Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Revive What?


I have always thought that Christian religious revivals were quite weird, and in fact, I remember growing up and attending such revivals that were pretty redundant, and always left me feeling the same, not revived, the preaching and teaching parts of it anyway. Sitting for several days at a time listening to people preach can get old, and I think I was too young to even understand half of the stuff that was talked about. Although, the fun was when the preaching was over and I was finally able to hang out with my friends! Those were the times that stick out in my head, when we were able to play afterwords! I remember we would have several people over at our house to spend the nights during the week long revivals, and all the kid’s slept outside in tents, because there wasn’t enough room in the house for all of us. It was in the summer time of course and my parents lived in the mountains so it really felt like we were camping, but it was in our yard. We had plenty of space to camp, hike and play Capture the Flag in the dark or Hide and Seek. Those were the good memories I have of the revivals growing up, and the rest of the organized preaching stuff is just a blur, but maybe there is a reason why it does not stick out in my mind! Did it really revive anyone? What is a revival anyway? What was their purpose? Is it like supposed to feed Christians spiritually until they puked? I mean, there was seriously preaching on and off all week long. But, did that work? And, did it only bring fearful infant Christians into the Kingdom of God?

These questions come to mind after a talk I had with a client today. He and his wife are going out of town to attend a family reunion, but he told me that he doesn’t want to go because he said it is more like a religious revival with many ministers and preaching to go along with the family reunion. In-laws and religious agenda’s is something he is hesitant to be a participant in, and frankly I don’t blame him. For those who are in your family, it seems like that would be the market of interest in converting them to Christianity, so to the religious minds, this is a brilliant idea, right? Well, what would that look like? How does one convert/convince one of something, especially being a Christian? Fear seems to work well, and in fact this tool is used more frequently than not, in order to convert those who are not ‘saved’, just throw them into panic by telling them they are going to hell if they don’t comply to Christianity. Does this really produce a real desire for a God who will just throw you into hell if you don’t follow him? Once the person is feared into believing in God and giving their life to Christ, they then feel like slaves, (though I doubt they would admit that) who religiously practices the traditional Christian life. They would feel like they are missing out on so much because they had to give it up for a God who just wants to take their life over so they won’t go to hell. Does this really fabricate a lasting relationship? No! I completely doubt it and in fact I know in my heart that this kind of ‘reaching out’ is not how God does it. He is completely the opposite of this. He uses love to touch those who are in need of Him, and will never use fear to conform people. He does revive us, but these fear tactics that are used frequently, do not get us revived, but rather leaves one utterly empty! So, in a nutshell, and in my own opinion, a revival for the lost and found is a loss cause, until after the preaching is done with, then the real life begins!

9 comments:

L said...

Agreed with most of what you said, again :)
On easter sunday, my husband and I attended the church where we were married because both of our families attend there and they wanted us to all be together for Easter. My husband had to keep himself from walking out when during the lengthy and cajoling alter call, the pastor threatened the congregation with the reminder that they would have to participate in Armageddon if they didn't get saved that day. It is unfortunate how often people try and scare others into making a commitment to God. I believe that our motive to serve God shouldn't be one of fear that we won't go to heaven. It should be our adoration filled desire to be in harmony with our Creator.

Bino M. said...

Nic - The interesting thing is, if attending on of those meetings really 'revive' us, all we need is to attend just one meeting, right? But it looks like some people need those meetings regularly to keep them 'alive' :)

BTW, I just put FB comment about this 'revival' thing.

Thanks!

Rich said...

Nicole,

Super appreciated your thoughts on this, especially when it, the 'revivals' were all over and you were able to hang with your friends, the back yard tenting and games.

Somehow it was very easy for me to see Him right there with you all.
Not saying He wasn't there in the hoopla of the other stuff, but seeing Him there tenting, playing hide and seek right along with you, sure captured my heart!

Adam said...

Revival is applied to the dead or dieing.

Since it is Jesus who is "building" His Body, a living thing - invested with His Life - what is the dead or dieing thing that needs revival and toward what end?

Nicole said...

L - I loved what you had to share here! Thank you! Guilt and shame is NOT God's game! Even though people will proclaim that it is, they are just blind-sided that they can't even love without putting fear into people's hearts!

Bino! Glad you got something out of this!

Rich, you are so right! In the midst of the mumbo jumbo, God was still there, and I knew he was even after the seriousness was over and done with!

Adam! Good thoughts! Maybe, since religion is already dead, they need to make it 'feel' alive by having revivals for the living. Doesn't make any sense to me either!

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