Today I was doing a little bit of thinking and talking with David, our pastor, and we were discussing our dreams for the church and for the Church. Somehow (and I say "somehow" with a hint of sarcasm here) we got to talking about relating to the culture and relating with people where they're at. Yes, I guess in essence, we were talking about relevance but to me we were actually talking more about authenticity. I want people to hear what we're trying to say, but more importantly, I want us to know what we're saying, mean what we're saying, and know why we're saying it.
With some influence, I admit, from Shane Hipps (specifically from Flickering Pixels... a new favorite of mine) I said something like, "no matter what, our message is going to be drastically transformed by the medium through which send it." God used a burning bush as a way of saying, "I AM" without really needing to utter the words, which God eventually did because words are hugely important for shaping how we perceive things and actually processing what we've already perceived. In the same way, if God had come to Moses with the horns of a cow and a sun disk (which is actually how Hathor, the Egyptian god of music looked), try as God might, Moses may never have really understood that this God is not the God of anything. The medium transforms, mutes out, overshadows the message if it does not somehow embody it.
For us, in our culture, if you're preaching a sermon on the Body of Christ or, better yet, on the "priesthood of all believers," but you still do it wearing a robe from a fancy wooden pulpit with an enormous over-sized Bible behind you, while the congregation sits in straight rows, arranged in linear fashion, with eyes fixed toward the front (the place of power), is your message ever really going to be heard? Will the people ever really understand that they, as much as you, are the holy priesthood? Eventually you might have to at least take off the robe.
Just food for thought...