28 February 2006

What To Do

As far as bloggers go, I'm relatively a newcomer to the world. And I mix things up. I think a lot of men probably find my blog frustrating. I don't focus on one thing (theology, or running, or photography). I focus on my life, which is a mix of many things. I homeschool my children, I help plan worship services for my church, I quilt, I fall off virtual cliffs in my mind, I track my extended family, I tentatively track the emerging church, and you will find all of that and more (U2) here. Women can track this, men find it frustrating. Oh well.

I also follow a lot of blogs. I especially follow blogs about the emerging church. I find those very interesting. Well ... I did. But now I find I'm getting frustrated with them as well. I'm getting bored. Because they all seem to be saying the same things over and over again. I don't want to point fingers, because you know what happens then, don't you ... you get three fingers pointing back at ya.

But, lately I've been noticing a lot of complaining about the church. What's wrong. Why won't it change? And on and on. But here's the thing. The so-called Institutional Church really is feeding a lot of people. Or at least they think they are being fed. (Maybe I'm splitting hairs here). But the thing is that they are happy, they sense God and the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. So ... why should we change things for them?

My problem (and it is my problem) is that God and the Holy Spirit does not work in my life like that. So I need to find something different. That doesn't mean that I need to change the entire institution of the church universal. I don't think the entire church needs to change for about 10% of the population who are not being fed. That 10% can find another way of working things out. I think God is big enough to work things out for and with us.

The problem here is not spiritual, it's cultural. We (in the West, and particularly the US) as a result of the Industrial Revolution have been weaned on this idea that uniformity of function will produce more perfect results. We are now 4 or 5 generations into this. Our schools raise our children with this idea. Our factories and our offices stress this idea. Our suburbs and our farms all look alike. Just think about it, when was the last time you ate at a truly independent restaurant? And the time before that? We want to be able to go anywhere and find things that look, taste, smell and sound just like home. Including church.

But ....

There are some of us who are not like this. There are some of us who see life differently. We see God and His Kingdom differently. This is important. God needs all of us in order to unleash the fullness of His grace. It's not limited to just the institutional church, or just the emerging church. It's going to take all of us. And it's even going to take some people who haven't made themselves known yet. But we need to stop poking at our differences and stop talking about why we're different or how we're different. And just take a look around at the work that God is doing in the world and see where we can get on board with it. Where can we, in our individual communities, join up with our Creator in unleashing grace in our communities. How can we (no matter our church affiliation) bring His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven ...

(HT - Scot McKnight and Brother Maynard)

7 Comments:

Blogger Mike Croghan said...

Hi Sonja,

I hear you, but keep in mind that you've been called out of the "institutional church", while some of us haven't been (as far as we can tell so far, anyway). I agree that we don't need to change the "IC" if it doesn't want to change, but my experience is that there are many in the IC who do want change, and it's not necessarily a given that they should have to leave to get there, so some of us feel called to help accomplish that change from within, to the extent that it's welcome (if not always comfortable).

And I'm not sure I agree that all those who are happy being "fed" in the IC should just be left alone. Jesus was more about shaking people up, I think. I'm certainly not saying that the IC is bad or that God isn't working great works through it - let me say that emphatically! God is absolutely, definitely, powerfully, and constantly working great works through the IC. But that doesn't mean that the IC isn't called to continued conversion, just like the rest of us. And some of us feel call to help facilitate that conversion, that's all.

(And by the way, speaking as a certified male, I *love* your blog!) :-)

Peace,
Mike

2/28/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

Hey, Mike ... thanks for the props!

And, I do know of your particular struggles between HC and Mars Hill and how to bring a more emergent philosophy/theology to Holy Comforter. But ... what I'm concerned about seems to be prevailing attitude of comlaint without action. And you certainly do not fall into that category!! Or, on the other hand, this idea that we must completely overhaul the institutional church ... it's completely wrong for everyone. And I don't think that's true. I think there are elements of it that are indeed working for people and should be kept. I think we need to tread lightly here and keep a very careful listening ear to the Holy Spirit. Fools rush in ... yadda, yadda, yadda ...

But thanks for your thoughts ... you know I always like to hear from you. And it helps me clarify, my fogginess!!

Sonja

2/28/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

...are you calling me (and my blog) 'womanly'?

2/28/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Schuyler said...

You know, you only have three fingers pointing back at you if you point with one finger. If you sort of shake your hand as though you were casting a spell with all four fingers pointing forward and wiggling then you're in the clear!

2/28/2006 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

You know, I think as long as there are people, there are going to be people who thrive on finding differences between themselves and other groups. Then trying to justify their way as the better way. Forget about institutional church vs. emerging church... look at all the denominations of Christian churches. And don't even get me started on the pregnancy and parenting nazis. UGH! Some people just need to be "right."

Oh and Mike, did you know that all seminarians regardless of gender score very, very high on the feminine indicators on the MMPI. So while you are no longer actually in seminary, there is a statistical probability that you are "womanly."

2/28/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Schuyler said...

Liz, what's the MMPI? The Manly Man Personality Indicator?

3/01/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

This is a place that is trying to sell it, but you can get some idea of what the test is like...
http://www.pearsonassessments.com/tests/mmpi_2.htm

3/01/2006 01:07:00 PM  

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