I really really really love listening to non-Christians, as well as freshly converted Christians, talk about spirituality. About God, but also about fundamentally spiritual questions and topics–human relationships, the source and future of life, the meaning of morality, equity, justice, freedom.
There are a lot of reasons for this, and I think the way I’d express those reasons further supports my point–first, that God has so clearly “set eternity in the human heart,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) but also that the Psalms command God’s people again and again, “sing to the Lord a new song.”
Meaning, even though Scripture is beautiful and the words used are beautiful, create new ways of praising God because he has made us creative as he is creative, and when we create we live out that vital piece of what it means to be made in his image.
But man, so often when we disobey God’s call to live as outward-facing communities, an unintended byproduct is the same old diction in our prayers, the same old phrasings in our conversation about God, the same old cookie cutter worship songs.
It’s a common phenom of linguistics and sociology, that languages and modes of thinking develop in isolated communities, to the point that I don’t even know how sick I am of hearing God discussed in the same old way until I get to talk about him with my friends who are not Christian, or recently became Christian.
It’s like walking into the courtyard of my dorm after being cooped in our sweaty basement workout rooms for an hour or two. It’s a breeze that’s been carried who knows how far to tickle my neurons and expand my mind; isn’t it incredible to think that the wind which cools you on a daily basis has been shaped and touched by oceans and baguettes and kangaroos and who knows what else, to bring it to that place where it meets you?
That said, it saddens me tremendously the extent to which Christian churches in the United States, even churches like Citylife in cities like Boston, are still largely filled with people who have grown up in Christian families or have been Christian from a young age. I read Acts with longing–“the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Isn’t he the same Lord? Can’t he still add to our number daily here as he is doing in China, ten thousand per day by some estimates?
I want the logistical challenge of a church made up of lots and lots of new Christians, or non-Christians. I want the youth serum that comes with hearing God discussed in these novel and unique ways, unsullied by years of “Christian-ese.”
God has given me a sample, and now I want a banquet. I’m so grateful to witness all he is doing and has done in Boston and at Harvard; pray with me, friends, as we look forward to what he has in store for us next.