A few weeks ago, we ran across a couple stories that could only be described as disturbing. One was The Big Picture’s photographic look at Holy Week. The second was the story of Australian police having to pull the plug on a passion play for getting too violent:
But resident Louise Bridges, from nearby Hamlyn Heights, said the re-enactment, staged at an intersection at the Market Square Shopping Centre, was an “absolutely disgusting stunt” that would “scare children away from religion”.
Let’s just go ahead and get this out there: Christianity can be weird.
The things you do at your church don’t feel weird because you’re used to them. But singing praises to someone who is not visibly in your presence, miraculous healings and the worship of someone who lived 2,000 ago and thousands of miles away are all strange. Just like to you, some things churches do from other cultures are strange. But most of these things can be explained fairly simply, weird though they might be.
That said, there is a fine line between weird and shockingly offensive.
Let’s keep breaking that down. Sure, the gospel is foolishness to some. And it’s sure to offend some. In plenty of cases, offense or weirdness are justified. But your church should know well enough not to try and shock and offend those you’re trying to reach.
A gruesome passion display in an area full of children or a sexual billboard for all to see are displays of poor taste more than anything. So remember when you’re dreaming up that new campaign or worship display–just because it’s not strange to you doesn’t mean it won’t shock someone else.