Toxic Traditions

Much of this article is borrowed from a similarly-named article in A century ago, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine were street legal and even found in some consumer products. Cocaine was in the original Coca Cola formulation. Heroin was prescribed as a cough suppressant (I bet it was effective) and meth was the drug of choice for WWII soldiers on all sides of the conflict. Now we know a lot more about the dangers of these drugs. In the same way, our church has developed “toxic traditions” that often cause more harm than good. Here are some of the author’s points. (Note that this is an evangelical, very conservative author. Six of his ten points I either disagree with or do not think they are relevant for Grace.)
1. We see the church as a building and not the people – The church never has been a building. Sometimes our maintenance of the building takes priority over our being the church as a community of people trying to follow Jesus.
2. Making church services boring – Boring people and making Sunday worship an endurance contest doesn’t glorify God. Seeing a place filled with lost sheep looking for a way home glorifies God. Lost sheep won’t come back unless worship is something that engages, excites and is in some ways, enjoyable.
3. Perfunctory prayers – This is hard to define. Prayers without any soul in them can be distracting rather than connecting us to God. This goes for both spontaneous and prayers read from text. What would happen if our intercessory prayers became core emotional appeals to God?
4. Thinking of mission as an exotic location and not as a lifestyle. This year I would love to get two new things going at church. These would be healthy traditions.
A) Develop a small-group-dinners in homes program.
B) Go on a mission trip either to an exotic location or someplace closer to home.
Healthy traditions are the antidote to the toxic kind.

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