In the interview, Peterson reflects on the “daliyness” of Christian spirituality and the hollowness of relevance. As Steve points out in his post, it is interesting that the editor of The Message decries relevance so quickly. A couple of snippets:
I have a friend who is an expert at this sort of thing. He's always saying, "You've got to identify people's felt needs. Then you construct a program to meet the felt needs." It's pretty easy to manipulate people. We're so used to being manipulated by the image industry, the publicity industry, and the politicians that we hardly know we're being manipulated.
This impatience to leave the methods of Jesus in order to get the work of Jesus done is what destroys spirituality, because we're using a non-biblical, non-Jesus way to do what Jesus did. That's why spirituality is in such a mess as it is today….
How do we meet the need? Do we do it in Jesus' way or do we do it the Wal-Mart way?
And then the quote in Steve’s post is great:
I think relevance is a crock. I don't think people care a whole lot about what kind of music you have or how you shape the service. They want a place where God is taken seriously, where they're taken seriously, where there is no manipulation of their emotions or their consumer needs.
Why did we get captured by this advertising, publicity mindset? I think it's destroying our church.
Os Guinness has made the point well that relevance is not only an idol that diverts our attention from God, but it is a fickle idol as well. As soon as we catch up with the latest cultural wave, the leading edge has passed us by and we are left looking old.
In the balance between communicating the Gospel to a culture in ways it can understand and holding to the everlasting principles of the faith, there is a wrong way to go. If we were to err in one direction or the other, there is an error with more inherent danger than the other. And too often, it is the direction a lot of evangelicals take in their insatiable pursuit for relevance.