Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Heroes, Pirates and Talking Donkeys

I usually try and sleep when I fly, but this last week I could not sleep for the life me on the flight to the west coast. I picked up a newspaper and read about three movies coming out this May, all of which are the third movie in their respective series.

The article really intrigued me as it talked about the amount of money each of the movies' preceding installments had made, and how much they expected the new ones to make. All three are to be released over a three week period, and they are expected to make over a billion dollars combined in US box office totals alone.

I guess when you combine the exhilaration of a half-man, half-spider superhero flying around New York with pirates and zombies terrorizing the high seas, and a sarcastic animated talking donkey, it should be quite an exciting month.

So, millions of people will start lining up in May to spend about $20 a person on a night at the movies. They hope to be taken away in the story and thrilled by the action. Two hours later they will probably leave wishing that there really was a great hero that could always be counted on to save the day. Kids will be begging their parents to buy hundreds of dollars of toys, just so they can reenact the story, until their parents have a headache.

Just another average weekend in America. Of course, they could have gotten even more action, adventure, and drama, even a hero that saves the day, for free if they wanted too. They could have gone to church. That's right, church. Where we learn from the ultimate adventure book with the most amazing stories. Where we learn of a hero that truly does save the day, and offers us eternal salvation.

So why do we spend so much money on movies to take us away when we have such an amazing resource at our hands already? Maybe it is because so many churches have replaced the Bible with light, fun, fluffy stories. Maybe it is because, at so many churches, you end up hearing more about the pastor's weekend than the Gospel of Christ.

I have heard reports that teach us if we truly want church growth then we need to follow certain formulas for success. We need to keep the sermons under 30 minutes or we will lose everyone. We need to keep the sermons light and mellow so we don't offend anyone. We need to make church modern and relevant or no one will want to come.

Since when do we need to make the Word of God relevant? Maybe if people were offended by hearing the Gospel, they might see that they need repentance. Maybe we need to think about the things that we are willing to sit for hours to see before we complain about the length of church (football, concerts, movies).

I am not saying that we should not go to movies, although I will probably get a dozen e-mails telling me that there is nothing wrong with movies and I need to chill out. What I am trying to say is that maybe if we brought the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ back to church then we would not need gimmicks or special books and reports on how to keep churches relevant. The fact is the Word of God is just as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago.

So have fun this summer and go see a movie, I know I will. But, when you are calling all of your friends to ask them if they want to see a guy in tights fly around the city and save the day, ask yourself if you have invited them all to church to learn about a man who died to save us for eternity.

For Christ I stand,

Bryan Kemper

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