NEWS & NOTES
The two most effectual short-term tactics for getting people to think or behave in a certain way are shame and intimidation. At times in the history of Christianity, ministry leaders have resorted to these tactics in the name of making religious disciples. People can be shamed and intimidated into thinking or doing what a church wants -- show up every Sunday, give more money, don't question authority, etc.
But such tactics always fail in the long term, because eventually people mature and do a bit of thinking for themselves. And when they do, fraudulent movements fall.
In our time, large cultural institutions are using shame and intimidation to make cultural disciples. Entities such as newspapers, television networks, universities, marketing firms, and internet companies are playing on the human desire to be liked. These entities subtly threaten us with diminished likability if we dare to think for ourselves. Conversely, they subtly promise inclusion and belonging if we fall in step with their party line, whatever that may be.
So who is making a disciple out of you? Many people who grew up in church tragically experienced shame and intimidation there and so have resolved to be on guard against such tactics in their religious life as an adult. Yet some of those same people are now letting cultural institutions shame and intimidate them the way a church once did.
Ask yourself this question: What sorts of thoughts do I have that I would never share for fear of losing social standing? And then consider this: Who told me I couldn't have or share those thoughts?
If you can figure out who or what is the source of shame and intimidation in your life, then you can decide whether you'd like to continue subjecting yourself to that kind of discipleship.
What's more, you might notice that Jesus never shamed or intimidated his disciples into anything. He taught them his way, yet never insisted on it. They thought and spoke freely in his presence. And he loved them, even when they failed.
- Pastor Mark
THIS COMING SUNDAY
THE ARMOR OF GOD
Pastor Morgan Gagne
How much do you spend on self protection? Self protection isn’t inherently bad. All of creation is designed to take refuge in something stronger than itself. Some of it is good. Some of it is bad. Some of it is true. Some of it is false. In His wisdom, God allows us to waste time, live in falsehood, and learn lessons in the freedom of His love. And then he invites us to put down the false armor. You are protected by God’s love. Faith becomes ill in sin and fear but blooms in hope and love. God’s love overflows to you, and God’s love overflows within you. Do not settle for any protection less than that.