Posts Tagged 4 8 15 16 23 42

The Absurd Ritual

I know this is kind of out of date, but let’s think back to the 2nd season of Lost. If you watched the show, you would remember the mysterious hatch where the character Desmond was discovered slavishly typing a seemly random number sequence (4 8 15 16 23 42) into a computer every 108 minutes. If he failed to do so, supposedly the world would cease to exist. Eventually, this provided a compelling opportunity for the characters in the show to be challenged to either embrace the “ritual” as an act of blind faith (which was based on fear of the unknown) or to reject it on the basis of reason and empirical evidence.

I love this picture as a metaphor for the spiritual state of many churches. People participate in a religion based on doctrinal laws that must be observed or else you get zapped. They have a relationship with their religious worship rituals that is based mostly on fear. Fear that failure to persist in “pushing the button” would result in incurring the wrath of God. In this version of Christian worship, the laws of God are more like thermodynamic laws than covenantal relationship.  If you violate the laws of thermodynamics, you can’t plead for mercy from the universe.

This is why so many people reject the church. They get the idea that it’s all just a big game and that you are a great fool if you get sucked in to believing that the game is anything more. They don’t ever interact with the personality of God or get a taste for the power of the gospel of grace. Grace is so much more rich and satisfying than the absurd rituals that we perform in response to fear. It is for freedom that Christ set us free.

Stop pushing the button and come boldly before the throne of God.

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