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Telling Secrets

faith, fatherhood, and culture


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

After reading "The Joy of Christian Hedonism," Angela suggested that perhaps I was a little harsh, particularly to the people of the church we currently attend, the Masters Church. Ok, maybe I was, I thought. I'll post an addendum before anyone else reads it. Not long after, Russ, the pastor of that church, called wondering how I was. So much for my plan. We had a great discussion during which I told him this was my first foray into public theological waters and that I needed him to be to me as John Armstrong is to Mark Driscoll, someone to reel me in if I get out of hand. He agreed and said that he needed me to make sure he too was on target.

So my first reflection 9 hours later is this: while my general critique of many of the people at Masters Church and other churches I've attended like it and unlike it still stands, I want to specifically point out that through Russ's leadership, the Masters congregation has made some tremendous strides to change. The church now is so different from what it was 6 months ago that it is essentially a new church, crawling from under the rock of strict fundamentalism into the missional light. I think that now perhaps they are like Plato's Philosopher immediately after he crawls out of the cave: so blinded by the light of Truth they can't see anything - all they can do is stand there and squint. The reason Angela and I continue to attend Masters Church is because of Russ's vision for the church and the city as well as for the fact that he is one of the finest pastors I've ever met. He is as nurturing as he is theologically bold. So, we are trying to serve with him as best we can, even though the people around us live completely different lives than we.

Which brings me to my second reflection: reading back through my posts from the past 6 months I see that my biggest critique has been how so many people are not living out a true Christian faith despite claims to solid doctrine. But just because few people are representin' doesn't make Jesus or Scripture any less relevent or true. Evaluating doctrine on the basis of the people who claim it is one good validation test, but it certainly isn't the only one, or necessarily the best. Russ said that he doesn't like George Grant's teaching at all, but that doesn't mean that Theonomy can be dismissed out of hand. I think one of my biggest problems is simply that I don't really like Christians that much. This means that I tend to have problems with church in general because churches are full of Christians. Consequently, I have never really been comfortable in any of them or stayed longer than a few years at most.

My third reflection is: what does this mean for me and my family? Are we going to church hop ad nauseum until Jesus comes? Does fitting in really matter that much? I think it does matter to have people in your church who you can connect with on a deeper level, who have similar values, otherwise there is no communion among the saints. But I don't think we are going to hop any more because I at least am tired of it and I haven't found a church yet with more of the important pieces in place to make sure everyone in my family can grow spiritually. So we will do our best to serve and wait for God to provide the people we need to make the long haul.

  1. Anonymous petra said:

    If you do decide to hop again, try a new pond(: Over here it's altogether a different organism.

  1. Anonymous dj said:

    I understand, and almost completely agree. It's difficult to be a part of something when you're not completely in tune with the way the people in that something do things (take my current job at a church as an example).

    The problem of course is that we are all imperfect people because of the fall, and churches are all made up of these imperfect people. I don't know that we ever find a church that's "perfect" until we rest at the feet of the only One who IS perfect.

    I think you've made the best decision. Commit to something in which you can make a difference and with people that you can serve and grow. If we continue to live the way we understand God desires for us to live, maybe we the imperfect dreamers can make a difference in our imperfect communities.

  1. Anonymous JW said:

    Well, I finally got around to visiting the blog and reading your posts.

    As always your thoughts are refreshing and give better words than I could to similiar ideas swirling in my head which I am either too unsure of and/or too lazy to give more thought to them.

    As you know, we have struggled with similiar issues of apparent legalism expoused from fundamentalist churches as well as the moral relativism and laxed attitude to holiness from what you term "Christianity Lite," or those driven by the numbers of people in the pew or what have ceased to be "seeker friendly" and have become "seeker driven."

    As for your third reflection, does fitting in matter that much? I don't think that it does. The way I read the question seems to approach it from the angle of "why aren't there more people like me" or "why can't I connect with people." The point I think is to come at it from the other direction, love those whom are different from you and who may be hard to love. Their search for holiness has the same aim as yours, it's just that their and yours viewpoint and methodology are different at the time.

    My two cents given at your request for comments ;o)

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