I’m glad I got out last night. I’ve been struggling with my blog because I’ve been doing nothing for the last week but unpacking and painting, and painting and unpacking. Last night Diane and I went into Cumberland. We ate at Uncle Jack’s Pizza, had dessert at European Desserts and More, and watched fireworks from Canal Place.
We sat at a covered table outside the dessert place across from another couple. As we talked a little, we discovered that they were also Christians. We talked about authors/pastors and they mentioned Rick Warren and Max Lucado. Diane and I raised them Francis Chan and went all in with David Platt.
I have nothing against Rick Warren; I’ve read the Purpose Driven Life. I’ve got a Max Lucado Study Bible, seriously. Max has cute little stories in the margins. But Warren and Lucado are a little like Joel Osteen to me. Diane called it a “Cotton Candy Christianity”. And I think most people absolutely love cotton candy. (And that reminds me I’m really going to miss the commercial cotton candy machine we had at Mason UMC). They are like the person who is always complimenting you. It’s not that we never need a hug because sometimes we do. But if all we ever hear are the kind words that Jesus spoke, we don’t get a full picture of Jesus.
Francis Chan and David Platt are pastors who challenge the hearer. Like Jesus did, they call out the comfortable. They talk about how we prepare too much for retirement and prepare too little for the day we meet the One who created us. They would undoubtedly love this paraphrase from C.S. Lewis: “The church exists to bring people to Christ. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, and sermons are a waste of time.”
Cotton candy is great once in a while, but try living on it. You know you need some real food – (Paul calls it meat in 1 Corinthians 3:2). There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of Warren, Lucado, or Osteen. But you will still be hungry. Francis Chan and David Platt will give you something to chew on. I recommend the youtube sermon, Lukewarm and Loving It by Francis Chan. I also recommend the book Radical by David Platt. And when you occasionally need a hug or have a taste for something sweet, turn to Max Lucado.