Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dismissed thoughts...

I found this on Bobby's blog. It made me think. How much have I done that?

I have spent some time reading a atheistic blog . I certainly cannot accurately understand all that was presented (as I have not read it all yet... I have to process more). However, I guess I can understand a portion of their worldview in that it seems that some who have rejected religion and theism in general reject some of what Scriptures says and they see parts of it as contradictory etcetera (it is not my intent to examine their objections); it might be easier for people, atheistic or otherwise to examine and accept first of all a theistic worldview and then look at and possibly even accept Christianity if we as a church and I mean that with the WORLD church in mind could all get on the same page and agree on a few things.

Clearly there is some agreement between branches of Christianity, but clearly there are so many branches because of disagreement. How many different things come to mind? The Spirit, the gifts, government, how to read the Bible, or whatever you want to bring up, how many books have been written on all this. I have thought for many years now the denominations (specifically branches of theological thought) are a necessary evil.

I wonder if there would be as much opposition or objection to theism and Christianity in particular if all us of us were able to look at the Bible and come to the same conclusions. If all of us in our behaviour and our attitudes towards those like us and different from ourselves were similar? The particular blog I read seemed like it was written by intelligent and well meaning people who like to dwell on positive things and not the negative.

I wonder if like Tozer says "We are safe only when the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, only when our intellects are indwelt by the loving Fire that came at Pentecost." That we know and experience God as much as possible and we do what we can.

However big people's obstacles are to theism and Christianity, my hope is that as people examine my life that they see someone who is genuinely trying to live out a life of faith, hope and love. A life that gives to others, helps, encourages and tries to be good. But then again, I'm biased, I'm a Pastor. I'm a Christian. I'm a child of God, and you may or may not believe in God.


Colin said...

Though I understand the sentiment, I'm not convinced that denominations or multiple theological branches in Christianity (or any philosophical/ideological paradigm) are "a necessary evil." There was a time when I thought this, and if I recall this was the period in my life when I tended to be a proponent of the majority opinion in the faith community of which I am a part. That day has since passed. As a person who tends these days to swim upstream I feel that the multifaceted nature of the Christian Church (that is the Church catholic) has very likely saved it from both obscurity and esotericism. When beliefs become stale or theology is reduced to intermural spit-ball contests there is a necessity for reform. This reform has almost always come in the guise of new Christian movements. These inevitably become institutionalized and new denominations are born. The end result is a patchwork quilt of faith where some essential components are held by all (these components tend to determine true inclusion or "orthodoxy") and some components are particular to a given community and allow that community to minister to a given subset of humanity. Though it has developed organically, I'm not sure you could plan a more effective tool for rebirth and renewal. Our faith remains fresh and yet consistent precisely because of this tension between reform and tradition.

the Doug said...

I suppose I agree in principle with what your are saying, especially as I was writing more from a "gut" level then from an intellectual slant. However at some level I still believe there must be a better way to do it. I'm not trying to deconstruct things, however, it seems like this type of reform take inordinate amount of energy away from what is "true orthodoxy" as you put it. Certainly the church is in a constant state of change, and rightly so.
The question that haunts the back of my mind as a leader in the church, is how can we change and move forward with less wasted energy and with less pain? Is there a way to move the church forward and still have a stronger sense of unity? I know I'm blue-skying a bit here, but it's a question that has (and probably will continue to) kept me up at nights.

As I examine churches I see too much pain, too much energy spent on maintenance and not as enough into actual ministering to new subsets as you call them.

But then again, I've never claimed to be the academic... I'm a simply country pastor (who saw that coming!?!)

Thanks for you comments, I really appreciate them.