There is an aspect of Evangelical Christian culture that is pure delight and that’s the idea of being hooked on the idea of “being fed”. Being “fed” is insider lingo referring to how much information you take in (as infants in Christ “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” –I Corinthians 3:2). So surely the mark of a maturing believer is their capacity for solid food, real meaty sermons.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve become knowledge crackheads.

In the extremes, some churches have trouble getting volunteers because their members don’t want to miss their fix. The real shame is that a lot of the time it’s a matter of being pumped up about things that they already know. Much like the conservative radio phenomena, folks mostly just want to be affirmed about what they already know and think. Challenged by way of reminder. For some folks it’s a matter of being creatures of habit and when searching for a new church, “being fed” is what they’re used to.

Don’t get me wrong: you NEED to be fed. My issue is with pew potatoes: people who simply consume more and more information, being entertained by preaching that tickles their ears, growing fat in their seats. It leads to a head knowledge based faith that tends to make us self-focused (“What did I get from this?”) and gives us ammunition for our judgmentalism (conceit, laziness, and intellectual snobbery).

How good is more facts for the promotion of fellowship, building the body into a community, spiritual formation, or otherwise being transformative? These are the kind of things we have to examine. Because a lot of the time, we aren’t really even getting the knowledge: after ten bullet/application points, we barely remember what we’ve been taught, we’re rarely diligent enough to apply it, and a lot of the evidence around us shows that we aren’t living out what we know. So we have to keep asking “how do we keep people in the process of being formed into disciples of Christ?”

Our culture has turned folks into consumers, in this case, of religion and our churches have largely obliged them. We’re to be cultivators of the spiritual life, in the process of continual conversion to be the people who are the Gospel. I’ve found that when you are living out your faith, you don’t have time for the intellectual preening that gets us spiritually slothful and judgmental. Instead, we’re more fit, that is, fit to serve.

So quit treating church like a buffet.

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