Thursday, January 31, 2008

Can You Help Me Change My Tire?

One tension that is causing me much consternation in my faith is that large chasm separating the things I’ve been taught and told are true and that which is reality. Seldom does it seem like I can hop from one side to the next and back again. Instead it seems like I stand on one side looking through binoculars toward the other, wondering what its like on the other side and just how do I get over there. Much of it has to do with how I was taught to tell others about Good News. My upbringing involved a 90-second to 3 minute Summary of the Story that could be offered at any place or time. The rationale given was based on the idea that we should always be ready to give an account for the hope that we have, whether that be in a checkout line or the Holy Grail of encounters: the Airplane. Now when I consider giving a reason for the hope that I have, that 3 minute Summary of the Story makes about as much sense as trying to tell a guy on the side of the road how to change a flat tire by reading him the brief facts from my birth certificate. It doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the matter at hand. The Good News is supposed to be about reconciliation, of bringing people back together, of making wrongs right again. So why is there so much division in the Church As We Know It? Why is the divorce rate no different among folks in it than outside of it? If BibleMan got wind of my objection, I’m sure he would quickly swoop down on my argument and take it captive before it did anymore damage. He would point the finger back and say that it is a You problem and not a Gospel problem, and to that I would say you’re probably right and quietly dismiss myself and go find another person with whom I could buy a pint and really talk about my issue. If the Story is true, why does it seem to lack power? If It is all It claims to be, why is there so little evidence of it? Why is the distinguishing difference between ChurchGuy and AverageGuy not a powerful life, but of what he does between the hours of 9am and noon on Sunday?


co_heir said...

I think the reason the Story seems to be so ineffectual is that the church has only been telling part of the story for many years. As you said, we have distilled it down to a short presentation that can only focus on getting the person to the point that they "accept Jesus" so they can stay out of hell. We have forgotten that the Gospel is for our day-to-day, not just after we die. Jesus told us to go and make disciples. That involves a whole lot more than just a one-time contact. It takes getting involved in people's lives so they see us living out the Gospel. it also takes teaching the people in our churches how the Story affects us daily.

So yeah, I guess you could say that the problem isn't the Story, the problem is us. :)

Gregster said...

Before commenting on your post, let me apologize for involving you in a game of tag begun by some professor of religion in Indiana. Read the post "Upping the Intellectual Ante" here at my blog.

I have ended up in a very different place theologically from where I began. I believe the reason there is little statistical difference in the morality of "the church" and "the world" is that we are ALL forgiven by Jesus' sacrifice and are equally reconciled to God. I believe religion is the last great wall that divides mankind. It is even stronger than race and nationality. Read my post on Biblical innerancy for my opinion of why Christian doctrine is so diverse and divisive.

Mike said...

Your question is a primary reason I have become a universalist. It just seems like the good news ought to be unalloyed.