I actually stumbled on this video the day it was uploaded – January 10. I sent it to our creative team before it went all viral. Now it is everywhere with different people sounding off on it. We ultimately decided to NOT use it mainly because it didn’t exactly fit the series we were in and we thought it would work better in a small group setting.
I’m showing the video below.
Overall, I like the video. I don’t interpret this guy as trashing the Church. Some will disagree. Which is part of the problem of the video, the shortcomings of the video. I really have 3 issues with the clip – that I think would be great for a small group discussion.
First, love the “voting Republican doesn’t make you Christian” slap at the very beginning of the video. Very true. But I wouldn’t have stopped there. Jesus had words for the Zealots and the Pharisees. Anything that compromised Jesus as the solution to the problems of the world, Jesus had a quote for. Politics, education, religion.
So my question/issue to him is this – does he feel that way about all political parties? Or is it angst just reserved toward the Republicans? Democrat, Libertarian or anyone else who’s hope for our culture is in the political system is in the same boat (albeit the opposite side) as the Republicans. To limit the sting of his words to one party is doing exactly what he is railing about.
Second, I don’t think Jesus was thinking of me on the cross. That is a very ego/man-centric understanding of what is going on at the cross. The cross is all about God’s character and glory, not the value of us. Yes, we get the benefit of the transaction of sacrifice – no doubt about that. But God was thinking of Himself – his promise and vision of a world without death and sin. And dieing for the consequence was the only way that was going to happen without blowing it all up and starting over.
So I think God was thinking about that. Not me.
Lastly, I can see where he comes across as an anti-church, anti-organized anything guy. But as I read his other comments, I don’t think that is him at all. I think he cares deeply about the church and wants to be a part of a movement that sees church get closer to being a Grace Station instead of Code Enforcement. I think there are glimpses of that in the video but not overtly so. I hear a guy who loves the concept of the church as the Bride of Christ but hating the examples and experiences he’s had with her so far.
And that I think is the real shortcoming of the video. There isn’t a deep, holistic handling of the issues he brings up. They make great soundbites. At times he sounds like a prophet…statements of profound truth and conviction. Then he takes an abrupt left turn leaving that conversation to sound like an angry teenager screaming shallow, pithy cliches at his parents that he himself doesn’t really understand. There are some nuanced, deeper opportunities he missed. Instead of pushing us into deeper conversations about theology or the church and what transformation COULD look like, he’ll take the quick exit to hit another platitude.
But then again, that might have been the point of the whole exercise anyway. Maybe his point was to generate conversations and dissonance with people who otherwise wouldn’t think twice about their own understanding of grace, church, Jesus, or religion.
Like I said earlier – I like the video. I’ll keep my eyes out for the next piece they produce. My hunch is they will get better and better. I think it’s worth a watch and even worth some discussion time in a small group. I think it would spark some deeper conversations of what is the church, what marks Christianity different from all other religions, and what exactly is my role in all of that.
Here’s the video: