4/05/2009

My Number One Felt Need

Much has been said by leaders in the modern church about “felt needs” and the necessity of reaching the lost by an appeal to those “felt needs.” I will pretend to be a non-Christian for a minute. I will speak from the perspective of “the mind set on the flesh.”

My number one felt need at this point in my life is a Victory Red, 2009 Chevrolet ZR1 Corvette. Motor Trend Magazine’s article sold me on the idea. It’s hard to beat a 620 horsepower engine in a 3,324 pound car. Plus the typical Corvette suspension package and amenities.

I guarantee that if your church buys me this Corvette, meeting the felt need of my heart, I will attend each and every Sunday morning for the rest of my life. I will constantly and enthusiastically tell everyone I meet about the great things happening at your church, and I will invite everyone I know to the church that is serious about meeting our felt needs. That church will be successful in the way that the modern church measures success: numerical growth.

Okay, now I will put my Christian hat back on. Appealing to felt needs misses the point. Non-Christians’ felt needs are not the need God intends to address. He intends to meet their foremost need.

We must inform non-Christians of their foremost need: as sinners falling short of God’s glory, we need to be made perfect to stand before God’s judgment unafraid. We need God’s grace to avoid His wrath.

We are not going to think that up on our own. We are far to proud to admit that kind of need. Someone has to tell us. Clearly and plainly.

10 comments:

Steve Martin said...

Right.

God's Law (His hammer)will crush us and hopefully bring us to that place where the Lord can work repentance in our hearts.

Carolyn Ann said...

Try a Ducati Monster - not only are they cheaper, but they're much more fun! :-) (Alas, they are Italian, although the Monster was given life under the auspices of Ducati's then-American owners, the Texas-Pacific Group.)

If you're simply after American-made, I hear the bog Buell's are an excellent mode of transport. :-)

You made a serious error, JK: you assumed that the non-Christian is purely about the material. I can point to entire groups of Jews who are not about materialism. Do they not count? Does the serious study of the Torah not count one bit?

You also discard, with nary an effort at examination, individuals such as myself! I do not chase the material, but at the same time am not willing to forgo an experience because it demands a material purchase! (Which is how I ended up riding across America, owning a few motorcycles, and a large, American, truck.)

By your argument, I should throw away my desire to have a good sound system - but I want one, because it enhances my enjoyment of the music I listen to all that much more!

You are arguing against that strange Prosperity Christianity. You are not arguing against non-Christian ethics. Besides, America is founded on the idea that the free market trumps all. It goes hand in glove, with the idea of free expression. Hence its religious tolerance, and its latest financial crisis. (No, I'm not being flip.)

Hey - I am very interested in your thoughts re Angela Zapata, the murdered transgendered teen?

Carolyn Ann

J. K. Jones said...

Carolyn Ann,

Good to hear from you again.

You missidentified my target. I was really shooting at those inside the church who try to reach those outside by indirect, often manipulative means.

If I want to witness, I should give a simple, direct statement of Who Christ is and what He did for us at the cross.

Beating around the bush with an apeal to someone's need for practical advice, desire to have a purpose in life, desire to make a difference in the world, etc. will not ultimately answer the basic need of his / her heart: acceptance by God because of the forgiveness Christ brings.

As to "wordly" things like cars and bikes, there's nothing inherently wrong with them. They can and should be desired, often for the pleasures they bring.

My laptop is down from a virus right now, and it's hard to write long comments or do reasearch from my iPhone as
I am now. I'll get back to you on the rest.

Did you comment on the murder on your blog?

JK

J. K. Jones said...

As to the murder,

So this guy has illicit sex with someone and then kills them because he finds out they are homosexual / transgendered (not trying for an insulting label here; not sure what would be the appropriate / corteous term).

It takes allot of self-righteousness to do something like that. It's like saying: "Your transgendering is so much worse than my fornication that I am justified to kill you in my anger."

Can't get much more self-righteous than that. And self-righteousness may be the worst sin of all based on all the hard words Jesus said about it.

Homosexuality is still a sin. Transgender is not what God intended. But those are simply not the worst sins of all.

All of us need forgiveness in Christ.

Carolyn Ann said...

Thanks for the explanation, JK. That one bypassed me completely. Although I'm still unsure how you view the decades, lifetimes, of study many Torah scholars embrace!

