Chronological Snobbery

“Chronological Snobbery” is a term C.S. Lewis and Owen Barfield came up with to describe people’s assumptions that what’s new is better than what’s new, especially regarding philosophy and religion.  We see this all the time, especially when people say things like, “The Bible was written thousands of years ago.  Back then they believed Apollo brought the sun up in a chariot and that the earth was flat!  Clearly, the Bible has nothing to do with us today.”

But why?  Can’t we look at what people throughout history have accomplished and see the brilliance they displayed?  Consider the Egyptian architects who designed the pyramids.  Consider the people who “invented” paper… seriously!

Today, we build on what has already been built for us.  How arrogant and prideful to assume that we’re always right whenever we come across with something “old” that we disagree with.

C.S. Lewis suggested in one of his books that we read two old books for every new book.  I’ve always really liked that suggestion, even though I haven’t done a great job in seeing it through.

As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:10, ” Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.”

A few questions this forces me to ask:

  • How does this relate to children listening to their parents (and their parents listening to their parents, too!)?
  • What would our country look like if we really learned from history?
  • What would the Church and Christians look like if we studied the lives of men and women throughout the centuries?
  • Are we even aware of the extent of our own pride in thinking that we “know better” than all the generations before us?

Are you a “Start & Park” Christian?

Last week I was doing some work around the youth room with my friend, Andrew Barker.  He’s just  nuts about NASCAR (I have no idea why!), and he was lamenting about “Start & Park” racing.  I had no idea what he was talking about, so he explained it to me this way:

There’s lots of money in NASCAR and some teams are in it just for the money, not the sport or competition.  The driver/team needs to qualify to actually make it into the race, but even if you get dead last in a race, you can still earn almost $20,000!  So there are always a handful of drivers in every race that will go around 5-10 times, then pull in to the pit area and quit the race.  They’ve been labeled “Start & Park” racers.

Hearing Andrew talk about these racers made me think about my faith.  Am I a “Start & Park” Christian?  Do I follow Jesus Christ enough to pray for forgiveness, and then I “Start & Park” my faith, not going on to continue growing more and more Christlike.

Colossians 2:6-7 says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Jesus Christ doesn’t give us new life by faith so that we could live exactly as we used to.  In fact, if you live exactly as you did before giving yourself to Jesus, I really encourage you to consider whether or not you actually gave yourself to Jesus or if you’ve been deceived into thinking you can live independently from God while having his blessing… and that’s not at all what Jesus Christ wants!

Jesus calls out to us to be his disciples, not simply people who cheer him on from the sidelines.  Are you continuing in Christ, or are you relying on past experiences to sustain your faith?

Sacred Marriage

Sacred Marriage, by Gary ThomasI’d like to highlight a book today.  “Sacred Marriage” is the best book I’ve read on marriage and has been immensely helpful to Tracy and me.  The book is written by Gary Thomas and is subtitled, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”  That’s absolutely not saying that we shouldn’t be happily married!  He points out the many ways that God desires to use marriage to sanctify us, to make us more like Jesus Christ.

Have you ever noticed how you’re sometimes like a different person when you’re with your spouse – someone you don’t really like or what others to see or know?  I’ve noticed that about myself.  That’s what Thomas is talking about: Through our marriages, God reveals to us who we really are (the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hideous).  God wants every aspect of our lives to be completely devoted to Him… to be “sacred,” set apart for God.

Below is a video of Gary Thomas speaking about “How does marriage make us closer in our walk with God?”  If you double-click on the video to open it on the YouTube page, you’ll notice a number of other 2-5 minute videos of Gary talking about various issues related to Christian Marriage.  I hope you find these helpful.

Last Week at Youth Group: You’re an Important Piece!

“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

(1 Corinthians 12:14–26 )

A lot of students in our ministry go to different schools, play different sports (or don’t play sports at all), listen to different types of music, and generally don’t have much in common with each other.  But isn’t that part of the wonder of Christian Fellowship?  We don’t necessarily have to have tons in common with someone to have fellowship… so long as we have Christ in common!

Last week, every High School student received an envelope in the mail with a number of announcements and a puzzle piece with their name on the back which said, “You’re an important piece!”  We’ll be putting our puzzle together over the coming weeks with those puzzle pieces symbolizing how much we need each other to be a complete youth group.  Even if you’ve never attended youth group before (but your family attends EBC)… you’re still important to us and we need you to make us complete!

The puzzle is represents the bond we share because of Jesus Christ.  We might not feel like we’ve got tons in common (and that could very well be the truth!), but if we share Jesus then we’re tied together.  We’re going to spend eternity together, so why should we not talk now?

Students: Study the empty spaces on the puzzle and see who’s name is written in that blank space.  Invite him or her to youth group and get to know him/her.  Maybe that person doesn’t come because he/she’s never been invited by another teen and doesn’t think you care about his/her presence at all!

Parents: Encourage your teens to make some new friends!  If your son/daughter goes to youth group, encourage them to mingle and to meet some new people this week (even to call up someone who doesn’t come and to invite him/her).  If your son/daughter does not come, encourage him/her to be bold and to come… this is a great time to start coming to youth group!

Is God Angry?

A friend of mine sent me the link to this post in an email.  I read it and thought it was really “right on” and helpful in clarifying the tension between God’s love and God’s anger.  If you’ve ever struggled with how God’s Anger and Love are displayed through Scripture, this would be a great article for you to read.

Check it out here.

Let me know what you think…

See You At The Pole!

Here’s a good, short video that gives you all the basics about See You at the Pole (SYATP) you need to know:

Here’s a longer video about SYATP with Matt Redman’s song, “Shine”

I remember being a high school student shortly after SYATP started in the early-mid 90’s and praying at Oliver Ames High School with one or two other people, absolutely terrified.  It takes courage and guts to do this… but you won’t regret it!

The second video above shows schools with tons of kids… that probably won’t be your school.  You might be there with ten, five, or maybe even by yourself – but God will hear your prayers!  Pray for God to shine through you in your school.  Pray for your teachers, principal, and other school workers.  Pray for our President and other government officials.  Most importantly: PRAY!

Will we see you at the pole?

10 Things Adults Should Know About Teens

While searching some blogs for creative youth group ideas I came across this great site with a posting I want to share with you. “Top 10 things adults should know about youth”

Here they are listed out, but click the link for more:

  1. Teens are people too
  2. Teens need time
  3. Teens like adults
  4. Teens have a lot to teach us
  5. Teens’ body clocks are different from ours’
  6. Teens are passionate
  7. Teens want to “own” their experience
  8. Teens are fun to be around
  9. Teens can be a source of great frustration
  10. Teens are not adults