The Christian Church, Ideologies, and Some Random Thoughts

A friend of mine posted a great article the other day called 'One of My Passions'. In a response I commented on his post yet the thoughts continued to role in my head. I realized that my comments might have generated a continuing dialogue so I thought I would post it here as well. Anyways, here it is: Excellent points Brad! Jesus didn’t just meet the people within a religious liturgical frame work. Rather he met with them “face to face” in a context defined by a personal relationship. I love the beauty in which that relationship blossoms as an individual is willing to engage the word within their own lives and the meaning it brings to them!

Take for example the calling of Peter and Andrew to be disciples. What if Jesus said, “Come with me and I will make you great theologians.”? They probably would have laughed at him and walked away. Instead Jesus relationally engaged them by going fishing with them and then afterwards he says, “Come with me and I will make you fishers of men!”

Is the Bible enough? I agree that on one hand the embodiment (Incarnation) of the man we know as Jesus in the gospels comes from a relational, contextual, and deeply personal interaction which we have with him through the practice of holistic spirituality and God’s word. It is definitely something more then just the Bible. However, something which has been bothering me lately is the question of whether certain groups or individuals might take that too far. How do we avoid our faith from becoming a conceptualized ideology (ultimately leading to idolatry)?

I have been reading Bob Goudzwaard’s book ‘Hope in Troubled Times’ and he has been spelling out six phases which most ideologies go through. In short: Conception, actualization, (re)construction, domination, terror, and dissolution. His point is directed towards world crises situations such as human rights, environmentalism, ecological issues, and economy. However, my problem arose in that while reading it I began to get a picture of the church and its role as an ideology! Has the church become so enamored by its need for liturgical practices that it has conformed to the realities of a human ideology rather then the truly intended Kingdom of God? And if so, what can we offer as followers of Jesus which can replace that ideology? I need to spend some time blogging on this myself I think!

I need to be honest with you Brad. I realize your intentions with regards to the practices of the “average laymen” reading scripture but, I disagree with your summery. In some cases yes, we need to remain grounded with the historical implications of scripture interpretation however, many “new believers” have profound insights on its meanings and practices and we need to do whatever it takes to encourage the exploration and dialogue of those relationships (check out our core values at ‘Expressions’).

Let me tell you where I’m coming from before you end up judging me too quickly. Unfortunately, to often many people end up getting plugged into a church pew where they are generally indoctrinated with church “garbledy goop” and as a result draw fairly solid borders between that which is sacred (anything related to the church) and that which is deemed secular (my everyday job, family life, friends, and daily life practices). We can preach unity all we want but unfortunately this divide of sacred and secular continue to exist and in some cases grow wider. There is little engagement with God’s word because one, it has little to no relevance to my daily life and two, isn’t that your job? We need to bring the two closer together until we realize that the secular is the sacred and vis versa. I am hoping you don’t label me as a heretic after this!

Anyways, how do we do that? How can we practice the unity of the sacred and the secular? Missional theology and practice brother! But, I’m sure you will get lots of that on the Shapevine link I sent you. You might want to check this article out to:

http://www.allelon.org/articles/article.cfm?id=381

Beyond that, maybe you and I can meet up for a cup of coffee some time in the near future. Just give me a call and I hope this didn’t turn into to much of a book for you! Blessings!