Saturday, January 13, 2007

Chan, White, Pyro’s and the Like

I have left a few comments on various blogs regarding my old college friend Francis Chan and an evangelistic video he put on the web.

One thing this event has taught me is that knowing the person that is getting critiqued changes everything. On the one hand, it made me much more sympathetic to Francis (whether or not he even remembers me!) since I knew him in the past and have kept up on his life through mutual friends. I know something of the guy’s heart. It made me feel a little defensive for him – willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

I also learned that I had better watch out.

What I mean is this.

I put sermons on the web every week. You know, sometimes I preach things and think, “Boy, I wish I could go back and say that differently, or add this and that, or subtract this...” In fact, rarely a week goes by where that is not the case. But I still let our guys stick them on the web, where we average 247 downloads per week. I know that I could go through any one of those sermons and find fault, imbalance, and omission.... especially if I played it back section by section.

If I thought about that too much I would stop doing everything.

Look. I am a simple guy. I barely made it through High School (praise the Lord for summer school!). I managed to pass college and seminary and I work as hard as I can week by week to unfold the Truth of His Word. But I’m telling you – listen to some of my sermons from 10 years ago and you could have a field day with me! You probably could with my sermon from last Sunday, for that matter.

When I watch Francis’ video get picked apart, I just have to wonder if we aren’t going too far.

You might argue that it was an edited and produced piece and could have been corrected and so in that vein is different from a “live” sermon. There is some truth to that, yet if you watch the video it is clear it was not scripted. Maybe that was a bad decision... but in the age of infomercials and “reality” TV I thought part of the appeal of the piece was its very “live” feel. Script it and you lose that.

For an opposing view to mine you should read D.R.’s blog – especially the comments. Darrin is very good at expressing himself and I think he does so with charity and clarity. (I have to warn you though that he is a Buffalo Sabres fan... that could make his entire blog suspect!)

“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”