Heidelcast 16: Being Relevant is Harder Than It Looks

An HB Classic

This episode of the Heidelcast, from January, 2010, takes a look at Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl’s reaction to being forced to go to church for Christmas. It’s useful to hear how silly Christians appear to unbelievers when we try to be hip and relevant. We do it ostensibly to in order to be “effective” in evangelism and in our attempts to reach unbelievers with the gospel but it’s worth hearing how Steve reacted to what we sometimes consider “relevance” and to what he regarded as a serious, worthwhile worship service. Here’s the episode. Steve doesn’t pull his punches in his critique. If you’re offended by hearing hearing unbelievers talk about Christianity, you shouldn’t listen to this episode.

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  1. I’ve found that the NAPARC churches I’ve visited over the past 10 years that have striven* to be relevant were all theologically to the left of any evangelical church I attended growing up. “Relevance” is a very slippery slope. Nothing is more “relevant” to the culture than staying home Sunday morning, guzzling Budweiser, and watching unathletic talking heads opine on human races horses hopped up on massive amounts of painkillers and Vitamin S.

    Let’s set aside our relevant agendas for confessional ones.

    *Take that, grammar Nazis!

  2. Interestingly, I listened to this episode again a few months ago. I noticed it in the archived Heidelcast folder on my PC but didn’t remember what it was about. I burned a CD, and played it while traveling sixty miles to watch one of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcasts at a movie theater on the Gulf Coast. It was so moving that I now recall it as one of those “Where were you when . . .?” moments. It came back into my life at a time when I was badly in need of a shot of back to the basics. Sometimes it’s good to reduce things to the bare essentials, so we can “get it” all over again.

    Isn’t it strange how something may barely register with you on one day, and deeply affect you on another?

  3. Now I remember the date – Saturday, December 15th. Hearing Steve Dahl’s mockery ten days before Christmas, and thinking of the shallowness of some churches, really made an impression. It was so sad to be reminded how often Christians answer unbelief with a circus.

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