Sunday, February 17, 2008


Limit your potential.

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me."

Many sound systems of all types, from pro to garage sale, have a graphic equalizer. I'm sure it's not called that, but it's a graphic representation of the various frequencies comming from the music. When you look at an equalizer you see the different lines all at different levels - this is what makes music sound good (yes,I'm a hack, it's besides the point right now). Certain frequencies are meant to only be at a minimal level and others stronger, so it creates a nice, balanced tone.

Paul talks about Christ's power made perfect in our weakness. The contemporary church it seems has translated that into something more like Christ making up for our weaknesses, rather than (how I now read it) him revealing his power in OUR weakness - ie. in the present state, as the present state. An example that comes to min is worship. When we talk about 'developing' worship, 'creating a climate for...' we put almost this mythical "if only we had X then God would reveal himself" ie. we feel we need to be at a certain level for Christ's power to be revealed. I can't help but think that maybe we're just not going to get at level X, and that we need to expect Christ's power to be revealed right in this very present state.

I use a culturally christian/church example here, because I think unfortunately the Christian message has been presented too often in a perverse twist on Darwinism's Survival of the Fittest. I think we've almost come to believe in this theory, but feel smug that it's more a "survival of the fittest and most Godly." Ie. we're given a one up on those heathens. Or in whom "God is most powerful as displayed by his/her ability to do X."

This christianized Darwinism continually pushes the starting line back, continually limits God's potential and in general creates a climate of Christian "shouting" (to take back the metaphor). In that we all want and think God should allow us to do everything. We sit in Church all wanting to give the best 'advice' the best comment, or the most appropriate scripture - and I have to think that our equalization is just way off.

Or maybe I'm way off here (as I right this I'm wondering...where am I going with this). To read into this that I'm calling us to expect less of God is wrong. In fact I think I'm calling us to expect more. Expect that in our limitations, we can still glorify, honour and reveal Christ. Yes, maybe Christ will make us an amazing guitar player even tho we 'naturally' suck; but maybe efforts would be better spent elsewhere (like on our knees).

The church certainly isn't the only one guilty of promoting this, business, school, life - all teach the same mantra of compensating for your weaknesses, and being all you can be. But the church is called to be radically different. So, maybe celebrate and expect God to work with the equalizer, rather than push to make all frequencies maxed.


Jordan said...

i think God decided before i dropped out of the chute whether i would have the gift for playing guitar. and then it is more useful to practice rather than pray to develop that gift.

i don't know about this post. i think so often the church uses arguments like yours (ie: God will just show up regardless of our efforts) to justify laziness, fear and incompetence.) that doesn't make much sense... the only lesson we learn is that we needn't bother trying because Jesus will cover our half-assed efforts.

the "Darwinization" of Christianity, as you put it, strikes me as an observation of simple cause and effect. "Jim does such and such, and things go well. Perhaps doing such and such will help me out." it's sad that Christianity is often bringing up the rear as far as "ethical" issues are concerned. why are we the last to wake up to the issue of the environment? the Bible suggests that a central theme of Christianity is the redemption of a fallen Creation. oops. we just sit around and say, oh well, i'm too wounded to do anything and the world's going to end anyways, and our transcendant Jesus will save the day. what a load of shit.

i am sick and tired of sitting in a pew and waiting for someone to turn up my frequency. the church has become little more than a single tone... a strident dog whistle... a place for people to enable each other's addictions. it may be time to tune it out and take my part elsewhere and join a chorus that might appreciate my voice.

Jeff said...

maybe I articulated it wrong. And re-reading it, I definitely think I did in some areas. You're right in that it can be used as an excuse to sit on your ass and do nothing - but I guess when I was writing I was looking at it from my that's not how I act (sitting on my ass), and if anything I was just trying to 'encourage' trying to understand how a worship team that I don't really think has a lot going on can still really bless people. I don't think that we as a church are ever really going to have that allstar team - and it's not that we sit around saying 'that's fine' but rather we still do sing, still do practice and expect God to work in our deficiencies.
Hmm I'm not able to think super clearly now - Colin Hay is playing and I'm waiting for my real life to begin.

Jordan said...

i thought your real life DID just begin...