Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Church Musings

You may have noticed that I've added a new blog to my "Blogs of Honor." Naked Pastor is a site I've been considering adding for awhile, but this post sealed the deal for me. I think it sums up one of the "problems" with church that we often can't put our finger on. You really have to read the post but essentially the author talks about how we can share our reality with others (vices, weaknesses, need for others) outside of church but that when we get to church we often put on:

the spirit of the church. We become possessed by it, and we are suddenly very religious, which manifests itself in excuses, self-justification, empty assertions, arrogance, pat answers, aggression against doubt, and fruitless faith claims. It’s curious how unrighteous we can be out there, but once we get within the walls of a church, we become something we are certainly not: righteous.

I liked this. The problem is not necessarily the church itself, but what we become when we step inside. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater! What Hayward describes as the "spirit" of the church" is not the Holy Spirit of the church. The small "s" spirit is religiosity and a false image of reality that is destructive to everyone. What if we decided to rebel against this false spirit? How would it change our churches? Imagine the freedom . . .

Of course, that doesn't mean that we should glory in our depravity. God is holy, and calls us to a transformed and righteous life. And yet, he does not call us to deception and false righteousness. Authenticity is a tricky business sometime, but I think we should strive for it and pair it with the giving and receiving of grace.

May Light increase!


Anonymous said...

I completely agree. It took me a long time to find a church where people are honest about their faults and encourage eachother as we try and do what God asks us to do. Our pastor has been doing a lot of sermons lately about things we all struggle with. Then he asks a member of the congregation to tell their testimony (pertaining to the sermon) outlining their struggles and how they are working on turning their lives around. We've heard stories about everything from drug addiction, to infidelity, to sex addiction. It's amazing how tight knit a church family can be when they are honest with eachother - and it all started with our pastor. He's really good at telling us about his own struggles and how he has had to come to God for forgiveness. I think that's where it starts really, is with the pastor. We have to know that pastors are not perfect and that they learn the same lessons we do everyday. Once they are open, the rest of the church feels free to be open as well.

Have a great day!

nakedpastor said...

Thank you so much for the honor of being mentioned in your blog. Actually, I think your description of my post is better than my best. Blessings! david