Why the Church is Losing to LOST

Why the Church is Losing to LOST

May 25, 2010 by

No doubt many of you watched the series finale of LOST on Sunday night (don’t worry, this post is spoiler free), joining the millions of others who are craving concrete resolution(s) to this six-year Rubik’s Cube of a story. For your sanity, and general demeanor around the office this week—I, for one, am hoping all the loose ends and black holes are firmly tied and filled with this capstone episode. Because, let’s be honest, nothing is worse then a loose end in a series finale which leaves the door open for a full-length feature, somewhere in the indefinite future.

Truth be told, I’m no Lost-fanatic, though I can appreciate their use of transmedia and multi-layered storytelling, which I believe is a big reason they have accumulated such a big following… well that and the way they open pandora’s box of infinite regression, in which all questions lead to nuggets of information which act as teasers to watch the next episode (or season).

Now, I don’t want to digress any further down the road of the critic, I just want to bring up a simple question—why can’t we tell the story of the gospel like J.J. Abrams does with LOST?

I’m sure your first response will be something to the effect that your pastor is not J.J. Abrams, nor does your church have a production budget of around $4 million per Sunday. At least, I don’t think so. In defense of creative talent, there are countless pastors, writers and scholars who are just as innovative and astute as the famed producer. And while money helps, it’s not everything (shall we list bare-budget success stories, from The Blair Witch Project to Paranormal Activity?).

But, production budget aside, I can confidently state: The story of the gospel is just as multi-layered as LOST, with multiple characters, books, prophets and cultures which all combine to tell one whopper of a story! There are likely multiple reasons the church can’t seem to tell a story that prompts people to reschedule church.

Multiple Platforms
I think one reason we have been lacking when being compared to LOST is our inability to tell a consistent gospel message across multiple media platforms. This is especially relevant to how we integrate our preaching on Sunday into our interaction with parishioners and others in the community during the week. LOST was known for going above and beyond a television series as they invested in back stories and websites for the various companies in the series. Allowing the enthusiast to find clues and information that made the story that much more robust. It seems if we are to delve into telling a transmedia telling of the gospel, especially one that is transformational, some of our media strategies must be re-hauled. Making sure that we are utilizing video, photography, design, web and written content to tell a consistent story, as opposed to a confusing or contradicting message. In a nutshell: If the sermon is the only way we’re sharing the gospel, we’re not doing it right.

Quality
LOST certainly had a handle on quality, something we can’t always say for the church. We sometimes assume that quality is a financial concern, and if the budget is small, then quality will suffer. I would argue that a limited budget actually gives you the opportunity to be innovative to find new ways to communicate the message. To me, quality is a mindset, more of a discipline than anything else. The message of the gospel deserves a well-thought out presentation, and you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget to accomplish this. What you do need is a team of people dedicated to producing a quality product. Don’t be fooled into thinking that churches of all sizes can’t achieve quality. Make quality a value and never use finances as an excuse when you deliver a poor product or Sunday service.

Mystery
Also, and this is more a theological stance, we need to be better at having a pull strategy, rather than a push strategy. This perhaps gets at the heart of what makes LOST so engaging. What I mean is we must be OK not giving all the answers in our sermons, videos and written communication, because, just as LOST has figured out, the mystery is what makes people curious for more. Pushing truth, as answers or proclamations, deters many from seeking out the truth found inherently in the gospel message that has been inspired throughout the entirety of the Bible. Sometimes we dilute the gospel of its mystery when we spell everything out and leave nothing to be explored. Even in the end LOST has left some questions unanswered, and that’s part of what makes it so compelling. And competitively, if we leave the mystery in the gospel, we do the same, opening a door of hope that this world is not the end, that there is more to it, and the best is yet to come.

What Do You Think?
So how do you think we (as the church) can do a better job at telling the story of the gospel?

  • What multimedia elements can we embrace in our retelling of the gospel?
  • What ways can we foster quality and clarity in our communication of the story of Jesus?
  • How can we leave some mystery in our sermons and church communication, prompting our parishioners’ curiosity?
  • And… what did you think of the LOST finale? (OK, not so serious about that one.)
Post By:

Sam DuRegger


Sam DuRegger, lives in Pella, Iowa, and is one of CFCC's Regional Network Coordinators. He ruminates on faith and technology at TheoMusings.com and is the principal owner of Samwell Creative Group, a new media consulting company that focuses on creative collaboration.
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34 Responses to “Why the Church is Losing to LOST”

  • Terri
    May 25, 2010

    Great article, but you do have a spolier as your header image…maybe a suggestion would be to change this, I was going to share this article but can’t…hehe!

    Terri


  • Film Making Course
    May 25, 2010

    This is a great article that hopefully will challenge the church to get off it’s one dimensional butt and start telling the story that the world needs to hear.

    The big challenge is to engage across many layers of multimedia that some churches are afraid to adopt, such as facebook and Twitter. But at the end of the day, whether we like it or not, that’s where the masses are congregating and the church needs to be there too.

    Oh, and the end of LOST… confusing.


  • Kevin D. Hendricks
    May 25, 2010

    All right, all right. We’ll change the image.

    Honestly I don’t think that’s much of a spoiler (if you want to decide for yourself, you can check out the original image we used).


  • Matt Doebler
    May 25, 2010

    All good thoughts…IF you’re a LOST fan. But what about the hundreds of millions of people who haven’t watched one episode of LOST? Here’s what I would add to the discussion…create a pull, yes–but don’t make the mystery, story, culture, insider lingo, multi-media formats so intricate that they eventually become prohibitive of outsider involvement. There comes a point where LOST becomes inaccessible to a brand-new viewer. I think that the same can be said of churches and ministries. What begins as fresh, innovative, organic, and inclusive spins into a giant hairball of culture, lingo, and neo-liturgy (see Northpoint’s video “Sunday’s Comin'”). The challenge that most innovative churches face is going to be resisting the growth of the hairball that simultaneously insulates insiders and chokes new traffic.


  • Sam DuRegger
    May 25, 2010

    That is a good caveat Matt, making sure that we don’t ostracize those in our community… by being too intricately weaved. Although if we are weaving a story with the golden thread being the Gospel, one would hope that curiosity and the pull of th HS would be enough to get that person hooked, at which point, like a lot of the folks out there, they go back and catch up on the series… Or in our case the entirety of the Bible, spending the rest of their lives digging out the complexities and prophecy found in the text.

    And… I actually liked the first pic :-)


  • Mike Redman
    May 25, 2010

    Interesting take on the church as it relates to LOST. I’m one of the ‘followers’ of Lost, having watched the entire thing almost 4 times. Not sure that’s something to be proud of…but what I love about LOST is the ability to tell a great story and draw me in. The church has lost the art of telling the Greatest story out there, a story all about God. But what I fear happens in churches is the obsession with telling the story on so many mediums that they forget about the main character and what the plot actually is, because they are obsessed with the ‘art’ of telling the story. They strive really hard to create multiple canvases that are really excellent, cutting edge and keeping up with the culture and in the end we are taken on a thrill ride but we are not sure what really happened or what the point was. In my opinion this is what happened in LOST. They created a great canvas unlike any other in TV history, but in the end as great as the ‘story’ was you were left scratching your head wondering what the real point was. (which would beg the question, ‘was it a good
    story?’) I know some LOST fans will totally disagree with that perspective but I think it’s pretty accurate. How many churches do the same, they create a lot of really great things, use multi-media mediums, have this-and-that, but in the end their attempt at creating a great story falls short because they missed the point that in the end God is the story, he is the plot, he is the main character and often our feeble attempts and our greatest attempts can fall very short of actually inviting anyone into the story of God.

    Those in church leadership have a fantastic challenge in front of them when it comes to telling the greatest story ever. Thanks for the article, Sam. it brings up some really great thoughts that need to be considered.


  • Katie
    May 25, 2010

    Great thoughts Sam, and even better questions. I think the point about mystery is a big one. We have come to reduce the Bible to a set of “how to” guides rather than the grand Story of grace and redemption that it is. Not sure where the idea started, but I get the feeling the church thinks we have to give people all of the answers because if we don’t give them the spoon fed answer they will no doubt find one that is wrong.

    On one hand, I am a huge proponent of the use of multimedia in telling the Story of the Gospel. However, I also wonder at times if we get so wrapped up in how we’re going to tell the Story and what it’s going to look like that we forget why we’re telling it which in turn means we forget to live it. This results in a story that is contradictory to the lives it’s tellers live and that doesn’t make for a very compelling or believable story.

    I think before we can tell the Story of the Gospel in a more compelling way we (the church) have to reacquaint ourselves with the story element and live it.


  • Scott Smith
    May 26, 2010

    Great post Sam. I’ve loved LOST too, until the ending – but that’s another topic.

    I’ve had similar thoughts since the big finale. How can we the church communicate the gospel in a way as compelling as this tv show? For me, it was all about the mystery. I loved the quantum physics, free will vs. fate, converging storylines, etc. I looked forward to each new episode hoping for answers that would bring some clarity.

    I’m not sure if this is something that translates to church or not. It’s something I’m still thinking about and will ponder for a while. If we were to preach in such a way as to leave people hanging for next week’s sermon (a la LOST), that almost sounds like we are stringing them along so that maybe they can meet Jesus at the ‘end of the season’. There’s an element – probably the most important element – that should not be hidden! What can we do to make people anticipate next week rather than simply come out of habit? I’m not sure if this is even a concept that translates to church, but it has me thinking.

    Thanks for the post!


  • Vince
    May 26, 2010

    Mystery…good call. Even outside of church environment, individual American Christians feel the need to ‘complete the story’ every time they have a conversation about God.


  • Ian
    May 26, 2010

    I read the plot spoilers for Lost (because I’ve got better things to do than watch it, thankyouverymuch) and I still don’t understand what was going on. Sure, they had a lot of people hooked, but they’re not exactly the model of clear storytelling.


  • Sam DuRegger
    May 26, 2010

    Scott…
    yeah, by no means do I propose we string along our parishioners! that would be a form of bait and switch that just feels dirty.

    Ian…
    from those that are “hooked” I think they would argue your point that “they’re not exactly the model of clear storytelling.”

    I’d assume LOST didn’t have all those fans just because of the hype… there was substance and depth as well as character development, which gave the audience something to cheer towards.

    good thoughts all!


  • Dale
    May 27, 2010

    Mike Redman, I think you had a great prospective on the church as well as Sam. These are important questions and ideas that we need to consider. Why is the church dying in the “Post-Modern” world? We have lost our edge. As Mike said, we have the story every told and we have lost the ability to tell it to this generation.

    But not just this generation, it start in previous generations…and has mushroomed into “what does it matter” mindset toward the church and our story. I have seen church after church die a slow painful death, and why? We are no longer relavent to people and their lives. We need an infusion of the Holy Spirit and passion for the Greatest Story ever told!

    Thanks for the articles and comments, it has helped me examine my own life and church ministry.


  • Terry
    May 27, 2010

    Interesting discussion. Media — yes, all kinds, excellently (whatever that means on your level). Multiple platforms — much as I hate to admit it, I am now using fb & twitter. That’s where my people are. Mystery — Uh, reading the Bible stories old & new (not to mention Revelation) doesn’t require “inventing” mystery. Maybe we just need to rediscover the mystery for ourselves. Storyline & ending — the multilayering is already there because we are part of the story. Not a made up fantasy-island-goes-to-hell-or-purgatory-or-sidewayslimbo story, but the real, everyday stories of our lives that make up The Story. Maybe we should pay more attention to the truth as it is in our lives (bad & good) so we can understand the Truth as it is in His Story. As for the ending of “Lost” — it was entertaining (& theosophically silly at times). Personally I like the season finale of “Parenthood” better.


