The speaker at Perspectives last night was very good, among the best there has been. It was fascinating to me because her delivery was terrible, but her words amazing.
The best part of it of course is that she was basically advocating cell groups. I’m not kidding. Hop on the bus. God’s on the move.
Anyway, she said a couple very interesting things. Here’s one insight she had. You know, in our Western culture we typically think in an individualist mindset and that that mindset is right.
Side note. I remember when I was in East Asia being a little annoyed at the Westerners when they kept talking about how the people there were “brainwashed” and such. You know, into believing in Communism and atheism and stuff like that. I don’t know, to me, that’s a little arrogant – we’re just as “brainwashed” into believing things in America. Like the idea that fierce individualism is to be valued above almost anything else. It’s a typically American idea, but I don’t think it’s right. I think it leads to a lot of problems in society and makes a lot of people lonely, much more so than in other group oriented societies, which take better care of each other and have a connectedness. Why is such strong individualism necessarily good? I honestly think it’s bad. But we’ve been “brainwashed” into thinking it’s good, so much so that we just take it for granted. Uh, digression.
Anyway, she pointed out that our Western mindset, which we often take for granted, can hinder our understanding of the Bible. So like she talks about when Paul’s in jail, the doors open, and the guard’s about to kill himself because he thinks everyone’s escaped. But Paul tells him they’re all there. So the jailer asks what he must do to be saved.
Paul and Silas’ response is interesting. They say, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” Not just him. Him and his household. I don’t know, it’s an interesting perspective – we in the West just assume that individual decision making is right and maybe have trouble understanding group oriented cultures that make collective decisions for Christ. Like, it’s hard for me to even comprehend how a group can all together make a decision like that, I’m so in the individual mindset. But the Bible has examples like that. This isn’t the only one – there are several examples where it talks about a whole household believing.
I don’t know, I’m not saying that someone believing can save someone else. But I do think the process by which it happens in the Bible might be more group oriented than we acknowledge in the individualist U.S. It was an interesting Perspective.
Another interesting thing she said was how, well, her fundamental point was that we care too much about growing and not enough about reproducing. Part of that is that we place too much emphasis on learning and not enough on obeying. We teach from the cradle to the grave in our churches. You’re respected because of what you know – leaders become leaders based on what they know. But, in her opinion, there should be a lot more emphasis on obeying.
In fact, she lists some reasons why the church’s overemphasis on learning over obeying is actually bad (she quotes someone, forgot his name). I forgot what they were exactly. But it included the fact that it heaps judgment on people – they are expected to obey what they know but are taught to learn more over obeying. It also teaches them that learning is more important than obeying. Other things I can’t remember but that I found compelling.
And incidentally, this is another idea of the cell church. Less emphasis on just studying the Bible, and more emphasis on doing the Bible. Hop on the bus.
Short thought indeed.