July 12, 2016

Strengthening the Church

It’s poor manners to talk during a movie and movie goers will sometimes shush the offender, or call theater management to ask them to stop. For some time now our adult Sunday school class has watched video lessons and I’m amazed by all the sidebar comments that take place during the viewing. Individual comments (Praise the Lord, Hallelujah, Amen) mingle with conversations between couples. I realize folks are making connections and sharing their insights and emotional experiences. However, when others in the room must strain to hear the lesson over the extracurricular comments it weakens the message. Paul said, “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church” (1 Cor 14:26 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----You’re right about the distracting noise. God gave us big minds with lots of input features that only begin with sight, sound, smell, etc. Once the sight of the speaker and the few people scattered around your visual field has entered the occipital lobes for rendering into a quality visual image, the process of filtering extraneous images from the mind’s focus of attention begins. The same thing must happen for all the sounds we hear. Then it all has to be put together. And there’s only so much mind to go around for the putting together. So when too much allocates to filtering, not enough is left for putting together. And one missed word can change the meaning of an entire message.
-----Andy Stanley has a lot of great insights. I benefited very much from the few times I attended his presentations in your Sunday school classes. But the guy wasn’t there. He wasn’t a part of that gathering. Only his image was seen and his recorded words heard. He could not see a confused expression sweep through the gathering, to which, if he were indeed a good speaker, he would interject a bit more explanation. So neighbors lean over to placate confusion with a question to their neighbor. Nor when the “Amen!” sweeps through the gathering is there any felt satisfaction in amenning a TV screen. Sensing your communication has possibly been received is a part of communication itself. Once again, there is temptation to lean over and direct an “Amen” comment to something alive and present. And that subtle “rudeness” to the speaker most people sense about whispering during a presentation just isn’t felt so strongly towards a boob tube.
-----Worse yet, one missed message can change the meaning of an entire congregation. Paul was writing directives for worship services having not a whole lot in common with the theatrical events of today. If you will notice, he said, “…everyone has…” and “…these must be done…” He didn’t say, “Andy Stanley has…” and “…his must be done…” The reason he said “…these…” is because these brought hymns, instruction, revelation, tongues, and interpretations -all messages from the hearts of the gathering. For Andy Stanley these hearts are missed. Yet Andy Stanley’s insights are really good. Yet the gathering’s fellowship is really important.
-----What to do? What to do? I noticed recently the tube has a different image doing the presentation; I forget his name. Other Sunday school classes are led into chat sessions full of fellowship but almost embarrassingly short of insight. I note once again, Jesus told the angel of the Church at Ephesus that if they did not return to their first love, then He would remove their lamp stand from its place. Only a brief perusal of church history sufficiently shows the church never did return to its first love. It moved on to doctrinal scrutiny, a sort of spiritual mutiny. Ever since then, the church has been a following of big wigs more than a gathering of fellowship. But oh well, it is the most wonderful thing we‘ve got, and all the Andy Stanley’s are yet beneficial.

Love you all,
Steve Corey