I have been frustrated. Better stated, I have had a frustration. I could not clarify what the frustration. I knew it when I saw it. I could say, "that's it!" I couldn't tell you the root of my frustration. There were plenty of reasons I could be legitimatly frustrated by these things. But I could identify the cause, my belief. My lack of understanding was leading me to become hypersensitive to the "thing" that I was seeing all around me, in my church, among fellow youth workers, in Christian leaders I look to for wisdom and in myself.
A month ago, I began to get some clarity.
Good communication has style and content. Most do not master both style and content. A pastor must first be concerned with content. A sunday school teacher, youth worker or anyone delivering a message (Christian or other) needs to be concerned with the content first. "So faith comes from what is heard" (Romans 10:17a). By definiton content is the substantive or meaningful part.
Style is important. How we say something or present something has an impact. There is a robust discussion with in the church in regards to style. What can we do to enrich the message, to engage the recevier and perhaps provide additional meaning? Style.
Part of my frustration is I see far too many folks running around wanting to be "style" people. People concerned about how things look and how they are preceived. Some are legitimate. Some are what I call the "cool kids" (cool for the sake of cool). Most are those responsible for content.
Sidetrack: I declared the word "cool" dead in my vocabulary about four months ago. The word is over used and has lost it's meaning. If I say we are doing something "cool" what have I communicated? What does it say about us that we want "cool" leaders? If you hear me use the word "cool" I am describing the weather, the forehead of my child or I'm on a rant.
For months I have been confronted with content people that want to be style people. I have found myself desperate for content. Grown weary of "style" being the higher priority. As I mentioned before most of us can do one or the other (content or style) well. So, a content person spending their time concerned with style, while neglecting content is bad, bad, very bad.. It has affected my worship, forced me to examine my ministry, become the focus of relationships and left me exhausted.
This morning driving to work it became clearer. Context has to enter into the mix. Jesus had content down. He was the Word (how's that for content). I know there books about teaching the way Jesus did, but none I know of about dressing like Jesus. Adopting the look of Jesus isn't going to help any more than me dressing like (insert name of coolest Christian you know). Jesus made things relevant. Even if we are too stupid, proud, or sinful to see it.
"So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ." Romans 10:17
So I'm focusing on staying true to the Word and finding ways to be relevant to the community.
Help me out. What are your thoughts?