  • Sara
    May 28, 2010

    I’m what you would call a ‘LOST atheist’. I have never watched LOST. I never will. It never appealed to me. I saw the trailers and it immediately fell short for me. The entire plot seemed impossible. Flat. Implausible. Everytime I heard people croon over this show and sing its praises, my stomach churned. I wanted to leave the room. I wanted to gouge my eyes out and stab at my ear drums until they bled and I became deaf and could no longer hear their incessant bleating. “Oh but you SHOULD watch it!” they would tell me. “Sure, it’s confusing, but it is SO GOOD! Of course you’ll need to watch it from the beginning…”

    But why would I like it? Because it appeals to the thinker in me. It appeals to the cynic. It’s well written. It has so many layers. It deals with religion. It has mystery. But when it’s Season Three and I’d have to start at Season One to learn about characters that are no longer around…? I don’t have time to devote to television. I have a life! Give me the Cliff’s Notes version. Synopsis! Summary! But no one could. This is bad writing, if you can’t summarize a general plot. Even the Good News can be wrapped up into metaphor. Jesus did it over and over, likening the Kingdom of G-d as yeast, a mustard seed and its yield, a feast where the original guests were too busy to show up so the poor and destitute were invited instead. He spread out his teachings over time, but he kept repeating his one point over and over, just in different manners and with different stories.

    I’d rather spend my time reading a book. I have a life to get back to, thank you very much.


  • Scott Smith
    May 28, 2010

    @Sara

    “I’d rather spend my time reading a book. I have a life to get back to, thank you very much.”

    Yet you would take the time to read a post clearly on a topic you dislike, and spend even more on forming a response! ;o)

    I understand what you are saying. But I would offer the following:

    #1 – It is entertainment, just as a book is entertainment. If it doesn’t appeal to you, then stay as you are and you will have lost nothing.

    #2 – It does make you think. I have had a LOT of discussions with friends that began as questions posed by the show. We did not discuss the show itself mind you, but the eternal implications and life lessons that it raised. To me, that was very valuable. Your mileage may vary.

    #3 – Sure, Jesus and the NT writers summarized the gospel message very succinctly. We can do the exact same with LOST. I’ll take a stab: “It is the story of a group of people who lost their lives as they knew them, but through their sometimes bizarre experiences, learned that truly finding their lives could only happen in community.” So there you have it – LOST in a nutshell. Does it say anything about what happened in the show? Not by a longshot! So, just as Jesus’ soundbites did a fantastic job of encapsulating the gospel, they do not tell us of his miracles, his parables, or his character. If you want those, you have to read the book. Likewise, if you want a better understanding of LOST, you’ll have to start at the beginning. If you choose not to spend the 120 hours required, you will have lost nothing. But neither will you will have gained anything. ;)

    Seriously though – it’s not a show that will appeal to everyone. It had it’s ups and downs, but I do not regret having watched it!


  • Sheila
    May 28, 2010

    I agree that as Christians we seem to want to take the mystery out of the story. As a big mystery reader, that’s what I love about the story. The mystery, the I don’t know how it will happen. But the best part of the story is that we do know the ending even if we don’t know the details. All the speculation and trying to dissect the Scriptures in order to obtain security from knowledge (I’m thinkin of all the end times stuff) simply takes the focus off today and living each day for Jesus. It kills the mystery and puts the focus on us rather than others.

    Although I haven’t watched LOST, I think this is a great analogy for treating the gospel as the Greatest Story ever told and revelling in the mystery and awesomeness of God. If you have a chance, try viewing a DVD called The Hope. It’s an attempt to help people see the thread of the story throughout the bible from OT to NT.


  • Sara
    May 28, 2010

    @Scott:
    You’re missing my point. In seeking to be understood, we must first understand.

