Special Effects Without a Story!

Cindy and I had date night on Friday and went out to eat and took in a movie. The movie, “How Does She Do It?” with Sarah Jessica Parker was good in every way. It has a message for all women and men who try to hold down a job and stay connected to their families. A key line at the end of the movie was when Greg Kinnear, playing the husband, was asked what his wife did for a living. His response: “She’s a juggler!” How true in this day and age! Females and males alike have to juggle to make ends meet and get everything done. It’s a tough life. As I think about Cindy and my daughter Narcie I know how true it is that they feel extra pressure as women to do it all. They feel the need to be mother, spouse, cruise director for the family, disciplinarian, list makers, and house cleaners, PLUS bring home a paycheck and have a stellar career. It’s almost an impossible task. It’s a job description that few men can fulfill, except maybe for my son-in-law Mike who along with Narcie are the most adept jugglers that I have ever seen. He is the best “Mr. Mom” imaginable. When I hear what they do in an average week it’s more than a mere mortal can do.

People all over the world are struggling every day to juggle life’s responsibilities. I worry about the toll this is taking on everyone and society in general. I wonder what the church can do to help. Is the Gospel relevant to the working Moms and Dads who are frantically trying to make it through another day? I worry about the answer to that question when I see churches that have Mother’s Morning Out programs that cater to people who want free time away from their kids to play a tennis match when there are countless parents who need the church to provide an all-day ministry in a Christian environment. The movie raised all sorts of questions for me.

Some of the pondering even started before the movie began. As we were sitting there waiting the usual snippets of “Who said it?” flashed across the screen, all before any previews were shown. One caught my attention and has been intersecting with the movie in my head for the past few days. The saying came from George Lucas of Star Wars fame: “A special effect without a story is boring!” That line got me to thinking. Due to a boring story has the church lost its relevancy to our society, a society that is working itself to death trying to find work and/or find meaning? I know the right answer, but is it our culture’s answer or its experience with Christianity? The right answer, of course, is “No!” We do have a special effect called Jesus’ resurrection that certainly isn’t boring. We have a Gospel that creates fireworks of redemptive transformative power. However, are we offering the Gospel in a way that people aren’t bored stiff with our stale answers and outdated worship?

This generation of young parents needs the church’s best efforts in special effects: Children’s programs, youth programs, parenting classes, financial peace seminars, Bible Studies, vibrant worship experiences, mission experiences, and the list is endless! We can prove George Lucas is wrong about us. Thanks to Jesus we have the most special of effects and a great story – the Gospel! What’s our narrative? Does it lift up Christ in a relevant way to the culture? We have to answer these questions, and fast!

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