But she starts a second topic. Not very long ago she enjoyed listening to her favourite TV preachers. There are many of them on TV and my observation is that many of us in Zambia are also hooked to our ‘favourites’.
But Karlien listened recently to a CD which opened up her eyes in this regard. Most of these preachers are making money in the extreme; mostly where they have pubic performances. They have their newest CD ready and their latest book on one or other popular theme concerning modern life. And the people, very well entertained, order and buy the latest hits. I add my own story freshly experienced in the USA he beginning of the year: One of the very well known “favourites”, also in Zambia, charged $285 per person attending one of his famous worship services on a specific topic. And to make sure you are not disappointed, you can order your tickets from Compo Ticket. To say the least, this is ridiculous!
But for Karlien the money thing is only the tip of the iceberg. The “penny” dropped for her when she discerned what these preachers’ style and the contents of their TV performances did to her. For the moment it put her on a high, only to discover that before she knew she was again at her own low again. It worked exactly like a drug, she said! So, she was waiting for the next performance-drug to lift her into a better high! And before you know you are hooked! Hooked on something which sounds so good, but still drugged-hooked. The sad thing is: The focus in all of this is not at all on God but it is all about yourself; what you want, need and feel. The shocking experience: Your are a religious drug addict!”
Karlien, thank you so much! My visit at your offices most probably meant much more to me than to you. You made me re-think and meditate the question hopefully in a new way: How can we help each other to rid ourselves from any form of religious addiction? How can we be freed from modern consumer-friendly preaching, enslaving us to our up and down feelings of excitement? It is only by the grace of God that we can discern that modern media-religion is doing much more harm than good.
And please understand: We cannot suddenly try to be and to think like Karlien! But may be her experience can rub off on us in God’s own time and way. The penny will drop uniquely in each of our lives at the right time – God’s time!
Karlien’s story inspired me to say a few thing perhaps more clearly [Thanks again, Karlien; the Lord used you to work into my heart, not via a video or media performance, but in a space where we have met personally – eye to eye].
God is very personal. He is our Father, our Mother-Spirit; our Brother. Nothing can be more personal. It is Family-personal. It is not on TV or a video recording! And we meet Him always personal where persons are together in a small-group-meeting, but especially where we worship Him personal in a worship service for His sake, centred in his Word for us. Nothing can replace this. Anything less than this, is deceivingly dangerous, more than we may think.
* It’s not about me
Life is not about me; my feelings; my wants; my needs which should be addressed as fast as possible. Life is all about God! Nothing more nothing less! It is like a marriage: Wife and husband are intimately part of each other. It is sickening to think that one of the partners may think or act to get something for me out of the marriage. This would mean my partner is there to be used for my sake; what I can get out of the relationship. May be I don’t feel very good about my marriage, but we are still one, for better and for worse; we are just there for each other. That is enough – that is life!
* Word en Sacraments
Personal communion with God is constantly created by His personal Word for us and His Food [Bread and Wine] for us. And this is not in the first place to be understood. It happens in my life like visiting friends– sharing meals together. It is all about our togetherness in love. I am not counting what I can benefit from the friendly visit and meal. We are together in communion with each other. That is enough. And in the process we are rubbing off on each other — how? We do not know, but it happens! And it cannot happen with the push of a button. We need time together. That’s how we share closeness with God through His Word and Sacraments.
* Weekly Guidelines
The Guidelines are not for a single moment meant to be “Daily Devotions” in whatever form it may be. In these types of media- communications, other people are thinking on your behalf. It is even worse: Other people try to eat on your behalf – the Bread of Life. Others are visiting friends on your behalf. You are not personally there yourself! It must be clear: It doesn’t make any sense!
The Guidelines want to help you to communicate personally with God yourself! And this takes time! It is not a quick fix visit! You are with God the whole week — eating and sharing through the texts — listening and answering! Mostly listening to God in the texts — chewing on each word and sentence like a dog on a bone. Later you become saturated with the Word. The language of the texts became your language. And how this is happening, is totally out of our control. Slowly but surely God is rubbing of on you – just like friends are rubbing of on you if you are visiting them regularly. It is like seed which is sown. First you see nothing – later you discover a green leaflet — then a bud, then the ripened grain — Jesus once told the same story, remember?