Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Learned Something Today...

I have done some thinking these last few days about the faith that I love - and I have done a lot of reading and blogging in that time. I have come to the most absurd conclusions ever (on this blog anyways) - and I am not sure why this is.

I have become way too liberal in my thinking - in some senses of that word - and I have to turn around and be more grounded (or level-headed). I found I was fighting against the 'churched-folk' or the 'evangelical right wingers' (on the basis of a few good things) but I noticed I was shutting those people out - and treating them in a way that wasn't fair - I was being hypocritical (in some sense) and I should of been more open. I found out they 'aren't the enemy' although some may be 'close-minded', they are people that need to be enlightened as much as any of us have been.

I noticed that a lot of times we want to 'bash their evangelical heads against the rocks' (and there is a time and place for this imagery) but we need to start seeing them as we were - as mis-guided and foolish in our actions - having the knowledge of a 'said God' but not knowing the power of the 'said God'. And not all people of the faith are this way, some are, but not all are in this 'limited thinking' mold. I guess I learned (like Stan & Kyle) that I need to be more open to all people - things are not quite as they seem - I lived in that lie for some time - but now I know it's a self-invented perception.

This faith is under a lot of scrutiny from a lot of weird places - I learned this from interaction with muslims, atheists, evangelicals, free-thinkers, scientists, liberal Christians, etc. I don't mind challenging the ideals of the faith that 'don't work' - or even the structure of the church - I enjoy knowing that we need change - this has become quite obvious. But if you have a hard time saying 'we' when talking about the church - you just crossed a line that you never knew you did (and that's your right as a human being). If it is true you entered the 'other side' of this dialogue - then any criticism laid is a really a criticism wasted (since 'you' are not in the 'we' anymore - you actually 'gave up' on the 'we').

I have found all this liberal jargon is quite fun and a great way to vent some of the current frustrations we have about the faith - I actually have little problem with that (hell I do it too). But if you can only play the 'blame game' and not find alternative answers to these problems that you and others are experiencing - what good can that be? Are there answers? Yes or no?

I come from a neighborhood in some serious trouble (see last post) and I have realized this faith offers more hope than any single program, tv show, song, or complaint - some of these people in the 'hood' just want some stability and a paradigm to live by - and frankly - I have to say, this faith is the best solution to the problem (or at least an all around way to start dealing with it). In this faith we have hope, structure, ideas of dedication, compassion, love, stability, care for the poor, etc. In this faith is a great paradigm for the new believer - and for those who have been broken in half - by the world around them.

I have had a lot of people tell me how useless the bible, the church, the faith, Jesus, prayer, and worship all are - but have you ever been without hope? Do you remember the feeling of 'being lost'? Well remember that and then throw in heavy problems in crime, addictions, education, family stability, and lack of faith in authority - and you might catch a glimpse of why this faith has a great ability to reach 'the actual poor'. Maybe we all just got too 'rich' for our ownselves.

But there is problems in the structure of church - I know that and I want them changed (or at the least challenged). There are problems in interpretation of scripture - I know that also and I want that changed (or at least challenged). The focus of the church misses the 'real poor in society' - I know this and I want this changed - immediately. There are problems of narrow-minded-ness and of unity - I know this and I want this changed. I am not sure where I fit in, left or right or centre-minded, but I do know that I want to see change in the church and more unity amongst the majority of us - and I think we need to not forget the faith - or those still in the faith that just might need us to walk beside them.


Cinder said...

blessings to you Society and thank you...you've challenged me in many ways this past year. those challenges have made me dig deep in my faith and also to be out taking action more than i do.

BrotherKen said...

"I have become way too liberal in my thinking" (society) correct me if i misunderstand you but, i think we should have the freedom to figure some of these things out. even if i totally agreed with the doctrine and activities of a church i would not want them to spoon feed it to the individual. i think the real spiritual benefit to our faith is in the struggle to know god and what he wants us to do. of course some messages are required teaching in the faith (like the desire our god has wellfare of the poor) but beyond a certain point individuals should be challenged to decide for themselves what to believe.

your point about putting yourself outside the church by being critical is well taken. i know you are not addressing me here but i am in this group. maybe i am only justifying my own actions but there is another way to look at this. i see church as no more and no less than the people in it. secular society (and god) views the church based on the programs and activities of the people. when i do something, even if it be just a kind word, people around me, who know i am a christian, and (i hope) they attribute that to the faith. so do my critiques put me outside the church? good question, i will have to think about that.

