When I was a kid I remember a Nickelodeon show called “You Can’t Say That On” Television. Honestly, I don’t remember much about the show except the vague image of kids hiding in lockers and the green slime that became ubiquitous on that network over the next decade. The title, however, still seems to have a powerful appeal; the idea of censorship, of pushing the limits, and of being on the forefront of culture and tackling controversial issues. Over 30 years have passed since “You Can’t Say That on Television” made its debut and in that time that phrase has pretty much fallen into disuse. In today’s world of South Park and HBO, there is almost nothing that you cannot say or do on television anymore, but I often wonder if there is a similar phrase that many of us who regularly attend church have probably said, heard, or at least thought many times in our lives…”You Can’t Say That in Church.” I wonder if some of us are a little bit leery of being on the forefront of culture, of pushing the limits and speaking into topics and situations that haven’t been typically regarded as “Christian”.
Abraham Kuyper famously said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ… does not cry, ‘Mine!’” It is all His, there is not a single area of our life that does not fall under His Lordship and there is not a single issue or struggle that we should face without finding our direction and our hope from the pages of Scripture. .” God is the author of reality; of everything that we see, and everything that we don’t and Scripture tells us that He is holding all things together His power. He is God when we are at Church and when we pray, but He is also God when we struggle, doubt and suffer. He is God in the midst of tragedy, abuse, racism, hatred, violence, natural disaster, sickness, cancer, and even death. He is even God in the midst of all of the sin and the unspeakable evil that has marked the human race since the days of Adam. He is the Lord of heaven and earth, seated on His throne and nothing can stand against Him. Psalms chapter 2 speaks very clearly to this; “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?…the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD…He who sits in the heavens laughs.”
He laughs! He’s not scared, so what are we so scared of? If everything belongs to God, why wouldn’t we want God’s Word to inform us on every imaginable topic or circumstance that we could ever be faced with? Scripture is God message to His creation; it is a window into His mind and His heart. It beautifully displays His nature and His character and clearly lays out His will and desires for us. It explains His plans, His ways, and His law, and ultimately teaches us how we can be re-made into the perfect sinless reflection of Himself that we were originally intended to be. There is nothing that goes on in our lives, in this world, or in the entirety of all creation that the bible does not speak to. He is God; He is the God of real life and nothing in the Universe is off limits to be used for His Glory and there is no topic or question that shouldn’t drive us to Scripture in search of God’s truth.
Over the last few years I have met and befriended a lot of millennials (the youngest generation of adults who are currently between the approximate ages of 15 and 35), and one thing that I have learned is that we shouldn’t believe a lot of the hype that we hear about them in most of the church growth circles. Loud music, lights, and fog machines are not the answer, bigger is not necessarily better, and most of them are not looking to be entertained. Most millennials have more daily access to entertainment on a daily basis through smartphones, tablets, and other devices than our great-grandparents had in a lifetime. The biggest cry I hear out of the younger generation today is, “either give me something real or stop wasting my time.” They’re not going to come to church out of habit, they’ve never developed the habit; they’re not going to come out of duty, they don’t feel a sense of duty, and they’re not going to come to be entertained, because no matter the size of the show that we can put on, the world can put on a bigger one. They want to know what’s real. They want to know if we really believe this stuff and if it can really impact their daily lives because if it can’t then they want us to quit wasting their time because they’ve got better things to do than sit in an old building and sing loves songs to a 2000-year-old dude. So, if all we’re doing is coming in, putting a mask on, playing church, being entertaining or cool, and pretending like the outside world doesn’t exist for an hour or two…that’s fine, but don’t expect to see me there…I hear that Sunday is usually great morning to hit the lake. But if this stuff is really real…and I really do believe it is, then let’s act like it, let’s hit the culture head on and teach people that there is something greater, that there is purpose, there is hope, and there is satisfaction in Christ.