A friend of mine recently left an old radio in my office. I had been looking for one a while ago, and all of a sudden there it was! Sitting about 3or 4 feet high, it a Philco radio dating to the early 1940’s. It has shortwave radio, something that grew up as ex-patriots like myself still remember, most younger folks here don’t.
This particular radio doesn’t work, but it’s one of those radios that can hone in on a Short Wave signal from Miami or Cuba or from Australia,, it’s really cool. But the sound quality is really, really tinny. And the signal fades out, and with no bass, sometimes it’s hard to understand what they are saying, and, well, you know, it’s just old.
The other day at our district training our video projector blew up – just as the meeting was starting! And so I had to buy a new projector. When it came, I took this new, 3500 lumen, High Definition, WiFi connected projector out of the box, and placed it, without thinking about it, on the old radio.
When I got a chance to get back to the projector, I looked at those two instruments of mass communication, and smiled. I love the old radio. It looks really sharp. But with the projector I have two Bose surround sound speakers that are just amazing. For entertainment quality, there’s no comparison between what these two gadgets can do.
Well, there is a comparison. One is tiny and unreliable. The other is audio and visual, and both are truly impressive in their realism. One people marveled at 70 years ago, the other we marvel at today.
You know where I’m going with this – this comparison made me think about our churches. What does worship look like at your church? Do the audio visuals look like the 1942 Philco, or the 2014 Viewsonic? Do people come to your church and listen and get the impression they are back in the 40’s? Or do they feel like you’ve joined the 21st Century?
Let’s face it, the old Philco is beautiful. And in its day the family would gather around it and marvel at shows like Abbot and Costello and The Shadow. But honestly, those were before my time, I never heard them. And they are as relevant to me as shows from the 60’s and 70’s are to people in their 30’s today.
It’s a constant struggle for me to make the communication of the Gospel relevant to people today. The whole Church struggles with this. But this I know, I’m not going back to the Philco for audio, and neither is anybody else. Let’s present to Good News of Jesus Christ with the best that our world has to offer. We’ve got to. The Gospel doesn’t get old, just the way we tell it.