16
Nov
09

Random Babble

I’ll have more installments of the novel coming up soon. May write them short to keep a flow going, so that maybe the rule will be only one or two scenes per installment, instead of three or four like I’ve been shooting for a lot of times.

Also have some announcements of a few additions/changes around here to make in the coming days. Nothing drastic; more of an addition to the mix.

Now, with that out of the way, do I have anything to say today? Yeah. I do, and it’s about how the behavior and attitudes of churches (both in their leadership and within their congregations) is so often used these days to decry how broken Christianity is. How messed up it is. How it must not be true, because if it were, then why is there so much hypocrisy? Why don’t people all agree? Why have things strayed so far from the kind of stuff that Jesus focused on (lifting up the poor, healing people, helping people, teaching people and exposing hypocrites)?

I would ask: Why reject Christianity and say it’s bogus, simply because the institutions have messed things up in many cases?

I mean, did Jesus say, “Set up institutions with lots of rules and make people go through hoops?”

No.

In fact, the early apostolic church leaders didn’t do that either. Yes, they had to talk about rules and doctrine, and they had to stamp out heresy that went counter to Jesus’ gospel, but they weren’t trying to make some rigid institution. The early church was small groups, meeting and praying and talking. When there were problems and divisions, people came together and sometimes called in church leaders to sort things out.

The epistles weren’t meant in most cases to set down ironclad rules but to keep things from breaking down into petty divisions and squabbling and incorrect (or even blasephemous) teachings.

Where we got rigidity, and lots of bureaucracy, and tons of rules and levels of access to the sources of knowledge was largely when Christianity turned into Rome’s state religion. When an emperor turned it from Christians churches forming a body of Christ, into A CHURCH, of which each person was going to be a cog. It went from something organic to being a machine.

And machines are known for being soulless.

If people spent more time meditating on the gospels and on Jesus’ words, and seeing how they tie into the Old Testament and how they simplify and elevate those “old time” laws and rules into something more precious and God-connecting, we’d be better off. Instead, we have many church leaders who want to make, spout and enforce rules, and many churchgoers who are all too happy to just nod and say, “OK.”

Jesus railed about following the letter of the law instead of the spirit of it. And yet we go and bind outselves right up in it again. And bind ourselves tighter and tighter. The epistles have a lot to offer in terms of guidance and clarification, but it is to Jesus whom we should look first, as Christians.

Christianity is alive and well, in those who will study the Word and try to be open to the Holy spirit. Among those who simply want to lead or to be led, there is a sickness, but that is a sickness of people, NOT of the gospel of Christ.

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4 Responses to “Random Babble”


  1. 1 societyvs
    November 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t think the early communities came to do away with rules (or even law for that matter) – we as humans need that type of direction (teaching).

    I think faith is about developing a finer committment with those around you and I and with our faith in God (it becoming something meaningful). The teachings seem to safeguard against making mistakes that will only hurt you in the long-run – reaching out to our common sense – asking us to weigh in on our personal actions and responsibility in society.

    One needs to remember this all started as a ‘law’ (Torah) for a nation of people – to set them apart from the surrounding ideas in societies. Now law functions to help people fit their behavior into what is acceptable for society. In one sense, one can see the law as helping people to become more humane. At least that’s how I think about it.

    The gospel is just a furtherance of that idea for all people – about kingdom ethics. It’s basically the teachings redacted from Jesus own words or one of the disciples. They seem contrary to law but they aren’t…they still seek a personal accountability of the person to ethics – or the spirit of the law (which was good).

    The way I see it all is the way some of the Psalms (or Deuteronomy) kind of look at it –

    “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.” (Deut 30:15-16)

    Leviticus 18:5 “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD” (also in Nehemiah 9:29)

    I see them as speaking about life and living that life to the fullest potential…people may want to focus on the bad aspects of that ‘law’ – but it is what it is – rules to help one focus their lives in a positive direction.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    November 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I didn’t mean to suggest that it was a free-for-all…don’t get me wrong. I believe in rules, and they are necessary. What I refer to is what has happened since the church became institutionalized, and all sorts of new and extra things were added. Things that seem to have little to do with Jesus or his teachings…or sometimes even with the epistles of the early church leaders, either.

  3. 3 societyvs
    November 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    “What I refer to is what has happened since the church became institutionalized, and all sorts of new and extra things were added.” (deacon)

    It’s the old argument of following the edicts of God versus the doctrines of human leaders. Now although humans will paint their doctrines with a spiritual coat – it doesn’t neccesarily mean the idea they teach is legit. I have my issue with institutionalism also – and the routine that goes on in churches. I like churches, don’t get me wrong, but what passes as authoritative in the ‘name of God’ sometimes is just the doctrine of humans passing it off as such.

    Church services for one are structured in a way that one might think this has some scriptural basis (being so uniform across the board)…it doesn’t. There is no passage on how a church service should look in NT texts…no description of what needs to be done and how. From there we can see a facade somewhat exists – and we can question a number of doctrines as legit or not.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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