Moral Contradictions

Friday, October 14, 2005

For several reasons...

...some stated here, some not, I'll "replay" a post from July - one that many of my new readers probably haven't read.

We can all learn something from this...

John W. Fountain wrote a column in today's Washington Post titled "No Place for Me - I Still Love God, But I've Lost Faith in the Black Church".

He touches on themes of an unfocused church, ego driven pastors, and the disconnect resulting from token spirituality presented within fundraisers and quasi-fashion shows.

The article is a must-read for all Christians who love and grew up within their respective churches yet feel the pain of disillusionment from discovering its deficiencies. I for one grew up within the Southern Baptist Convention and over-time became pained at the hurtful and needless politics of power exhibited at the expense of the true calling of Jesus. Witnessing too much anger and bitterness challenged me to examine what I believed and how to proceed. Part of that process is typing out this blog.

We all need to re-examine our own hearts and pray for the collective Church. We must pray that politics of power, of hate, of division, of exclusion, of diversion, and of money must not be placed as idols in front of Jesus' teachings. We must not argue about the difference between the word "inerrant" and "true" and condemn each other for not accepting each other's exact theology. We must not concern ourselves of each other's sins and focus on each other's failings.

We are called to purer and higher mission. That mission's over-riding theme is love. To be true Christians, we must act within the bounds of love, which cannot exist within the love of money or power. The desire for perfection and purification is a worthy goal; however, none of us is without blame and we must interact and fellowship with each other in love, not condemnation.

As I look out the window of the store at the beautiful sunset, reflecting on several online and personal conversations over the past few days, I wonder if those, I myself used to be one, who let emotion override reason while debating these differences understand the damage inflicted on Christianity overall. More and more I understand why the CBF pulled out - you can't find common ground with folks who won't listen - who are focused on winning, ethics and Christian love be damned. I remember a youth minister I used to have - I couldn't discuss issues with him because he was too busy preaching to me. I cringe when that happens - I absolutely abhor being told what to believe or "this is how it is, accept it". I want to learn, I'm willing to listen, I'm not too proud to modify my opinion in the face of compelling evidence, but I have my own opinions and beliefs that I bring into the debate which I consider valid. Until my debate partner recognizes that my opinions may actually have some validity and is willing to listen, there is no common ground.

When this happens - when we conduct intra-church squabbles in the public square, we're not the most convincing witness to non-Christians... they can get that same kind of fighting by watching Jerry Springer.

(Note, this is not directed toward any one person, but a general type of several personalities I've interacted with the past few days, some my family has interacted with, and some from my 'growing up' years.)

God bless

5 Comments:

  • Thanks for "replaying" Nathan. This is why I started blogging. I've experienced isolation and marginalization. I'm healing. Blogging helps. God Bless.

    By Blogger Marty, at Friday, October 14, 2005 7:57:00 PM  

  • Nathan,

    I just came over from the Mainstrean Baptist site. I read you "replay" and wanted you to know that you could have written it for me. I was raised Southern Baptist and I still attend a Southern Baptist Church. I do, however, feel very alone much of the time, and is truly saddens me that the Church of my youth is not the Church of my present. I really miss it. I have been blogging since the summer of 2004 and it has really helped me to discover that there are other Christians out there, indeed other Southern Baptists, that have similar feeling to mine.

    God Bless,
    TammyJo58

    By Blogger TammyJo58, at Saturday, October 15, 2005 11:30:00 PM  

  • Marty and Tammy Jo, thank you for reading... I hope you all can help keep me in check - I thank you for your support and for the knowledge that I'm not alone. :)

    By Blogger Nathan, at Saturday, October 15, 2005 11:56:00 PM  

  • tammyjo58,
    Where's your blog? I'd like to read it. I've found a lot of comfort here at Nathan's blog, Mainstream Baptist and others I've learned about through them both.

    By Blogger Marty, at Sunday, October 16, 2005 12:21:00 PM  

  • That's a pretty powerful article. Thanks for pointing it out.

    By Blogger cks, at Monday, October 17, 2005 2:53:00 PM  

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