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The Gospel of Appetite


“We do not want joy and anger to neutralize each other and produce a surly contentment;
we want a fiercer delight and a fiercer discontent.”
-G.K. Chesterton

The Gospel is a gospel of appetite.
If one isn't hungry or thirsty, the Gospel cannot help them. I've noticed this especially with Christians. There's a sad irony about that: Those who know the Lord are often the least hungry and thirsty - being satisfied with too little, contented with fast food spirituality and not the richer fare of the Bridegroom's table. As Scottish poet George MacDonald lamented, "Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because he would give the best, and man will not take it."

What are we reading these days? Look at the best-seller lists for Christian publishing; there are exceptions, yet much of Christian publishing is no more noble or helpful, than the nearest "life coach" offerings on news magazines or talk shows.

What are we watching? Christian television pundits and preachers are the new celebrity culture for the church. Are they offering us the richer depths of the Gospel or a superficial and therapeutic gospel where being blessed with a life that works is the goal? This blessing-centered gospel is more a result of American consumerism than it is biblical joy. In any case McSpirituality leaves us under-nourished.

What are we listening to? Frankly, I can't even listen to most contemporary worship music today, as it drones out unthoughtful variations of the same tired and cliche'd three-chord progressions. We, the Church, once offered the most respected, insightful, and creative work of the day. We were once considered the cultural creatives who could represent God to culture without dumbing down our artistry or the Gospel. But now, we've settled for insipid and pedestrian efforts at glorifying a God, who, by contrast, loves to create and creates because he loves.

We have lost our appetite.

Yet there are signs of hope. If you want to find out more about cultural creatives - those who offer art, music, writing, and thinking that is not mired in trite mimicry - go to Dick Staub's site, www.kindlingsmuse.com where you'll find interviews with some of these standout cultural architects. Not everyone has lost their appetite.

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Reader Comments (1)

I understand what you mean about contemporary Christian music. It seems lifeless to me. There is no poetry or passion. I have often sat in service watching others waving their hands and singing what I consider to be trite lyrics. It's repetitive and bores me. I looked around me and noticed people seemingly having a religious experience with the music, who just the hour before excluded me from a Bible study or said something unkind. Another person I knew blared Christian music in his car singing along in one breath and using profanity against other drivers in the next. I don't think God is the inspiration of most of this music.

January 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

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