The first buzz word is, â€œRelevant.â€
To tell you the truth, I donâ€™t know how long this series will be. There seems to be an endless supply of â€˜buzzzzzz words heading our way.
The reality is, it could last a year. There are at least that many buzzzz words out there in the new, edgy, contemporary, relevant, seeker sensitive, postmodern worldâ€¦oops, I got momentarily sucked in to the â€œBuzzzz word vortex.â€ Pretty scary really, for a moment there I thought I would be pulled under and cursed to an eternity of listening to these fresh [insert sarcasm here] Christian clichÃ©s!
But I held myself accountable (buzzzz) to finishing this blog (buzzzz) post. You know, I just realized something. I donâ€™t even know if I could write this first post without using several of these things. So, what I will do is put the buzz words in bold and follow it with a little buzzing noise so you can be prepared before you get stung.
Its tough but fair.
So, â€˜relevantâ€™ (buzzz)?
This word comes with a very necessary disclaimer. Maybe they all will, so let me get this very general statement about buzz words out of the way so that you (the reader) will really understand where Iâ€™m coming from. Relevance (buzzz) came into being as a buzzz word the same way most of these words do, out of a vacuum. In other words, the church had grown largely irrelevant (buzzz) and was loosing influence in our culture little by little. But that small snowball started picking up speed and the church began to get more and more disconnected with culture with each passing year. Literally hundreds of thousands and then millions were leaving denominations and churches in America as they perceived Christianity to have little if anything to do with the daily problems and questions they faced in the real world.
And what was the church’s response for he most part?
To dig in deeper and develop a cold heart toward those who were disconnected with their creator. There was a sharp rise in Hyper-Calvinism and the shameful attitude that â€˜whoever was supposed to be saved would be, and whoever wasnâ€™tâ€¦wouldnâ€™t.â€™ All this under the pious banner of following a completely sovereign God.
Funny, little if anything is mentioned about how this same God commanded us to go out and tell the good news of the gospel message to these same people. Little if any emphasis is placed upon the incredible love of a Savior who cared so much for these same lost people that He would come and give His own life as a sacrifice for them.
But, thatâ€™s another post for another time. Back to relevance (buzzz).
Is being relevant a good thing?
What do you think?
Of course it is. Not only that, but itâ€™s mandatory. Weâ€™re failing those weâ€™re charged to reach miserably when we talk to them as though their living in the year 1956! Relevance (buzzz) is a must! And I doubt youâ€™ll find another church in all of North Carolina that works harder at communicating in an innovative (buzzz) and relevant (buzzz) way than Southbrook. But we never sacrifice reverence for relevance (buzzz).
Ok, everyone clear so far? Good. Now, on with the buzz about buzz wordsâ€¦
I suppose this began showing up (the word, relevance) on the scene before even Willowcreek and the whole seeker sensitive (buzzz) movement. Actually, even earlier than that. MUCH earlier than that. Check out this verse to see it pop up in the apostle Paulâ€™s day.
The question for us today is, â€˜what are people referring to NOW when they seek to be relevant (buzzz)?â€™
Paul made it clear that he would not offend Jews when with the Jews and not offend Gentiles when with gentiles. And that has a bit to do with the whole relevance (buzzz) thing believe it or not. If you start right off offending folks, you arenâ€™t going to get very far. So, winning the right to be heard (buzzz) was important to Paul and it ought to be important to us as well.
Ok, apparently it involves holding back in some areas. But the verse also made it clear that you â€˜becomeâ€™ certain things as well. So adding to your knowledge about culture and being able to relate to your specific audience is also a big part of being relevant (buzzz).
So, my next question to you all is, â€œwhere does relevance end and offense, or even sin begin?â€
Honestly, I canâ€™t believe people even need to ask this question, but Iâ€™m realizing more and more that even pastors have blurred that line so the question must be more difficult than I thought.
One obvious example of leaving the land of relevance and crossing into the land of irreverence is the â€˜emergent (buzzz) churchâ€™s use of profanity in order to sound cool.
Seriously, I have heard pastors who regularly drop the â€˜Fâ€™ bomb for shock valueâ€”even others who do it because (they say) itâ€™s just â€˜who they are.â€™ I guess in being, â€˜who they areâ€™ itâ€™s just their little way of showing us authenticity (buzzz). But itâ€™s also something else.
Jesus was VERY relevant (buzzz), but He never sinned. Iâ€™m pretty sure He did not go around dropping the â€˜Fâ€™ bomb or even its Hebrew equivalent just for â€˜shock value.â€™
* He probably never smoked pot to reach the potheads either, but I bet Heâ€™d be more effective at reaching them today than anything or anyone else.
* And Iâ€™m guessing He wasnâ€™t a â€˜crackheadâ€™ either (although He undoubtedly would have been called one because of guilt by association).
* I know He wasnâ€™t a drunkard (yep, He got called that as well. Check this verse out.).
* He cared about prostitutes but did not have to spend time as a pimp to reach them.
Yes, no doubt about it, Jesus was relevant (buzzz) and at times it cost Him dearly. But Jesus never crossed that line.
He didnâ€™t have to.
And neither do we.
So, relevance (buzzz) today means, â€˜whatever it takes to draw them in.â€™ Blur the lines, cross the lines, completely erase the lines. None of that matters to a lot of folks as long as it bringsâ€™em in.
Thereâ€™s even a movement in recent years to use as much, â€˜Christian cussingâ€™ (buzzz) as possible in order to show that we can chew the cudd with the best of em!
Here is a partial list of favorites; Heck, Dang, Frickin, Freakinâ€¦
Not hard to find their counterparts is it?
And all the while, not a word is ever mentioned about it.
I guess the end justifies the means.
Ok, brace yourself because some of you are about to call me a Pharisee and â€˜unsubscribeâ€™ from my blog. But I believe it especially grieves the heart of God when we practice what i call, â€˜Christian blasphemy.â€™
Blasphemy is defined as â€˜speaking against or irreverently speaking about God.â€™
Top Hits in this arena for decades now?
â€œOh my Godâ€
There are more, but Iâ€™m not giving anymore time or space to them. You know what they are. But Iâ€™m not even talking about them. Iâ€™m talking about their â€˜Christianâ€™ counterpartsâ€¦
â€œOh my Goshâ€
â€œGosh Darn itâ€
Why do we need to come so close to the original if the original is sin? Arenâ€™t Christians called to a higher standard?
Ok, now the most difficult part of all. Let me end this first in post in the series with a confession.
Iâ€™m one of those pastors.
No, Iâ€™ve never cussed in the pulpit.
Iâ€™ve never even said, â€˜goshâ€™ in seven years of preaching.
But I have blogged using crap and dang and maybe one or two of the other cheesy Christian alternatives. And Iâ€™ve never felt great about it. The references to crap were to bring emphasis to Paul’s use of the word, ‘dung’ to compare the trials of this life with the blessings of eternity. So, I’m actually ok with that post. But I did another one at Easter time entitled, “That Dang Easter Bunny is worse than Sanjaya.” And you know what? I threw ‘dang’ in there to be more edgy (buzzz).
What a Dweeb!
Itâ€™s not necessary.
And itâ€™s not cool.
Ok, Iâ€™m done. Rough start huh?
It will get even rougher before it gets better.
Oh yeah, weâ€™re going there (buzzz)!
Iâ€™m definately going to bring it (buzzz).
So get ready and quite cussing.
Youâ€™re embarrassing me.