He goes up to the pulpit of his church on a Sunday for the first time without a Bible. He moves his hands across the empty lectern, and he says, “The time has come that we reimagine our purpose.” Those in the congregation hang on the word – reimagine – that is a word used a lot lately. What does it mean? Usually, it means to undo what has been done, to scrap what we have been doing and do something new and totally different.
The preacher continues, “I usually have that ancient book with me that we call the Bible. I open it and have you open it in the same place. I then go about trying to somehow apply those words, dating two to six thousand years ago, to this modern culture. I have found there is no use in doing that. Most do not listen. Those who do, really listen for the funny or moving stories. I believe most would rather hear a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” story that is short and touching. Then we all can go home and feel good about ourselves.” The listeners nod with approval. That really is what they prefer – some good music, friendly gathering, a touching and short story, and then go back to everyday lives thinking about love and human decency.
The preacher sees the satisfaction on their faces, the “that’s what we want” affirmation. He is comforted by that and this makes him go further, “I have been perplexed and even troubled by the words from that old book that go completely against how we view things in 2021. Married love should not be bound by opposite genders. Gender should not be restricted to anatomical equipment that each of us by a fluke of nature have on our bodies. Sex should not be held only within marriage. It is too fun and too satisfying to restrict to just one person in life. We don’t restrict people to one rollercoaster ride. We do not restrict people to one favorite movie to watch. We do not make people just do their job and have no outside interests. Why would we then, so unnaturally, restrict sex to one person?” The congregation is uneasily pleased. This is totally against what they have ever heard, but it IS the truth. It IS how they live. It is only in this building called a church when that old book is opened that all pretend to agree with the words on those pages, when, in practice, no one does.
Now the preacher is really feeling encouraged. He thought this might cost him his job. Now, he thinks it may get him a raise. Now for the big statement, “I talk about God up here and we all struggle to picture the reality of such a being.” “Truth is,” the preacher says, “none of us have ever seen Him, heard from Him, or seen any activity from Him. We all agree that if a God really existed, there would be no pain or suffering in this world.” They all nod in a liberating agreement (not realizing that the pain and suffering that goes on in the world is actually committed by people seeking their own desires). The preacher is closing, “I have decided to no longer bring that book into this place, and I would rather we make church a place where we can come together and make a positive impact on the climate and correct injustices committed in the past. Let this be our club, our place to discuss ideas, successes, and just help each other. God is nothing more than our imagination, so let’s not waste our imagination upon such feint considerations. We are all that exists, trust me, I have my Ph.D. Life ends when we die.
Government really is the only thing we have that can protect us. Science is what we need to extend life and who knows, maybe science and modern technology will be able to bring people back to life. This week, I am going to do some study into cryonics, and next Sunday, I want us to look at freezing the brain so that when the breakthrough occurs, we can continue life together here. It is time we focus on being happy and doing what pleases us. Rejoice in our Government and give them our undying devotion from now on. Let that be the big “G” that we serve. I think we will all be happier for it and can honestly bring our actions and our beliefs back in line.” With that, the service ends. The bulletin says there is a happy hour in the foyer following the service. A cash bar will be available each Sunday with all the alcoholic delicacies provided as the congregation seeks to enjoy the day and each other.
Cold – do you feel it? This is where our nation is headed. This is where we are headed. This is where our world wants us to go. Each of us are doing what is right in our own eyes. Cold – why would we label this cold? Because there is a void here, a darkness, a denial to the very cry inside each of us. That cry is amplified as the Spirit of the Living God, our Creator, cries out “No! Be still and know that I Am God. There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end, that way leads to destruction.”
I hope this shakes you. I had this dream last night of being in such a church and I am shaken by it. The Word of God is alive and relevant because the Author of that Word is still God, still on His Throne. The question to this dream I pose to each of us, if this is not what we want, then how will each of us live? We say we believe but how we live, if we worship on Sunday, and where we worship will show the truth.