BrotherKen said...

ok i thought a bit more :-) i agree that we can become too liberal and critical. we have to guard that we have proper motive and we are not being petty. i re-read my comments about putting ourself on the outside and it is a bit hoky, please disregard :-)

Diana said...

Yeah...I talk too much about us and them...when in reality it's all we...we are all searching for God no matter how that looks...it's all the same....we are all in need of God's rescue...no matter how that looks...it's needed by all...we are all wrong...not matter how it looks...it applies to us all...mankind as a whole.

chris said...

I was raised and tutored in the evangelical faith, and only recently have I became more "liberal" in my viewpoints. For me it isn't an us against them mentality because I know that their hearts are in the right place. And yes, I have taken my potshots at their inability to think outside the box. It is, however, frustrating to listen to the intolerance and anger that flows from the pulpits today. So, I guess my question is how do we speak the truth without becoming judgemental? Very good post!!

hineini said...

societyvs, can I ask whether you think Christianity has the monopoly on hope?

the_burning_bush said...

First off, I really liked your style in this post. Second I vigorously agree with your point about removing the 'me' from the 'we'. Calvin wrote in the Institutes (no, I'm not a Calvinist) that there is no salvation apart from belonging to Christ's Church. So often I sit at Church and think contemptuously, "Everything here is done for people to see!" But God is at work in the people He has called according to His foreknowledge -just as He was patient in dealing with me.

I think you will agree with me that hypocrites come in all varieties -some are vigorously obedient to sections of the Bible (the liberals) and others are half-obedient to the whole thing (the conservatives). The missing factor is an absolute relation to the absolute.

Karen said...

well, I guess that Jesus was considered a major liberal (and heretic!!) in His time on earth. He hung out with the "worst" of society...and heaven forbid...treated women as equals. So, I guess it's hard to say what's too liberal...but if it comes from a place of love it's probably just keeping an open mind.
Like Diana said...it's "we."

BrotherKen said...

"It is, however, frustrating to listen to the intolerance and anger that flows from the pulpits today. So, I guess my question is how do we speak the truth without becoming judgemental?" (chris)

Very good question. And it has a very good answer. Intolerance does not belong in the pulpits. This is nothing less than abuse of the position. Christians don't have any right to protest against homosexuality or any secular topic in the pulpit or on the street. And the reason is simply that we do not belong to the same kingdom. Yes, I am making an ugly "us and them" statement but is it not true?

We are taught that we have joined in to the Kingdom of God. Unrepentant sinners have not as yet done that. We therefor are attempting to be the moral voice where we don't belong. It is a little deep I know but when you think about it, at least when I did, you can have a better relationship with those you (or our teachings) don't approve of. Therefor you can love and respect them for who they are. If God wants to convert them He will. He is the only one who can.

BrotherKen said...

"Christians don't have any right to protest against homosexuality or any secular topic"

Scratch that and replace with;

"Christians don't have any right to protest against homosexuals or other political agendas".


I can believe something that you don't without judging you.

SocietyVs said...

"societyvs, can I ask whether you think Christianity has the monopoly on hope?" (Heinini)

Nope. I have a friend that is Muslim and is turning has life around (a 180 degree turn to be honest). I talked with some Mormons last night at a meeting and they are building a Mentoring program for the 'hood' (youth mentoring youth in music - called SWAY).

My simple point is well, simple. I am not saying I agree with right wingers or that I would follow their train of thought - I'd be another clone - what I am saying is the 'church' isn't really much but it is a place to call home (for a lot of people - just we got to liberal to remember how this even helped us in the first place). I am saying throw out the bathwater (some of the ideals) and keep the baby (the church).

the_burning_bush said...

Brother Ken,

Would you agree that the Bible says homosexuality is a great evil?

BrotherKen said...

the_burning_bush, we can all read what the bible says and it also says that women should not speak in church. Each of us must decide for ourself if we are going to smack our women for speaking up in church or we are going to put ourself above others due to their lifestyle. I chose to respect people who respect me, and yes my wife is allowed to speak in church.

SocietyVs said...

"Would you agree that the Bible says homosexuality is a great evil?" (BB)

I would disagree with this assumption as 'a great evil' (what does 'great' mean exactly?)

Is it a sin - well I would say that reports on such things do show that a lot of the sexual activity that occurs can lead to some healh problems. Did Jesus even mention this - no, not really - check the gospels.

Just how 'great' of a sin do you see here? So bad that we have to eradicate it altogether or something that is a nuisance? I have friends that are gay and lesbian - I have no problem talking, hanging out, etc..with those people. I have to go by the higher laws of Jesus - namely love. But if i am wrong on this I need clarification?