Hey Church, can I tell you a story? I mean, can I tell you one without you crucifying me? You have a tendency to do that sometimes.
I guess I’m not really asking the whole Church – that would take a good deal too long. The only ones I really need to ask are the self-professed gate keepers of all that is acceptable within Christianity.
Would you mind a story even if it didn’t have an altar call at the end – if it simply left the reader with the Truth and trusted the Holy Spirit to do His job? Giving people every chance to respond to Jesus’ invitation is fantastic, but is there only one way to do that…every time? Funny, I don’t remember reading about a call by a preacher to come to the altar and pray in the New Testament? They challenged people to accept the message of Jesus, who He was and what He did, but they didn’t seemed too confined by certain methods or specific times.
Can I be like Jesus and tell a parable using relevant characters and modern situations? Or can I only preach a sermon from Moody? Not that I mind Moody and other bastions of the faith at all. They’re great, but I don’t think the Holy Spirit stopped moving after the Second Great Awakening. We should learn from the incredible intellect and superb spiritual lives of the forefathers of our faith, but learning from history does not require binding us to it.
Do my prayers have to use “lofty” language? Can I avoid the “thou’s” and “thee’s?” I’m not really good at speaking 1611 King James English (I don’t know of anyone who is). So can I talk normal when I pray and tell others about Jesus even though we all know Paul spoke in 1611 English?
Is it possible to use a beat and a modern hook to convey an important spiritual Truth or must my music originate from the 1800’s and 1950’s? Those songs were new at some point and reflected the musical taste of that culture. If Martin Luther had rapped would it be okay to do so now? What if the Apostle Paul had scratched like a First century DJ?
Could I possibly even make a movie without it being a direct-to-video, $100 production selling for $28 at a Christian book store? Can it focus on someone besides a blonde haired, blue-eyed Jesus? Can my film star flawed people who are not perfect like you? It would be so hard to find more than one of you. Should I even dare to allow non-believers on the film lot and let them actually contribute to the film? It would be a shame if they actually interacted with Christians and possibly wanted what we have.
Will you please alllow me to make a story that non-Christians would find interesting enough to sit through? Does the story have to be second rate, thinly guised propoganda or can it have an actual plot and real characters? They do have to hear the message afterall to receive it. I’m not sure when it became a sin for a “Christian” story to be anything but trite.
Is it okay if I use my story, like Jesus, to say “the Kingdom of God is like” instead of “this is what the Kingdom of Heaven is.” Not everyone understood the messages He was trying to get across either. It was not the clearest “altar call” in the world. He knew that those who needed to hear and understand would. I think He is a pretty good person to model myself and my stories after, don’t you think?
Is it okay for Jesus to tell a story about a group of hired workers beating all the servants of their employeer and killing his son, then the employeer coming and killing the workers, but not okay for someone to write a story set in modern times that has violence and murder in it? We wouldn’t want the truths Jesus was teaching to seep out of our control and make it to the masses would we?
Do you mind if I draw inspiration from my favorite storytellers – Ted Dekker (rebel Christian), M. Night Shyamalan (who knows?), C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien (heretics both)? Can I weave a tale like these that while not set in the Bible or during Church history reveals and revels in concrete spiritual truths?
Honestly now that I think about it, I’m sorry I asked you all these questions. I’ve basically wasted my time and yours. You’re not going to accept a story that you don’t personally write or approve and I’m not really interested in hearing what you have to say. Frankly, I’m pretty excited about overturning some temple tables that I have been eyeing for awhile. They really look like they need it.
So keep your opinion or voice it, doesn’t really matter. Chastise me or crucify me, I don’t really care. While your busy guarding the gate millions of people are walking right past without even blinking. I intend to at least make them do a double take, hopefully stop and talk, whether you like it or not. The message is too important to worry about your methods.