    My point in having an opinion in what I consider a gross waste of time is exactly what others see in church or religion in general. They’ve read the Bible from cover to cover, having a better understanding than a majority of Christians than I know and many pastors. These are people I hang out with, that I dialogue with, that I am friends with. They understand the “mystery” of Jesus and of the Christian faith but they see that too many inside are caught up in the pomp and circumstance of religion. Too much intricacy, too many layers. Too many rules. Too many people trying to tell them a different story than what they’ve seen or experienced for themselves. Too many people telling them that they need to go back to the beginning because they’ve missed something. Too many people telling them that the plot really isn’t what they thought it was to begin with.

    It’s true. We all can’t figure out what the Bible is about to begin with. Some say it’s an instruction book. Some say it’s about Jesus. Some say it’s a book of stories and then about the life of Christ and then about how the world will end. Some say it will help you live a better and more prosperous life because G-d loves you and has a wonderful plan for you. Some say it’s the Word of G-d but when you ask them what that really means, they can’t pin it down except that G-d “talked” to a bunch of people over thousands of years and they wrote a bunch of stuff down. No wonder people on the outside are confused. I wouldn’t want to go back to the beginning and start all over if I had it all figured out for myself either.

    If I had it pinned down to “Be like Jesus and live like him” then that’s what I’d keep on believing. If someone else told me to start over, I’d tell him to go jump off a cliff because I don’t have that kind of time to re-read everything and get all my ducks, or verses, back in a row to read like that. That’s a lot of reworking when it comes to mindset.


  • Cathy I
    May 28, 2010

    loved the show…loved the ending…loved this article (and all the comments)…loved the original image…

    let’s get people talking (engagement)…then let’s get people doing(ministry)

    p.s. loved the mystery…


  • Peter
    May 28, 2010

    Interesting, but yet LOST is not REALITY and THE GOSPEL IS. God also did not call us to entertain either, even though we are use to it and crave it. It’s all about the anointing and the power, not the production and the mystery.


  • Brad Reimer
    May 29, 2010

    I think part of the problem that we have in “telling” the story is that that’s exacly what what Christian rely on – telling people what we think we need to say or what we think is the way it should be said.

    I believe that what we need to be doing is “showing” what the greatest story ever told. Too many non-Christians have either been told enough or have the impression that the story is only revealed in stereotypical methods – i.e “fire and brimstone” or “lovey-dovey”.

    The reality is that as a Christian, each of our testimonies is unique and meaningful. In one sense, the revelation of God’s perfect love through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus is the only story that matters … but the only way we have to make it real is to a) freely share our testimony in a mutal relationship with non-believers (the first part of the show) and then lb) live a Christian life not as stereotypes but as ourselves, demonstrating Christ to the best of our abilities (the second part of the show).

    And that’s the difference between Lost and wehre efforts to share the Gospel fall short. Too much exposition, not enough ambiguity, and too much desire to see our “viewers” understanding of the mystery be exactly the same as our own.


  • Kristi
    May 29, 2010

    great post


  • Sam DuRegger
    May 29, 2010

    Fantastic discussion everyone! I’m loving the different takes on ministry, media and church.


  • Sara
    May 30, 2010

    @Scott:
    My point has been missed. In order to be understood, first one must seek to understand.

    Too many people are “out there” banging around, telling others this and that and saying “This is what the Bible is about” when others who have read the book cover to cover (Atheists, skeptics, Buddhists, Mormons, anyone outside Christianity as you may know it) are trying to tell us they know what the Bible is about. There is HUGE miscommunication going on.

    I have many Atheist friends –and I do mean friends, not, acquaintances or colleagues– who have read the Bible cover-to-cover, and have a better understanding of it than many Christians or even pastors do. My conversations with them go much deeper and farther than any churched person. The last thing someone who grew up in church wants to do is start over and gain a new understanding of what (s)he supposedly already knows or understands. Unless the realization is there that G-d cannot be boxed or understood or comprehended or watered down to three points on a Sunday.
    The idea that the Bible is merely an instruction book got me off my Christian walk and condemned me to heresy for many. Others preach this to me over and over. This is the story of the Bible to them. Others believe the Bible is a book of stories and moral teachings to live by. Others preach that the Bible is about G-d and Jesus and history and how we are to live. Others believe that it all pulls together a phantom of who Jesus is… aspects of him. Others believe it is poetry and prophecy and history and art and principles and a guide about spirituality leading up to the life of Jesus. Some ignore the Old Testament all together and never read it, only purchasing the second half. Some believe that it tells the story of an angry god who suddenly became human and forgiving after hundreds of years and changed his mind about who is chosen people were, dying on a cross to prove it. Some choose to follow a belief pattern that G-d will bless you materially and in your physical life with good health if you follow his laws and teachings. Others shun the outside world because that is what the book teaches.

