Trying too Hard for Jesus (@changingworship)

I’m sure we’ve all been in church and seen sermons where the person preaching clearly doesn’t understand their own illustration.  The one that sticks in my mind is the preacher who was using the TV show One Foot in the Grave and Victor Meldrew’s catchphrase to illustrate her point.  She proudly delivered the punchline…. “I can’t believe it”.  Nothing happened.  No one laughed.  She said it again.  I can’t believe it!!  One member of the congregation started to say something but was swiftly cut off by the preacher who said “I can’t believe it” again and hurriedly moved on unaware that everyone else in the room had one vital piece of information about Victor Meldrew.  That’s not right.

Some times The Church (TM) is so desperate to seem hip it dabbles with things it doesn’t fully understand.  Last Thursday I came across an article that confused me.  A familiar iPhone meme was popping up on Facebook but I couldn’t seem to make sense of it.  I stared at it for about half an hour.  OK, 30 seconds.  It didn’t matter how I read it it didn’t make any sense.


I fit into a very hip and happening demographic…  Never mind phonics, I was born in the age of the image!  The books on my bedside table still contain a hungry hungry caterpillar and Spider-man.  Maybe I should have read the article before looking at the pictures.

Instead of illustrating how young people don’t have time for Jesus, the ‘texts’ appear to reveal a hilarious show of indifference coming from the Saviour himself.

Suddenly it all makes sense!  They’re pointing out that it doesn’t make sense!!

This article about a meme gone wrong highlights a key faith issue for us.  For each and every one of us there is the need for authenticity in our faith.  When we pretend to be something we’re not we run the risk of being caught out.  When we’re caught out it exposes our faith to the accusation of being “merely a trick to get people in”.  This is particularly dodgy ground in the technological age where the fake can easily go viral.

We need authentic disciples and digidisciples.  That means you need to be that knitting, jam making, hairy bikering, scouting, laughing, joking, singing…. ‘whatever it is you were created to be’ disciple and be it authentically.

In a few years will someone please point out the stupid thing I’ve just done where I was trying too hard and remind me of this?

About Robb

Robb is a priest and a vicar in the Church of England. His academic interest is in liturgy, alt:worship and the emerging church and is particularly keen on exploring the sacramantal within worship. He lives in Yorkshire and has a passion for heavy metal, playing in a pub band and riding a Harley.