Summary: This sermon asks the question: Don’t you know that we have a totally different worldview?
March 2, 2003
A. [Transformed by an Elevator, Citation: Owen Bourgaize, Castel, Guernsey, United Kingdom]
A family from a remote area was making their first visit to a big city. They checked in to a grand hotel and stood in amazement at the impressive sight. Leaving the reception desk they came to the elevator entrance. They’d never seen an elevator before, and just stared at it, unable to figure out what it was for.
An old lady hobbled towards the elevator and went inside. The door closed. About a minute later, the door opened and out came a stunningly good-looking young woman.
Dad couldn’t stop staring. Without turning his head he patted his son’s arm and said, "Go get your mother, son."
1. Today, we are going to learn about change.
2. Today, we are going to learn about change that should occur in the Christian’s life.
B. [Book Reviewer Learns to Beware Spiritual Influences, Citation: Lauren F. Winner, "meetingGod@beliefnet.com," Christianity Today (11-12-01), p. 70-73]
While studying my way through a Ph.D program, I worked part time as the book review editor for a large website devoted to religion, spirituality, and morality. Beliefnet.com is multifaith. It has articles that would be of interest to evangelicals, Mormons, Reconstructionist Jews, Wiccans, Baha’is, Hindus, and just about everyone else on the planet.
I started this job with the naïve assumption that even though I’m a Christian, I could sally forth into this interfaith Web world unharmed. I’m capable of separating fact from fiction, truth from falsehood, I thought. I can do the interfaith thing and stick to my guns.
For the most part, I still think that’s true—I think God does want me to participate in interfaith conversations, both because I can offer a little leaven to the loaf and because I have a few things about fidelity, charity, and devotion to learn from my devout Hindu and Jewish colleagues. But I have also learned that the spiritual world, even just a spiritual website, is a dangerous place.
For the better part of a year, I had been happily reading and reviewing books about all sorts of faith traditions: volumes of Rumi poetry, memoirs by Jack Spong and John Dominic Crossan, books with titles like Two Days to a More Spiritual You and If the Buddha Dated. One night at about 11, I was sitting at my desk reading a vegetarian Wiccan cookbook when I got it: I read and write about books because I think they are important. I believe the books we read form us, and as a lifelong bibliophile, I think especially that they form me. What am I doing? I thought frantically. I’ve been spending eight months forming my spiritual self on books about Gaia! I hit the floor. I had words with God. I left the office and didn’t finish the cookbook review that night.
I don’t think flipping through the occasional book about Gaia is going to lead me straight to hell. But I do think Screwtape gets cranky when he loses one to Christ, and that he uses whatever tools he’s got to get her back, even innocent-looking, pop-spirituality books.