Friday, December 16, 2005

Amusing the world to death...

Rosemary and Milton spotted Rob's post on Media & the Gospel. Its very good. As a lover of films I'm challenged, not so much to abandon the pursuit altogether but to examine my life. A created Universe can be enjoyed and appreciated, but nonetheless I do not exist to be amused.

Titus is challenged by Paul (Titus 2v7-8) to have a seriousness in his life and ministry. Stott's commentary on Titus notes the comments of Lloyd-Jones:
"I confess freely, I cannot understand a jocular evangelist... God back and read the lives of the mean whom God has used in the mightiest manner, and you will invariably find that they were serious men, sober men, men with the fear of the Lord in them"
(considering Romans 1 where God's wrath is mentioned 10 times)
Likewise Richard Baxter:
" cannot break men's hearts by jesting with them"
As I think about training students as Christian leaders seriousness is strangely lacking in many, particularly among young men. Having fun and being entertained are higher priorities from preachers, times of worship and life in general than the blood-earnest seriousness of the gospel. Those who have seriousness shine above them. O for more young men to embrace the gospel with due seriousness. (And I say men because it appears that young women often have more seriousness about them, though also there we need more too).

The spring term has two priorities for me. One is evangelism, a deeply serious matter. The other is beginning to work with around 60 new student leaders on my patch. A matter also requiring much seriousness.

See also: Evangelism like Jesus


  1. That's all very well, and I entirely take your point about young men in particular not being serious: I count myself amongst the many I saw at university being flippant over a serious issue,where perhaps joking was not so appropriate. I have particular memories of comitee meetings, where even for me, who likes a joke to a point, the fooling about got intensely frustrating and irritating.

    And yes, the girls were generally more serious - but sometimes serious to the point where they began to see huge amounts of potential harm in the smallest little problem, and risked not being serious in a proper Godly way but being safe, not taking risks, generally boringly predictable, and taking offence at the slightest joke that might have been to do with an aspect of faith.
    An unfair caricature, but soemtimes true.

    As ever in life, we need balance - the middle way!

    The first place we should look is the life of Jesus - he was serious when it counted, but his wit was pretty sharp as well, even when confronting serious issues with the Pharisees. Jesus being Jesus of course, he always knew the exact thing to say, funny or otherwise, and never got too close to the extremes of total flippancy or boring safeness.

  2. Absolutely, serious is not safe, gospel-serious is the kind of thing that attempts vast exploits for Jesus, knowing that even if they fail grace is enough...

  3. Hmm.

    Doctors tend to develop a gallows humour to avoid having to deal with death as much as possible (so I've heard). Likewise, maybe there's a tendancy to mess around and joke around the Gospel because we know in our hearts the truth and seriousness of it and are just trying to avoid dealing with the central issues. Like the fact that it's important.

  4. "I do not exist to be amused." Well said, well said.

    You make an important point about young men not taking themselves seriously enough. A big part of that problem is that, at least in North America, most young men have no initiation into adulthood, and thus are forever tentative about being men. It's a big jump to go from seeing oneself as "dude" to thinking of oneself as a man.

  5. A friend who has recently graduated and started lecturing at his university made the same point about the 18 year olds he's been teaching and their absence of sense of responsibility...

  6. Only have to look at the behaviour of some students to see they don't understand responsibility.

    It's true!

    "gospel-serious is the kind of thing that attempts vast exploits for Jesus, knowing that even if they fail grace is enough..."

    Amen to that, brother, and again I say: Amen!

  7. I don't know how to use the linkback function, but I wanted you to know I linked to your post today. Peace.