…
It seems to me (tonight as I think ‘out loud’ onto this blog) that everything about the way Jesus came was on the small-scale. A town no-one wanted to go to, a young girl no-one would know of, a birthplace less than immaculate… A carpenter from a town no-one thought of, from a people who’d been crushed and despised for centuries, hanging around with a bunch of nobodies… New life coming to prostitutes, tax collectors, undesirables. A criminal’s death. Angels witnessing to ‘little women’, powerful preaching from unschooled fishermen, centres of learning for tradesmen and non-scholars …
Yes, all of it had an incredibly life-changing, profound effect on the cosmos but yet happened in such ‘ordinary’ circumstances
If we’re talking about ways to ‘get people’ with the gospel, dynamite is a pretty messy way to do it – I’d think its much more along the lines of putting the frog in the cold water and heating him up…!
How would it affect us if we thought of what the church is doing as a heating up rather than a blowing up?
We’d be less concerned with being impressive. Fewer ‘slick’ youth programs and polished worship bands, more real relationships and genuine engagement with truth. Depth rather than height.
We’d be less concerned with efficiency. Fewer 12 step-plans to greater holiness, more stickability when the going gets so tough it seems to be going nowhere. Faithfulness rather than results.
We’d be less concerned with seeing results, fast. Fewer unrealistic expectations of what it takes to know God, more actual living with and knowing God. Endurance rather than ‘success’.
The power at hand is indeed incredible, but does that mean we wrap it up in red, light a fuse and stand back to watch the explosion?