I met early last week with some area youth ministers to discuss our plans for this next year’s coordinated effort to host area wide teen events. I was a little leary about attending, due to the comments I have heard slung from others about certain churches or certain ministers in those churches. I went to the meeting expecting confrontation. There were a few tense moments, but it became increasingly clear that there are some real differences of opinion on certain issues. One of them, un-related to the health or even the topic we were meeting to discuss was whether or not it was okay to listen to instrumental Christian music in your car, and whether or not there was a Scripture mandate to this. I was thinking the whole time, “you have to be kidding me.” Another clearly hotly contested issue for us that day was in the area of clapping at youth events. Last year at this time I recieved a phone call from a gentlemen from another church who wanted to know if my ara wide youth event would sanction clapping in some songs. I though the phone call at first was a joke, again I thought to myself, “you have to be kidding me.” He wasn’t kidding, and because I couldn’t assure him there would be no clapping, which by the way, there wasn’t any, this man and his teens didn’t come to our area wide event.
I bring all of this up, because I am astonished how some things can hinder God’s grace. I know that God is more powerful than the sinful pride of man, but in the reality in our churches is that there are some things that we hold more dear than Jesus himself. We cling to the comfortable, in all in the hopes of playing it safe. A faith with out risks, stifles the the possiblity to grow. I am not advocating change for the sake of change, but faith requires risk. The music in your car, and even handclapping, and a whole host of other issues, I mean come on. Are these the issues we need to be splitting hairs over? If a kid from the outside, listens to Christian music in his car, instead of listening to Ludicrous, I say praise God. Paul cautioned believers to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Where is the renewal if we are listening to music that is sending a message of hedonism, violence, and greed? I know that there are some issues we face in the church that will define us, or divide us as a movement. I do not think the restoration movement and the churches that rose out of this heritage, and particularly the churches of Christ as we know it in the 21st century in the form we see it manifested in our American pluralistic society is quite finished in the process begun by Christ to be the kingdom of God to a sin-soaked world. I believe the restoration movement to be ongoing. If we get so high minded that we understand the Word of God completly, we are actually little minded enough to think we own exclusive rights to “truth.” May we not be so blind to the reality of spritually stagnant churches, and spiritual zombies in our churches. Our faith in Christ Jesus should be risk taking enterprise full of twists, turns and surprises. I don’t want to be dull-minded Christian stuck in the rut of ritual and tradition when the God I read about in the Bible is a God of wonder and awe.