I read a great post this week in Mark Batterson’s Blog. (Evotional.com- listed in my blog links.)
There was a time, just a few centuries ago, when nautical maps of Europe had legends that included the location of churches on land and church steeples doubled as navigational tools for ship captains. Churches were typically built on choice real estate in the center of town or atop the highest hill. And in some places, there were ordinances against building anything taller than the church steeple so it would occupy the place closest to heaven. Nothing was more visible on the pre-modern skyline than church steeples. And in a sense, church steeples symbolized the place of the church in culture. There was a day, in the not too distant past, when church was the center of culture. Church was the place to go. Church was the thing to do. Nothing was more visible than the church steeple. Nothing was more audible than the church bells. And it might be a slight exaggeration, but all the pre-modern church had to do was raise a steeple and ring a bell.Is it safe to say that things have changed? (Read the whole post-link here)
It strikes me that the very thing that once stood for the supremacy of church in culture (the steeple) has become a monument to the out-dated and tired. I’m far from being a church methodology Luddite, but I have to think that a lot of things we think of as being “cutting edge” will soon also look very old and tired. (Have you heard -or seen- anything that looks like a “contemporary” church worship band on any “contemporary” music video channel such as VH1 or MTV2???)
I believe as Mark states in his post, that “Irrelevance is Irreverence”. I think we should use whatever language is necessary to communicate with our culture, popular music, video, technology-whatever. I also believe the church should keep the “main thing the main thing” instead of identifying ourselves by our latest methods! (Steeples, Video screens, cool bands, or tent revivals.) Imagine for a moment that churches, from the first century until today , were simply “known by our love”, demonstrated by our actions!
Pep talk over.