Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Am I Seeker Sensitive?

I had a conversation with some folks recently about my philosophy of preaching and I thought it might interest some people, at least who attend Cedarbrook. It got started as we talked about whether Cedarbrook is a "seeker" church or "seeker-sensitive".

You might not know this but churches often categorize themselves as "believer focused" (having the committed Christian in mind), "seeker focused" (having the spiritual seeker in mind), and "seeker sensitive" (having the believer in mind but also sensitive to the fact that there are seekers in the audience). Many people would say that Cedarbrook is a seeker church, but as is often the case, I reject being labeled.

In regard to preaching, my goal is to address the needs of seekers and believers because we are all human and as humans we share common needs. I don't like making distinctions because I think we have much more in common as just plain people than we care to admit. We all have fears, we all get angry, we all long for God (at least at some level), etc. etc. Maybe the best term for me is "people-sensitive".

While I'm teaching the seeker the basics, I'm trying to re-teach the believer because I don't think they necessarily see things from a biblical viewpoint. Many people learned about God, Jesus and faith through a very "works" oriented grid tinged with judgmentalism. I try to teach people how to think through a grid of grace. And I try to teach them how to do what they believe, not to just know what they believe.

Some people may not be used to how practical I am and confuse that with being seeker oriented. Maybe they think that believers should be taught more about what the Bible says and not spend so much time on the application - that the application is obvious. But the application isn't obvious. That's why believers get accused of being hypocrites. We talk a good game but we don't live it. More on this later...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Reflecting on Intelligient Design

I graduated from college with a degree in Biology. So looking at faith with a scientific eye was not foreign to me. I became a Christian in college and so I read a lot about the creation vs. evolution debate back then. But eventually I grew tired of it. There was so much to know and everyone was convinced that the other side was stupid. It was a negative conversation, so I dropped it. I haven't read or talked much about it. When someone raised the issue I often deflected it by recommending a book, but not wanting to get sucked into the debate myself.

But my recent sermon series (How to Find Faith in a World of Doubt) led me to address the need for evidence for God. I read two excellent books, The Case for a Creator and More Than Meets the Eye. I was surprised how science had swung so much in the past thirty years to support faith rather than contradict it. I admit I gave these books a quick read, but I came up with six observations that I think can be converted into evidence for God if someone chose to believe that God was behind these observations. Here they are;
  1. The universe was created. It didn't always exist. Einstein's theory tells us that there was a starting point to the universe. And it came from nothing.
  2. The earth is located in a life-friendly pocket of a life-threatening universe. What are the odds of earth being so perfectly located in a place that supports life? (Not to mention the coincidence that life was created in the first place).
  3. Many variables have converged to make life possible. Science has proven that there is an incredible number of variables that have been calibrated to infintisimal decimal points to sustain life. It's as if they have all lined up on a razor's edge - if they were to tip in one direction or another, life would not be sustainable on earth.
  4. Irreducibly complex entities exist. Entities like the human cell or the eyeball need to have every component in place to exist. So how does an entity like this evolve, one mutation at a time?
  5. DNA is a program for life. There are three billion pairings in the human genome. It looks very much like a computer code. We would never suggest that a computer program spontaneously evolved over time yet we are comfortable to say that this happened in DNA.
  6. Human beings have consciousness. Why? How? We take our ability to reflect and observe for granted yet it is unique to humans, at least at the sophisticated level that it is.

There is an eight page summary of The Case for a Creator on our website. But the book itself is a great read if you have the time. (By the way, for those of you in the know, the writer of the summary made a mistake when he referred to the type of galaxy that we are in.)