    Each Christian background gleans something different from this book, so is it any wonder “outsiders” have a hard time deciphering what exactly we’re teaching? The Good News was supposed to be simple. LOST isn’t simple. I cannot commit my time or attention to something that I find complex and so intricate that even its followers cannot give a brief –and unified summary– of what the basic storyline was.

    That is my point and analogy.


  • Danny Bixby
    June 1, 2010

    Personally, I think it’s because LOST tells a better story than the church does.

    You can break it down into elements or presentation if you want to, as LOST certainly outshines the church there. But I think the real reason is because the story that the church is telling just sucks.

    There is a disconnect between the story God has given us, and the one we communicate to the world.

    The 2nd one is crap, is what most people see & hear.


  • Loren C. Klein
    June 1, 2010

    So we’re supposed to create a multimedia campaign with a muddled story that only has a tenuous connection to reality because we’re making up as we go along anyway and sell it as “deep” and “multi-layered”?

    I’m intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.


  • Sara
    June 1, 2010

    Westernizing an Eastern religion is a main problem. Christianity/Judaism did not start out in a country where personalization and individuality ruled. Nor was freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness the priority of the day. It was community, the sum of parts; not “A Personal Relationship With My god.” G-d was with all, in all, and made all. He cared for the sparrows which he created, so could it be conceived that he also cared for man, which he also created? It was all interconnected. Nothing was compartmentalized. Jesus preached that there was no line. There was no line between the sacred and profane as the Essenes wanted to separate from, nor the uneducated and religiously baptized as the Pharisees pointed out day in and day out. It wasn’t about infiltrating the government and gaining control from within as the Zealots salivated over.

    Still The Church had these parts in the beginning. Unity isn’t conformity. Each individual didn’t get swallowed up by the ocean. Each story was important, but each saw that the bigger story was more important. That’s how The Church grew. It’s not about fighting over who’s got the best story or how to tell it or what the best means is. It’s remembering where we came from, remembering that not everyone knows this story, and that we are missionaries in our own culture. We have to adapt to it, not expect others to adapt to us. The unity of parts is better than running around like a bunch of individuals pretending to be part of something bigger.


  • Emily
    June 3, 2010

    Personally, I think it’s because LOST tells a better story than the church does.

    You can break it down into elements or presentation if you want to, as LOST certainly outshines the church there. But I think the real reason is because the story that the church is telling just sucks.

    There is a disconnect between the story God has given us, and the one we communicate to the world.

    The 2nd one is crap, is what most people see & hear.


  • Tom Kaye
    June 3, 2010

    I think the reason Hollywood tells better stories is because they aren’t constrained by the straw soldier “role model.” Conservative Christians demand that the character’s representing Christ be almost as sinless as He is. And if they do “stumble” (but never, ever JUMP into sin), they must immediately be contrite and suffer some consequence of it.

    The Bible is devoid of such a character.

    I remember hearing Chuck Swindoll doing a series on King David. What a ROTTEN PERSON DAVID WAS!! A lousy father. A terrible husband. A jealous, wrathful man given to lofty highs and dark, dank, despairing lows. Today we might say he suffered from bi-polar disorder.

    Now QUICK! Imagine him in his own television series, say as a cop! A bold, brave, CHRISTIAN cop who, halfway through the first season cheats with his partner’s wife and then “stumbles on the carpet” as he and his partner are charging into a drug den with the result that his partner gets killed.

