Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More Continued Reactions

The last comment to a post I made a few days ago...

Zach,
I agree with you about "the church" completely missing the point.

but perhaps the problem isn't "the church" but rather the loud voices, and hypocrites claiming to be the church.

in the new testament the church is described. and it is nothing like "the church" you describe.

I can understand your frustration though, so many churches lose sight of what's in the bible. but, I think that there are churches that try to stick to whats in the Bible.

of course, Christians have a difficult position, and I've yet to conclude what is ideal... because naturally we want to live by the morals we find in the bible. and being in a democratic society it only seems logical that we should vote for and try to make things happen in the government that will make living a christian life easier. things that support good morals... but at the same time it's a catch-22 because we also shouldn't force people to live by our moral standard. it's quite a conundrum.

I think studying Acts and a lot of the new testament letters would reveal what the church should be... then it's just a matter of finding a church that is trying to be that way...

I say "trying" because hopefully most christians realize that they're human and make mistakes. so finding a church that is perfect all the time would be impossible.

I think the brothers I meet with try to achieve this... I think there are still some things that they're off on, but that's the human factor. My christian family encourages me to be humble, and to put others before myself... and to be a servant, just like Christ says we should do. I think this is good.

It's a tough cookie... but I think the first step is to remove all ideas you have of the church and everything "the church" has done. Figure out what is should be, and find people living this way.

To be quite honest, it's tough as a christian to even tell who other christians are... So many christians are just christian by name and not by action.


and as far as knowing God's will. I believe he's spelled it out clearly.

"Fear God and Keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man"
-ecclesiastes

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
-Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20

""Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

and Jesus also explains who our neighbor is with the parable of the good samaritan.
even in that parable, the priest and the levite, who were high up in "the church"(judaism) who should have been the ones to help and show love and mercy, failed. it was the samaritan who would have been least likely in peoples' minds that actually did it.

"The Church" not doing what it should is nothing new. We just have to rise above it.

Here is my response:
A few clarifications.

When I use the term, "the Church", it is for a lack of a better term. "The Church" represents the insitution of organized religion, the Pat Roberston's and Jerry Falwell's, the political christian right wing, and the minions that are dispersed through churches in america. I know that there are Church's that mean well, and I am fully aware that the "church" I refer to in these posts is not the church described in the new testament. That is my point, the "church" is seemingly (in my eyes) becoming something completely isolated and differentiated, disassociated with what I feel are the core values of Christianity.

Also, you said, "because naturally we want to live by the morals we find in the bible. and being in a democratic society it only seems logical that we should vote for and try to make things happen in the government that will make living a christian life easier." That is a loaded statement that presupposes that all of us, even christians, have the same idea of what "good morals" are. What is a "christian life"...there are general ideas that we can agree on, but that doesn't get us far. Now, that problem is huge to me, and the a main reason why I feel the legislation of morality is fruitless effort. I do not think we can force, by law, everyone in America to live by a set of beliefs (when it comes to certain issues) encouraged by a specific religious sect. Even if we could succeed, they would be laws obeyed because of fear of punishment, not out of Love. You can't force someone to love, it has to be out of free will. We do live in a "democratic" society (and that definition is debatable), and therefore, people have to have a choice of what personal beliefs they follow, free of fear and intererence from any established "authority."