Yes, I did write about Angela Zapata. I called it a despicable crime, and the defense ("she duped me!") heinous, too! After all, the defense in a rape trial is not allowed to use the defense "she was dressed provocatively". The victims' clothing and presentation should not be a reason to kill someone!

Personally, homosexuality isn't a sin - it's just how some folk are. And being transgendered surely isn't a sin? After all - mistakes are made. Who's to say that one mistake is a sin, and another isn't?

Hopefully your job situation is better?

Carolyn Ann

Carolyn Ann said...

Okay, here's a brain twister for you. :-)

Let's assume that Angela Zapata really was born in the wrong body. Considering the anguish the transgendered usually go through, this is not a point that can be lightly dismissed.

If she really is a woman, but is constrained to living as a man - is that fair? Does it make her gay?

The problem is not as simple or clearly defined as you might think, JK. Speaking from personal experience, I wouldn't wish the feeling of being in the wrong body upon anyone! But it happens, and no one knows why.

I came to terms with it - but it took a few decades! Well, I arrived at a compromise within myself. I wouldn't say I have come to terms with who I am; I doubt that's possible!

I am not a woman, and yet I wanted to be a woman - still do, actually. (I can't tell you how often, as a child, I wished I was a little girl!) I am in love with a woman. Does that make me gay, or straight? Biologically straight, but mentally a lesbian?

Another one for you: if someone feels absolutely no affection for those of the opposite sex, should they be forced to live a lie? What happened to the idea that we can pursue our own happiness?

I should note, the transgendered are not exclusively gay. Leaving aside the previous points the incidence of homosexuality as it is traditionally defined, is about the same as the rest of the population.

I can't reconcile those ideas with your claim that transgender and homosexuality are sins. Gender is not a simple issue!

Carolyn Ann

J. K. Jones said...

Carolyn Ann,

I have read much of your blog. You are on my Google Reader.

I also have a close friend from high school who is saving money for a sex change operation.

I understand that there are many ethical aspects that complicate the case. I hope you umnderstand that I will sometimes use labels that are not appropriate; I am trying to communicate about something that simply doesn't come up often in rural Tennessee, and I am doing the best I know.

I have honestly tried to work through this ethical delima from a biblical persoective. I will share the best I know as soon as I can.

I need my regular computer to work because this iPhone keyboard is killing my thumbs. I also want to communicate effectivly to this complex situation.

Please be patient with my as I try not to discount your concerns.

I do have a job now; thanks for asking.

Carolyn Ann said...

Surprise is what anyone can expect when they make even the barest of assumptions. (I assumed you didn't know anyone transgendered, and I didn't know you read my mutterings. Thanks!)

My apologies, JK. :-)

Carolyn Ann

J. K. Jones said...

Carolyn Ann,
I am working on a careful response to your comments above.

I’ll make it post form in a few days.

I’m taking a little time off from blogging in order to clear my head. I have allot on my mind right now.

I’ll be back soon.

JK

J. K. Jones said...

Carolyn Ann,

I hope you are still following comments on this post. I have not forgotten my promise to post my opinion on the issues facing the transgendered. I’ve had some personal crises lately, and these have been a distraction.

The thing of it is, I do believe that, since man’s sin has affected all of creation, that the process of genetics has also been negatively affected. Could this extend to a person having the “wrong gender?” In theory, yes.

So what does this say for ethics? That is what I am still thinking about.

God is in control of all of nature. He either causes everything that happens, or He allows it to happen. This would mean that any mistakes made by the genetic process would have been allowed by Him.

How do we respond to the evil situations that God allows? That is the question that should inform transgendered ethics. That question also informs ethics for many others in situations where genetics are part of the source of the evil situations they face (homosexuality, manic-depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other situations which have been faced by those close to me).

God allows situations to arise which pre-dispose certain people to certain types of sins. They can still choose to avoid the sins they are disposed to.

Christ died for the sins of His people. Many of His people have faced genetic disadvantages. If you place your faith in Him, His sacrifice would cover your sins as well. (See the search label “Extra Nos” on the sidebar.)

If the comment above seems confusing; that’s because it is. I am still thinking. I’d love to hear more of your opinion.

JK

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