Cut and run or stay and talk?

Terry Heaton, as usual, has siezed on a profound cultural incident and made observations about it that I think also relate directly to the church today, particulary our denominational tribes. Apparently the Washington Post began some blogs, but after one of its writers was corrected/exposed/reviled in some blog comments, rather than dialoguing and seeking to understand, the Post just stopped its blogs all together. Read the article at the Pomo blog here. Terry compares it to taking your ball and going home when the game is not going your way.

I think the significance of this incident is repeated hundreds of times today in the western Christian culture. There is a growing movement of innovative, passionate and authentic Christ-followers, but for the most part established denominations are very uncomfortable with them. Rather than ongoing dialogue or “Faith Seeking Understanding,” (a required textbook in many seminaries) they too are taking their toys and going home.

I know of one exec who informed a group of ministers that if they were reading or encouraging others to read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, that they needed to stop immediately. That kind of response is evidence of an unwillingness to dialogue, along the lines of the Washington Post. It’s that “top down” prescriptive thinking that frustrates and jades honest seekers of faith in our culture from giving the church the benefit of the doubt.

Another observer of how the church can’t handle outside thinking is George Hunter, author of The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach The West?Again. There is a great interview with him here.

If you disagree with me, don’t post a comment. I’ll shut down my blog! πŸ˜‰

On this day...

2 comments

  1. Jeff says:
    Jill,

    I hope bitter is not the word that best describes my attitude toward the church. I’m certainly not that way toward ours and any other local church that is earnestly seeking to expand the kingdom of Christ in their community and world. And I hope I’m not “bitter” toward churches that are seeking their own kingdom rather than that of Christ. I’m more disheartened than bitter.

    On the other hand, I’m rather optimistic and hopeful about the renewal of the church in western culture. There are some amazing things taking place that God is doing to renew and purify His bride.

    However, I think you may be picking up on my critique of the complacency of many in the church today to do business as usual, albeit with new “toys” – like video projectors, internet, contemporary praise and worship, etc. It’s almost an attitude of “if we get all the right pieces of the puzzle together, God will have to bless our church and grow it more than those around us.”

    I know you see the innate competitiveness in many churches today. You might be surprised to discover that there is even mnisterial jealousy present as well. One pastor looks at another church’s growth in his area and because they do things differently, sometimes feels like he has to deride their differences. Jesus told us that whoever is not against us is for us.

    As a pastor now, I see more clearly that the issue of building our own kingdom rather than that of Christ’s is not considered very often. Unfortunately, many churches blindly assume that growth in their programs and events equates to spiritual maturity and growth of Christ’s kingdom. It’s not always so. Sometimes, yes, but not always.

    I appreciate your comment and hope that my comments on the church serve to challenge and spur others on toward good deeds, to encourage people to honestly evaluate and consider their own role in bringing Christ glory in their commuity and our world.

  2. jill says:
    since when did u become so bitter about the church?? if i didn’t know better, i’d think you were presbyterian. LOL (no offense to any presbyterian’s out there – you can substitute Methodist if u want… i’d better stop there)

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