Just A Little Mind Vitamin
Like many of you who have been involved in church circles for quite some time, I’ve heard a bunch of sermons and such on what has often been called “The Prodigal Son.” I’ve been reading a book by Timothy Keller that has a fresh perspective on the section of Luke 15.
Got my thoughts going…so I thought I’d return the favor. Keep in mind that the use of “younger” (mocking God and morality) and “elder” (religiously moral but lacking in relationship with God) refers to the character traits of the two sons in the story.
“Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-guard ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren’t appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we’d like to think.”
Ummm. Wow. Did you catch the description of the type of people churches attract vs. the type of people we don’t?
“They both were using the father for their own self-centered ends rather than loving, enjoying, and serving for his own sake. This means that you can rebel against God and be alienated from him either by breaking his rules or by keeping them diligently. It’s a shocking message: Careful obedience to God’s law may serve as a strategy for rebelling against God.”
Again…how’s that for provocative?
There’s a lot more, but I’ll save it for later. This should be enough for today, patrons.
*fires up the coffee machine, listens to the neighbors fire up chain saws and wood chippers to clean up after last night’s storms, and looks forward to good conversation today*