With my love for gadgets and technology in general, you might not realize that I actually do appreciate “simple” things. My design aesthetic, for instance is simple, clean, and minimalistic. The buildings that I design for my “paying gig” are usually simple and elegant, with clean lines and simple materials. I never accessorize my vehicles, and prefer silver as it is the least distracting color for a vehicle and usually presents the form the best. I would rather have a bowl of plain vanilla ice-cream. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want all the toppings – but I value simplicity more than complexity. There is an elegance in simplicity – a purity – that I appreciate.
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. ( 2 Corinthians 11:3 ASV )
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what we’ve made of the gospel. I think we would all agree that the gospel is really simple – a loving God was not willing to leave us in our fallen-ness, so He sent His Son to suffer our shame, making it possible for us to be reconciled to God. Pretty simple.
Yet, we act as if it needs help to be understood. We may think this is not the case, but we act like it. With our high-tech “experiences” laden with electric guitars and loud drums, we hope to help the Gospel along. With our fancy lights and trendy graphics, we hope to help the Gospel along. With our cavernous buildings and our gilded halls, we hope to help the Gospel along. With our charming demeanor and well-crafted words, we (admit it) hope to help the Gospel along. (Edit:) This does not mean that a pious sense of “purity” with “traditional” forms gets us off the hook, because they can be just as complex – just older versions of the bells and bobbles.
I’m not forsaking our methods or decrying our efforts. But, more and more I hear people say, “I just couldn’t worship with that church’s (fill in the blank).” Have we conditioned people this way? Are we putting our hope, to get the job done, in our methods – or the incredibly simple, but profoundly transformational Gospel message. It is what compels the heart – not our bells and bobbles.