Wednesday, February 20, 2008

To Fundamentalist Parents Everywhere

This can't be true Christianity. It can't be.
They try to change the heart through law. They turn the screws, and keep turning. They pressure and push. They use force. They draw a line in the sand and ask everyone to choose sides. They scout around for anyone who might be willing to join them in putting on additional pressure. They go to the point of destruction in order to impose what they think is right.
They want to change the outward by conforming the outward. Their "principles" do not allow them to let go of the outward situation long enough to cultivate a heart connection that would get them what they want.
Outward change comes from inward growth, and inward growth comes from a maturing soul and spirit. Don't complain about a lack of maturity when you have sought outward change by means of force. Shepherding is the spiritual activity whereby a more mature believer befriends and guides other believers to seek the Lord. This you should have done.
Our knowledge will not be perfect until "that perfect is come." Your convictions in this situation should be under the rule of Christ. As such, you missed an opportunity for your own growth when you passed on the opportunity to shepherd us.
Prayer is the first resort no matter how obvious the situation. Not only did we need your shepherding instead of your force, we needed your prayer instead of your force. You apparently only dared to shake the gates of heaven when the situation got completely out of your hands.
Weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice. If one member suffer, all suffer with it. We are members of one body. Can the hand say to the foot, I have no need of you? But those members which we consider to be less, we dress them with greater adornment. We should have the same care one for another. If you have something against your brother, lay down your gift and be reconciled. We are part of the church too.
You might have gotten what you wanted now had you not used force all along. Your comprehensive, unrelenting, unmerciful, and aggressive opposition gave us something to protect and fight for.
I wish to God I had arrived at this point in my life by means of your shepherding, rather than your opposition.

Friday, February 15, 2008

No Neutral Education

"...When a child’s education is merely defined as a place to teach math, reading, and writing, it seems that just about any school setting could meet the goal–public, private, or home. So much more is at stake here though. Education is the process by which values are taught, where social skills are picked up, where worldview is shaped, and where a child is given the opportunity to take his knowledge and fit it into a structure that is either God-centered or man-centered.

"Anyone who believes that public schools only teach the three Rs is being deceived. There is no such thing as a neutral education. How sad that so many parents think that Johnny and Jill are getting solid academic lessons and nothing else at ABC Elementary.

"...Deuteronomy 6 is as relevant today as it was then."

- Comment by "Kim" at this article

"...Too many public schooling parents are not intentionally and skillfully training their children to examine what they are taught and respond to it biblically. Too many Christian schooling parents are wrongly assuming that their children’s discipleship is covered simply because the child’s teachers pray in class and refer to Scripture in their class lessons. And likewise, too many home-schooling parents error in assuming that their children are followers of Christ simply because they show some kind of outward conformity to their safe Christian environment, without calling them to look deeply at the depths and seriousness of their sinfulness and their desperate need for a Savior. ..."

- Comment by "Zach P." from same article

Simplistic Answers to Real Problems

From "World From Our Window": (bold emphasis mine)

"Simplistic Answers to Real Problems - This is the kicker as far as I'm concerned. Our young people know what is wrong....but they do not know why certain things are wrong. When forced to defend their positions biblically, they simply have no choice but to wave the white flag to unbiblical and secular worldviews. This is where the anti-intellectualism of hysteric fundamentalism has been incredibly detrimental. Believing the Bible does not equate to ignorance or cultural stupidity. We can engage culture on ANY issue because we do believe in objective and propositional truth. Instead of teaching that sex outside of marriage is wrong because "preacher said so" let's be sure that we can actually exegete Scripturally why we believe that. This goes for all of the other subjects and issues that we should be engaging in as followers of Christ - things like abortion, marrying the unregenerate, marrying the lukewarm, pornography, homosexuality, lying, drunkenness, or facing real temptations in real life. The answers to these questions is not simply "go to church more", or "have a better quiet time" or "memorize more verses". All of those things are wonderful but it goes much deeper than that. Young people and adults alike must be able to articulate biblical truth to real life and not just have a church mindset for Sunday but also realize that they represent Jesus Christ 24 hours a day 7 days a week."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Get a Life

Do I seem to post and go on about the same stuff? Perhaps I am bitter or bored. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps I am warped and broken. Broken truly, and going on like a broken record.
Are you broken? I am broken. We are broken. The healing tissue of necessity takes the shape of the wound and provides a scar for all to see.
What is it to be whole? What does it mean to be overcoming and well-adjusted? Is it a goal set, not to get us to that point, but close enough to that point to make us civil?

The more I speak the more I am not heard. The more ears I reach the more I have not reached.

The more I am heard the more I am not heeded. The mind may hold the heart captive but it can't change it.

Do I imagine that I will fix it all? No, I must be content to allow my catharsis to be just that. If, living in my own way and by the wisdom I have gained from God and man, I find peace and contentment and fulfillment, I will have obtained a prized place few others reach.

Muturing Faith & Programs

"A pastor once expressed concern to my professor regarding a congregant who had quit attending Sunday evening services. My prof asked if the man had been consistently growing in Christlikeness over the past years. Was he becoming a better husband? A better father? A better employee? Was he evidencing the fruit of the Spirit in increasing measure? The pastor said, 'Well, yes.' My prof's response was, 'Then why are you worried about it?' He went on to articulate that we must not get the means confused with the end (i.e., a program confused with Christlikeness). The goal is not to pack out our programs--including Sunday evening services--but to mature people in faith."

-Nathan Casebolt

"Sunday evening gives you about three hours, tops, to "help others." If that service, or any other organized weekly meeting, is the extent to which we are helping others, we are utterly failing in our calling to stir up each other to love and good works. Being genuinely involved in each other's lives does not require and is sometimes hindered by multiple weekly meetings of the entire congregation. Corporate worship is essential, but it does not constitute what "church" is all about, nor can we, as believers, practice love to each other sufficiently in those contexts.

"To put it mildly I think Fundamentalists, among many others, have a serious problem with what the "church" is and what it is about. Being an active member of the church has little to do with how many times you're assembled and much to do with how you, outside of those few meetings, express your love to your brothers and sisters in Christ, which asusmes your getting involved in their lives.

"People need to be awoken from their delusion that simply because they assemble together (what we inaccurately call "going to church"), and maybe even do something like teach or sing, they are are fulfilling their obligations to their local body. The idea of being separated from each other five days a week, then shaking each others' hands and making small talk for 30 minutes a week constituting our primarily conception of what (the) church is (to be doing) is indicative of our errant priorities and doctrine.

"When you look at the lists of spiritual gifts, it should be glaringly obvious that most of those gifts cannot be effectively used on the context of the local congreations' assembling once or twice a week. They imply and presuppose daily contact with the local body."