NOT YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL POWER BAR
Christianity.com, 5/23/15, “Don’t Think of Church as Your Own Spiritual Power Bar” [Excerpts]: “I get fed there” is one of the classic “Christianese” phrases that puzzle outsiders. “Are you referring to a buffet?” they might ask.
For many, a rough translation [is] “I get my spiritual energy boost every Sunday to help get me from Monday to Saturday.”
Joining other believers each Sunday in singing, praying, and hearing teaching from God’s Word produces healthy spiritual nourishment. “As a deer pants for flowing streams,” writes the Psalmist, “so pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm:42:1). We become spiritually parched and famished with the hardships of life in a fallen world, and the Word of God refreshes our souls.
For the most part, however, I’ve heard this phrase used in ways that are unhealthy. I’ll ask someone how church is going, and sometimes he or she will say something like: “Well I’ve been busy, but I get fed each week.” For them, the important thing is not to commit to one church but to get themselves individually fed at any church. This mentality to treat the church like a spiritual power bar that reenergizes you is not only unbiblical but also detrimental to Christian flourishing. It promotes an individualistic and consumeristic understanding of Christianity. “How can church fulfill me?”
Instead, think of the church as a body and yourself as a vital member. The Apostle Paul used the image of a body to help the Corinthians understand the church rightly: “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you....’ If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians:12:18-27).
When we think of the church as a body we will remember that Christ is our head, leading us in holiness and love. When we think of ourselves as members of this body, we will understand that every one of us is vital to its identity and mission. God deliberately designed the church as a body rather than a spiritual battery plug station because he wants his children to grow together in Him. If we fail to play our role and serve the body with the gifts that God has given to us, the rest of the members would suffer just like a body would suffer without an eye.
ChristianHeadlines.com, 10/27/15, “Saber-tooth Psychology: Why Darwinism Can’t Explain Religion” [Excerpts]: If there’s one area of science that shows how ill-equipped naturalism is to make sense of the world, it’s evolutionary psychology—the study of how evolution shaped the way we think, feel, and act. Even among outspoken Darwinists, this field is known for sensationalism and outright nonsense.
Take one study from Newcastle University that claimed to explain why boys prefer blue and girls prefer pink. The scientists’ answer? Because tens of thousands of years ago, our male ancestors had to watch for predators silhouetted against the blue sky, while women had to focus on gathering berries, which are usually pink.
[Writers] have dubbed this brand of pop-science “saber-tooth psychology” because of the way the tales unfold: “Humans engage in such-and-such activity today because long ago, it gave our apelike forebears a survival advantage against hungry saber-tooth tigers.”
Scientists tell us the instinct that led early humans to decide the rustle in the grass was not the wind but a predator gave rise not only to a population of paranoid primates, but to our belief in the supernatural—and in God!
How? Kelly James Clark, a research fellow at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, explains that this instinct—what he calls a “hypersensitive agency-detecting device”—causes people to see intention behind not only rustling grass, but behind daily phenomena, like the weather, disease, and failed crops. Gradually, humans began detecting agency everywhere and came to believe that supernatural beings inhabited the water, sky, and earth.
So when you hear these kinds of stories, ask yourself what the storytellers are assuming and how those assumptions affect their theory. Remember, when it comes to evolutionary psychology, some science writers wouldn’t know a tall tale if it snuck up and bit them in the tall grass.