One of my favorite devotionals is Philip Yancey’s Grace Notes. In it, he muses about the caution a Christian must take when all of their Christian experience is garnered from TV and the electronic gadgets of the day. I certainly can agree with that; those souls are who I call the “electronic Christians”. They don’t go to church regularly and, if they do, it is usually for some holiday extravaganza. Their choice in following Christ is the safe and comfortable one…from their living room couch!
I am in no way coming against websites, TV ministries or pastoral “tweets”; rather, this is just a warning shot to those who may erroneously think they are following God’s directions of fellowshipping with the brethren through the vicarious methods offered in our electronically-saturated world.
I sense that the glitter and glamour of the electronic “tinsel temples” may, when contrasted to the average local church, cause an invalid conclusion though. That conclusion may mistakenly categorize the “in-church” experience as one of lesser importance because it includes quite a few inconveniences like being full of people you may not like, crying babies, candy-wrapper-crackling teens and snoring elders. Ah, the peace and quiet of your living room! Right…wrong! To purposely isolate yourself from face-to-face fellowship is to be lulled into a false complacency in your safe little living room pew.
From that comfy little seat, you will never be asked to pick up someone and drive them to church with you, or be asked to make a meal for a shut-in or a repair at the home of someone recently unemployed, or, God forbid, cover the nursery some Sunday morning! Nope, the avowed “church at homers” sit snugly, or maybe even smugly in front of the TV, laptop or iPod, listening intently and dutifully to the message, but never having to live it. But that’s okay, because they clear their conscience now and again by sending in a donation or two. There now, do you “feel” all holy?
Sorry, folks, but that TV can’t give you experience in holiness; it can only give you excerpts of someone else’s. I am not saying that you should not watch the TV Christian ministries…they are often a spiritual God-send to the home bound. I am also not saying that going to church makes you better than others. What I am suggesting is to get off the couch, get on your knees and ask God to show you where He wants you to serve Him in faith and fellowship.
It’s called the “body of Christ” for a reason; and the “electronic” church can only offer the mouth. So get out there, go to church and experience the real “elbow-to-elbow” fellowship God intended…with Him and with each other. You will grow closer to God when you learn to participate with the rest of His family! Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!