    Did he stumble on purpose or was did he “really” trip?

    Then, at the funeral, “Detective” David delivers a euology complete with a Scripture-laden salvation message and an alter call, to which a half-dozen fellow officers respond, coming forward and kneeling at the casket of their fallen comrade (I was at a Christian cop’s funeral at which that was done per his request).

    After the funeral, Detective David goes to the home of his partner’s widow to “comfort” her. The two sadly embrace on the front stoop; he steps inside. She closes the door.

    End of Season One.

    Can you see it? I’m not sure I can.


  • Sam DuRegger
    June 4, 2010

    Tom… your thoughts on David are spot on. and your pilot episode seems produce-able :-)

    As we look at the Bible a lot of the characters we have studied and idolized are quite smudged and broken people, and that I think is a point we can take into the pulpit. Brokenness is a human trait, and putting veneers up to cover our cracks just looks fake and manipulative.

    Say, did you ever see the series “Kings” it is a David story told in modern day, quite good and I wish it wasn’t cancelled as it was a fantastic take on 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. If your interested you can watch the first and only season on hulu.com –> http://www.hulu.com/kings

    Oh, and just a quick disclaimer it’s rated [PG-13] if not [R] for content.


  • Tom
    June 4, 2010

    Sam,

    No, I did not get a chance to watch it. I’ll check it out on hulu. Thanks for the tip.

    I remember the T.V. series “Touched by an Angel.” I almost never watched it. Too sacchrine for me. But the few times I did, I was amazed at how open the characters were in talking seriously about the problem of the week and relating faith in God to it. Much better than “Highway to Heaven”, which I also never watched but a few times.

    Once, while watching TBAA, I was annoyed they didn’t mention Jesus. Being a Christian I wasn’t thrilled with this generic “God” getting all the press. But then it occurred to me – Where in all the world’s religions is there a “God” like the One they are talking about? Nowhere except the Bible. And not just the Bible, the New Testament!! So I lightened up on the show.

    And then, I heard the last episode (which I recorded but then someone erased before I could view it) would feature the Angel helping a guy in prison but the guy was going to turn out to be Jesus! I really wanted to see that one.

    The challenge I face in trying to be creative salt in this culture is, I wonder if there’s value in merely “Christianizing” a culture. I’m sure there is for the culture, for it’s citizens in the here and now, but does it ever lead anyone to salvation through Christ? Or is culture where the Parable of the Wheat and Tares comes in? Catholic theology says the field is the Church and within it are both true Christians and false. Protestants tend to think the field is the world, which sort of negates the whole “Let them grow together” idea.

    Personally, most churches seem to have more tares than wheat in them, which really, really annoys me. I prefer to be around people who mostly resemble me and my expression of the Gospel. In my worldview, the more denominations the better! Seriously. I think there could legitimately be thousands and thousands of “expressions” of the Gospel in every town and city in the world. Each one drawing people who feel welcomed by it’s Life.

    Confusion? Anarchy? Too much individuality? Yep! Just like the internet.

    I read a quote recently about the internet. Something like: the internet is the first ever worldwide experiment with absolute anarchy. Or something to that effect. I’m not sure where we’re going with it, but it will definitely be an interesting ride.


  • Amy
    June 6, 2010

    great post


  • Sara
    June 7, 2010

    There are plenty of people who won’t watch shows b’cause ‘god’ isn’t mentioned. Then throw out your Bible because The Book of Esther doesn’t mention one either. For that very reason, there was debate on whether or not to include it in the final Canon. Just because something says ‘Jesus Saves’ doesn’t mean the message is genuine or necessary. I know of no one who came to a lasting knowlege of faith thanks to a superball or change purse made in China.


  • Paul
    June 27, 2010

    Very interesting. I’m very supportive of a variety of formats…..I think that the mode of communication is important. I do believe, however, that scripture indicates that it’s the Word of God that’s active, alive, and powerful. I suppose the biggest challenge for me is striking a balance between substantive delivery and a circus act.



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