Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A "Jesusy" experience

Bob Spencer, dissatisfied with the church he had been part of, has been looking for something more satisfying and trying out some of those in his neighborhood. One of the most important criteria for him is that it be "Jesusy," by which he means "Gospel centered" and [as he writes to one of his commenters] "in the shadow of the cross." This Sunday he visited the nearby Catholic parish:
...I walked down the street to the local Catholic establishment. They meet in a big high-ceilinged space with beautiful artwork on the walls and a hymn-singing choir that sounds like angels. We sang Shall We Gather at the River, Precious Lord, and I Know that My Redeemer Lives. I was lovin' it!

And here's the thing. It was one of the most Jesusy church experiences I've had in years.

There were readings of extended passages of Scripture, and almost no sermon at all, but for a brief talk concerning a couple of the parables of Jesus (the lost sheep, the lost coins). The priest said, "The sheep doesn't have to prove itself worthy before the Shepherd will rescue, and the lost coin doesn't even have to cry out for mercy in order to be found. In fact, the coin can't cry out at all, but the woman searches relentlessly till she finds it."

Ummm, I hate to admit it (kind of), but that's more Gospel than I've heard in my two evangelical church visits combined.

Now, look, I'm not planning to "swim the Tiber" or anything like that. But as a confirmed evangelical, with charismatic leanings, I find it kind of embarrassing that a Catholic church beats us hands-down at preaching the Gospel, and without a 45-minute lecture, too! .... [emphasis added]
Wilderness Fandango: Church Visit #3