Protect or Model?

Have you seen “The Book of Eli?” I’m still not sure how I feel about the movie as a whole, but it contains some awesome illustrations for us in the church. Emily and I generally do not watch movies that are rated R, but I had heard some good things about this film from some people that I know are of good Christian character. The movie is set in the future following a war that has destroyed most of creation and the people living on earth. The plot of the movie involves Eli, played by Denzel Washington, who is on a mission from God to deliver the last known Bible to a place that needs it. Along the way, he encounters a man who knows about the Bible and wants to steal it from Eli, because he believes that if he has the knowledge in the book then he can control people with that knowledge. This is the form of religion-when people use the knowledge of God to control others-as opposed to the relationship that God wants to have with his people. The villain says, “It’s not a @#$%^ book! It’s a weapon. A weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and desperate. It will give us control of them.” I don’t think this is the understanding of Ephesians 6:17 that Paul intended.

My favorite part of the movie is when Eli has a revelation and he says, “In all these years I’ve been carrying it and reading it every day, I got so caught up in keeping it safe that I forgot to live by what I learned from it.” Wow! If this statement does not sum up many of our institutional churches in England and America, then I don’t know what does. We get so caught up in trying to protect ways of doing church that are not sacred, we easily forget our faith is all about relationships starting with Jesus Christ. The more I read about psychology the more I understand that behavior is all about modeling. If you want to see a particular behavior in someone else, then you must model it first. Teaching comes in at a distant second.

As we finish up the summer with last minute family vacations, mission trips, and ministry planning meetings let’s not forget to hold sacred that which is truly sacred. Everything else is open for some upgrades as we try to reach more students through worship, discipleship, and outreach here at DUMC. We are looking forward to our Solar Sundays kickoff on September 12th and the kickoff for Defy Bible Study on September 15th! We’re going to have a packed fall with a middle school and a high school retreat. Be looking for details on all of these opportunities over the next few months.

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