The first hundred days of the new presidency have past. Tax day has come and gone. In the life of the church we are approaching Pentecost. What impact does the Gospel have in people’s lives in comparison to the impact media, the government, the workforce, or life in general have? Lets talk about that… (this primer was posted on a blog carnival which I like, so I thought I would give my answer here)

The church I attend has a huge impact in my life. It shapes me much more than the media, government, etc. While I have to pay taxes to the government for projects that they choose, I can joyfully give over and above my tithe to mission efforts which touch my spirit. I choose to buy my coffee from people who need the money, not large corporations. The farming methods are sustainable and organic. This choice allows me to enact my convictions about respecting God’s creation so that I give the Creator the proper honor that is due him.

My lifegroup has more influence on me than any presidential announcement or government bailout. These people speak truth into my life, and lift up my burdens. I’m doubtful of a government’s ability to do likewise. These people from my church are my community (in the Old Testament sense), my family (to borrow Christ’s words).

While media can inform me of events and even attempt to shape my interpretation of those events, it can never do so in a meaningful way. ‘The Media’ is speaking to a broad audience – a demographic. Churches speak to individuals, to communities. It is within those groups of individuals, in the community, that interpretation takes place. This isn’t always some sort of postmodern activity. Instead, I would argue that it is a biblical activity. A fellowship of believers comes together, relying on God and each other, to form a meaningful interpretation of events.

This happens much like the activity of interpreting events in the Old Testament (though I’ve never heard an audible voice from God giving a definite interpretation of events). The community (lifegroup?, church?) comes together and sharpens each other’s interpretation (as iron sharpens iron). A communal debate of arguments and counter-arguments can take place, not in the academic sense – but not altogether different, which arrives at a more insightful and well-honed understanding.

To sum up, the local church which I am a part of has much more influence in my life than taxes, government, or media.

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