After reading it, I thought of a #11-
Jesus is not loud music and flashing lights that made you feel good at a youth event. He is not defined by your infant baptism or the card you filled out during an altar call. He is not whether you spoke in tongues at a charismatic event or saw 50 kids come to Christ at VBS. Jesus is not defined by your personal spiritual experience.
I was thinking about this and had an illustration come to mind that I hope will be as meaningful to you as the above blog link was to me.
Here you go:
The Church today looks a lot like the Houston Rodeo (or whatever rodeo you visit. Mine just happens to be Houston). For the sake of continuity, I will # it for you.
- The Entrance - We all walk in the first time with a sense of excitement or trepidation at what lies ahead. We are ready to take it in and create our own story of what the rodeo is by what we personally experience there.
- The Food - Some people define the rodeo (church) by what they consume. The Houston Rodeo is known for excellent barbecue but also delicacies like Fried Twinkies. There are a lot of people who go to the rodeo to sample the “food” and define their experience by how well “fed” they are.
- The Rides - There are some crazy rides at the Houston rodeo. I am personally not a fan of being suspended in the air and losing my stomach on a piece of metal and bolts that was put together in a day but that is not part of my illustration. What I am trying to illustrate is that some people define church by the highs. They pass from ride to ride and high to high. If you ask them about their time, this is how they will define a successful visit.
- The Convention Center - At the Houston Rodeo, we have a large indoor area that is pretty safe. You can casually walk around without being exposed to the elements, high rides, or delicacies that might push you beyond your comfort. You can stay in there for hours and see a safer presentation of the animals and even have a few experiences but nothing too dangerous like what is taking place outside.
- The Stadium - This is where the action happens. Faithful Houston Rodeo goers (like churchgoers), you know the kind who holds season tickets and volunteer their time to its success, will say that you haven’t truly experienced the rodeo unless you have entered the NRG Stadium. The NRG is where the “real rodeo” takes place. It is where kids race on the backs of sheep, where teenagers wrestle cows, and where real cowboys are thrown off of bucking bulls.
Brene' Brown has one more quote worth mentioning and closing with here: