The weblog of Darren Friesen

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A couple of days ago I read this post from Scott. In part it reads:

There have been many fads and gimmicks that have "helped" Christians but in the end the church is still in decline across North America. Does anyone remember how inspired they were coming back from Promise Keeper conferences, or how cell groups were going to transform church community? How about "Evangelism Explosion" or spiritual gift tests, the Passion, WWJD bracelets or the Prayer of Jabez. If we take a step back and look at all the activity and so little fruit yet we continually get sucked in. More and more so it is profit driven companies that push us to consume what they sell regardless of it's true spiritual value.

Compare that with a conversation I had with some friends last night. We discussed John Donne's sonnet #14:

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand,o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new,
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but O, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and provves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed into your enemy,
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor chaste, except you ravish me.


The contrast between what we generally read on this continent and what people thought about and drew from in the past is too much to ignore. As Scott said, there are people who learn and grow spiritually from "Purpose Driven Life" or whatever, but I think there's more to chew on in this sonnet than most books on the Christian market these days.

14 Comments:

Blogger Chester said...

I am generally inclined to agree but I do feel I have to say this...my life was changed in a great way at a Promise Keepers event and I don't know if we can just write stuff off as being too commercial...

12:44 AM

 
Blogger Donna said...

I believe that the "pathway" that each of us take in learning is always complex and varied, never the same. It takes a compassionate spirit to "see" and acknowledge the many ways in which each of us learn, the time span, the choices...the way we are wired, each of us being moved by the Spirit in different ways, different times and by a diverse amount of circumstance.
....my thought.....

4:42 PM

 
Blogger sparrow said...

Beautiful sonnet. I don't mourn the loss of any of those gimmicks. How did they help people live a life of discipleship that truly was a life of discipleship, a following of Jesus' way? I think they helped people live what is seen as a moral North American lifestyle. I've been thinking on this one lately. How many North American Christians truly embody a life of reconciliation with one's enemies? Does our behavior set us apart from society as the early Christians' behavior did? Looking at my own life, I see many changes needing to be made.

7:18 AM

 
Blogger Lori said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:43 AM

 
Blogger Lori said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:06 AM

 
Blogger Lori said...

Sent the comment twice, deleted it once and the whole things disappeared now. One last try - Scott didn't make that comment about the Purpose Driven Life. Leighton did, and Scott was quoting Leighton (...I hope, now that I've made such a big deal about it!)

Anyways, why do you guys take shots at each other, when presumably you are all working toward the same end?

2:42 PM

 
Blogger Scott said...

lori,
not sure i would describe this as 'taking a shot'. i personally think it's good in forums such as these to be able to ask the hard questions. there have been so many things no one asked any critical questions about. i like to think i am being challenged to think, not react.

4:10 PM

 
Blogger Scott said...

lori,
not sure i would describe this as 'taking a shot'. i personally think it's good in forums such as these to be able to ask the hard questions. there have been so many things no one asked any critical questions about. i like to think i am being challenged to think, not react.

4:10 PM

 
Blogger Lori said...

OK, shhhh...I'm trying to think...

8:22 PM

 
Blogger Lori said...

I think, now that I've thought about it...

Maybe it's not pot shots you're taking, but rather measuring and comparing yourselves among yourselves, (2 Cor. 10:12) when you compare Purpose Driven Life and "The Sonnet".

Call it what you like, the focus is to reach the unreached, not debate about how to do it...

1:13 PM

 
Blogger Darren said...

Lori - Maybe you're right. Although I think some ways to do it (tell others about Jesus) are better than others. What I am trying to say is that we need to make sure that the message we are sending is the right message. PDL is straightforward and gives the facts re: Christianity, but the story, the mystery of a great God seems to be lacking. Anyway, thanks for writing and saying what you think.

1:28 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious, is this Sonnet one of Donne's sermons, or is it actually a sonnet? I'm not sure if it's a relevant question or not. I'm trying to remember stuff from my Rennaissance Verse class...would the average person have read Donne?

10:45 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops...sorry, I forgot to sign my name to that last comment: Marc Vandersluys

10:48 AM

 
Blogger Darren said...

Marc - Yes it is a sonnet - #14.

9:19 PM

 

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