Week 4b: Southside Christian Church (online), 27 January 2008

While writing about Abston Church of Christ, my friend Teresa IM’d me, and suggested I watch the “Quest Preview” sermon from Southside Christian Church on Spokane’s south hill. Technically, this is the sermon from 13 January 2008, but since Teresa watched it today, and I watched it today . . . it’s part of this week’s report.

I don’t know if churches in other areas are doing this, because I don’t know how much the coffee culture of the northwest impacts this particular practice, but you’ll notice that he (Dave Long, the preacher) keeps referring to “both rooms.” He’s delivering the sermon in the main auditorium, and it’s being broadcast, live, in the cafe of the church. I know that the Assembly of God church in the Valley also has a cafe (called “The Link”), and I think that it’s part of creating a “seeker sensitive” service.

Dave Long is a great speaker; he’s passionate, lively, interactive, and obviously loves what he’s doing. From what Teresa told me about services she’s attended there, the teaching pastors often also use visual aids, which, in this sermon, included a plastic family in an SUV, a church box labeled “religion” (that is, those trappings of the church which get in the way of your relationship with God, per the thrust of the sermon), and a Jesus Action Figure. I was not familiar with this particular Jesus action figure, and Teresa asked me if I could hear his wheels on the streaming video (I didn’t). I thought, originally, they were using a Deluxe Jesus Action Figure (yes, there is more than one Jesus Action Figure on the market), but I had the wrong one. Aside from a stack of study books and aids (other trappings of religion), and the eventual blindfold, there was one more visual aid in the sermon that I’m not going to give away here, but that you’ll find about 3/4 of the way through the broadcast.

(This does, of course, raise the question of why the Son of God would need “wheels in his base for smooth gliding action” . . . but I don’t have an answer for that).

Speaking of questions that I don’t have answers to . . . . Part of this sermon brings up a question I’ve posed to several people recently, with no good answers: Do you believe in the devil as a personified individual (that is, rather than an archetype, or a figurative, metaphorical idea)? The problem I see with believing in the devil as an individual is that evil takes place all across the globe, simultaneously, which would seem to indicate that Satan, like God, is omnipresent.

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