You also said:
"It's a tough cookie... but I think the first step is to remove all ideas you have of the church and everything "the church" has done. Figure out what is should be, and find people living this way. "
I need to make it clear that all of this I'm saying about the church was initiated from questions I was asked regarding my thoughts on Christianity. I do not want to give the implication that I sit bitter and stagnate, waiting for the church to correct itself before I start to love God. I live my life according to what I feel God is wanting. I do not even consider the church when it comes me living like a christian. Belief in God is incredibly liberating, it is a perfect example of beauty, internal and external. It is surrender and recognition, not that the world lacks meaning and is all ugly, but that world is full of God's art, and there are many clues and hints and glimpses of Him in everything. I can not rely on some else's interpretation of the bible, it can help me immensely, but their interpreation is a product of their lives and their experiences. The bible means something to me, God means soemthing to me. He is science and art and creativity. The bible says many things, but I think it is apparent that it is not as clear as you say. The bible is mysterious, and as black and white as verses may make it seem, I do not think it is easy. The bible is living, so the words change, the meanings are altered as you grow and learn and experience. God doesn't change, but our prospectives do as we grow and become more spritually aware, the bible remains a solid foundation, but it does not mean the same thing as it did when I was a child, nor will it give the same message as it does now, years down the road.

And also, I know these views I have are not pioneering, I know this has been the case for centuries. But right now, in my life, it is relevant and important in my growth.

5 Comments:

Anonymous kristin. said...

boring.

3:51 PM

 
Anonymous katie said...

Also in reaction to the original commenter-- I think a lot of the problem in the way the church is acting now are a result of people trying to make their "Christian lives" easier. Besides Zach's point that it's hard to agree on a definition of a Christian life, I think people need to seriously question such motivations.

I think as followers of Christ, our goal shouldn't be our own comfort. What makes us comfortable isn't necessarily going to be the most conducive to loving others the way Jesus would. In fact, I think a lot of Christians, in trying to make thier own lives easier, are really pushing away the people who need Jesus so desperately.

Jesus didn't come to Earth to make things easy. And He makes no illusions about the fact that following him is hard. People talk a lot about the fact that Jesus surrounded himself with sinners-- among his closest friends were the scum of Hebrew society. I don't know a lot of Christians today who live the same way. (I know I definitely don't.) But what I wanted to say is that when making things easier for ourselves becomes the motivation behind our decisions, we should definitely question that.

7:28 PM

 
Blogger disneydin said...

i agree with katie, as Christians we are taught to reach out of our comfort zones and touch others who don't know God.
one of the biggest hurdles out there are people who claim to be Christians, but live in ways completely separate from the teachings in the Bible. they seem to be the ones who are heard the most and "scare" (for lack of a better word) people away from Christianity.
i have been approached many times by people who, in their search for religion, came across a group of Christians who turned them off from the religion entirely. though we, as Christians, are told not to judge others, to love unconditionally, etc. there are those who go against those teachings.
from what i've seen and from the people i've talked to--when talking in general about Christians, the flaws of the general Christian population come out. it seems to me that people focus on those "stray christians"--for lack of any better phrasing--the ones who interpret the Bible and act it out in ways that are hypocritical to what the Bible actually says.
i guess what i'm saying (in more words than needed) is that there are many Christians out there who try to be as perfect as humanly possible. yet, because of human nature--or whatever you want to blame--humans tend to look at the flaws in the group.

and a quick comment about the church. i don't know if this was ever mentioned before, but the church has been interpreted not only as a fellowship of people, but a place inside oneself as well; how the individual worships, has a relationship with God, etc. there are many times when the physical church; the human church makes mistakes: breaks apart, conflicts on views, etc. but i believe there is a type of church in the individual as well that takes Christian beliefs and meditates on them in hopes of growing in the faith--without the distractions of other people, politics of the physical community church, etc.

9:03 PM

 
Blogger Zach said...

I'm glad you mentioned the church being something inside in the individual. To me, that is imortant not to forget. I think it is easy to forget that the strongest asset is your own heart. It seems a lot of people look to outside resources, to ask others to pray for them, or seek advice from preachers about what God says, and there is nothing wrong with that. Although, I think it is important to remember that a person has just as much of a connection with God as any high official of the church does. I think that is comforting, and a wonderful thing.

10:05 PM

 
Blogger Ethan said...

Yeah, it's great to know that you worship the same God as every other Christian, no matter if they're celebrities, popular preachers, or friends. It's awesome to know that you all share the same closeness and connection with the Creator.

12:01 PM

 

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