In a fascinating blog post at a website called “The Episcopal Café”, Jim Naughton asks this question: "Is it important that we [The Episcopal Church] speak compellingly about Jesus?” (Thanks Grey for the link). He observes that when we preach the Gospel, we tend to “spread certain values”, rather than extend an “invitation to figure out what Jesus was up to.” Naughton concludes: if we aren't offering people a deep and abiding encounter with Jesus, then I don't understand what we are up to as church, although he also acknowledges he might be wrong.
I believe I understand why he is asking the question. There seems to be a line of thought in the Episcopal Church that we make Christianity more interesting to spiritual seekers when we speak of broad principles that any reasonable person would accept rather than speaking specifically from a Christian perspective.
I do not think this way of thinking could be more wrong.
It seems to me that people are less and less likely to “waste their time” in church simply to get something they can get on their own terms somewhere else. I can get good, sound values and great practical advice from a book on my Kindle, which I can read whenever and wherever I want. Or from a TED talk, which I think in many ways are the new sermons, and are far more interesting and engaging than many of the sermons many people hear being preached. And again, you can watch them whenever and wherever you want.
If there is not something unique about Jesus, why should busy, hard working people whose lives are full already, take the time and make the effort to go to church?