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Posts Tagged ‘theology’

One thing that I find absolutely fascinating about the Christian church is its diversity. We truly are a mosaic of backgrounds, histories, cultures, and personalities. We approach God, understand God, and respond to God in such a range of ways. The response of variety is often a claim of heresies brewing. Everyone thinks that their approach is the only way of Christian living. Yet even when suppressed, diversity of thought and practice have prevailed. And that is largely in part to the fact that God’s interaction with each group is messy; there is hardly ever a “100% stamp of approval” that we can see. This has led me to believe that doctrine and ideas may not be the bottom line after all.

In my last year, I read a lot about the history of church conflict. This year, I feel like I’ve dropped into the middle of it, quickly trying to learn what Christ intended the Church to be, and how that compares with my own approach to it. I recently read “Pagan Christianity,” by Frank Viola and George Barna (both house church advocates), in addition to various encounters and conversations about Wolfgang Simson and his “Starfish Manifesto.” And more and more, I’m starting to realize that the institutional church is just man’s attempt to bring predictability to God and His interactions with us. Rather than entering into living, breathing, Christ-centered communities, we consolidate our faith. We worship only on Sundays, only in certain locations and with certain people present. We rationalize God. We systematize everything.

Me, I don’t claim to “know it all.” I wish that there was a single way to view God, a single perspective to be had; I really do. We could all learn it and respond to it, never again having to quibble with each other. Unfortunately, God is so much bigger than our systematic theology, our concepts, and our worldviews. Defining our lives within a system full of absolutes will only result in miserable and self-righteous religion. Because when He moves or acts in a way that we have chosen not to accept, we are the ones that find ourselves wallowing in our own ignorance.

So I’ve been trying to just take a step back and see where God is moving, what He is doing, and how that interacts with His call on my life and on the lives of those around me. Again, I don’t have this all down. I can’t answer all of your questions. But Christ came to usher in a Kingdom, and there is only one King that exists within this system. We have been granted full access to His presence, and I think that going straight to the source is the best option available.

So do I leave the system that is so clearly broken? Do I stay and complain under my breath? Do I work within the institutional church, helping them to be as Kingdom oriented as possible, despite the inherent problems that I see? I mean, I’m all for Kingdom living, and I’m not the biggest fan of the institutional church. But it’s there, and it’s trying; I really do believe that. I need to know how to respond.

I guess it’s a good think that I have direct access to the King, isn’t it?

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