Friday, February 25, 2011

A small introduction...

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Points to take note of:

1) The Local Church here refers to the local churches the world over, which consist of the blood bought Christians who constitute the Body of Christ.

2) The issues raised below are based on the fact that we must represent Christ in ALL that we do by the simple reason that we don’t do such a belief any justice at all if we don’t. This does not mean that we are perfect but we must live towards the ideal, our shortcomings regardless, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us. If, to start with, our purposes and mechanisms do not allow us to do this, this cannot be achieved.

3) The concerns are certain beliefs and practices, as have been mentioned, that have permeated the Local Church. The issues are intended for consideration and correction, in light of the reasons mentioned.

A Church Re-Think

Issued in the better interest of the deplorable condition of Christian Belief today (and its implications on the Local Church, hereafter referred to as IT), below lie an expression of concern regarding certain beliefs in it that are prevalent at large, as has been observed.

Point no. 1

Being a set up in itself, IT can only serve itself and keeps serving Christ, at best, a second priority.

IT, at best, ought to be no more than a community united by the common cause of Christ – the commonality between the members of which is defined by Christ alone, not added to or replaced by stipulations, dogma, order of service, administration and such. If these be, they must be representative and commemorative of Christ and are merely incidental. There ought to be no effort towards such institutionalisation of it primarily because the Institution already IS - Christ. Any other manner of bringing it about, especially efforts that constantly engage us with the working of the setup as a primary concern, will only cause it to be a setup that serves itself. This will cause IT not to have the time to serve Christ. Even if it does, it will make serving Christ, not the first priority when it should be the only priority. IT does not exist for its own accommodation. Its primary priority is to be the beacon of light that Christ is to the world around and a beacon of hope and encouragement to its own congregation, as well, as they walk in the Lord.

Point no. 2

Moving the centricity of message of the Hope of Christ from the Christ in us to the world out there, making it a message that does not speak of Christ completely.

When we walk and talk the Christian Way, our source for the direction and manner that we do it in is the Christ in us. And the message that we give, in this direction and manner, is also directed by the Christ in us. The centricity of the message given has fallen short of this principle. In the effort to reach out to the world, the focus is on the measurable outcome of the message more than the message itself. In certain efforts stressing on a measurable outcome, the message has been diluted losing out more and more on the core of the message (Christ), the more innovative they get. The questions that matter have not changed, neither have the answers. The ones that have mattered have always mattered, once you remove the fluff that has seemed to be added to them. When we try and tweak the Hope so that we can get a measurable outcome keeping this fluff in mind, its message of Hope gets less Christ-centric. This would mean speaking of Christ in a manner that does not completely speak of Him, being misguiding, misinformative and misleading.

Point no. 3

The corporate policy adopted by IT does not justify the Hope of Christ.

IT has offered and is offering this hope, keeping in mind a measurable outcome. Our hope in Christ should be radiant from the Christ in us. It ought not to be hindered and made any less Christ-centric lest it have a message not worthy. IT has filtered it to suit a demographic and sustain the system that offers it, primarily. It’s only strength and source should be Christ. The Hope ought to be simply always and ever given as much as the Christ in us enables us to. We have to put ourselves out there with this hope, regardless of its outcome, because it would be a plain crime to hold it back or filter it to make the message any less Christ-centric.

Point no. 4

Primary Involvement in IT has taken a backstage with fulfillment of agenda, which being set in stone has been made the primary objective. It blocks the realization of the individual (and combined) call.

Being a community, Primary Involvement in IT is key. When an agenda is set in stone, the members of the community are used to merely fulfill that agenda- not allowing them to be involved of their own interest and leading. This also does not allow them to put to practice their own calling. Assuming that the agenda is Christ led, it being set in stone does not allow the Spirit to flow either. The closest it should come to being set in stone is being common consensus. For this reason, any direction that takes the form of an agenda of any sort ought to remain Spirit led and not be set in stone at all.

Point no. 5

The manner in which we treat our young children like imbeciles when instructing them about God and his Word is not done in recognition of the intelligence that God created them with, not guiding them to make informed choices to follow God and know Him.

Teaching about God ought to be a facilitative process – one in which people are led to God to find out and learn for themselves. This is because the Christian faith is not simply about facts about God but about knowing God. The teacher ought to facilitate this process and not simply drive into people’s heads what God is about. This would amount to brainwashing. This cannot come by driving into minds what God is supposed to be about. If one is to know God then they have to go to Him and not simply know what He is about. Therefore, the ideal way to teach God is to present the case, informing people with reason, the Word and the hope of the conviction of the Spirit. Based on this, they should make an informed choice to find out and know God, should they choose to, and start walking with Him. We have, unfortunately, adopted the former method with children. Not in all cases is this intended. In some cases, it is passed down and simply followed. In some, it is done in hope that it leads to them to starting to know God sometime down the line or at least keeps them on to the right path. This manner of teaching is abusive and does not do justice to the intelligence that God made Man in and also propagates a belief that is not based on knowing God primarily.

Point no. 6

An authoritarian manner of teaching that does not encourage the learner to explore their own faith.

Christian teaching is primarily peer-to-peer with an attitude of humility. No one is given more importance than the other(s). Some may be more knowledgeable but all knowledge is approached with humility – the motive being to gain the best understanding that can be gained from all parties involved. This form of learning is not only via formal teaching but also through regular and otherwise interaction – primarily as a culture. When adopted, an authoritarian manner of teaching is not facilitative of the above said. This form of teaching speaks down to people, not leading them to explore the faith themselves before believing it. They eventually simply believe things that they are told but which they have not explored, and hence, don’t know themselves first. Though we all have a choice to choose between blind belief and reasoning why we believe, it is such a practice that encourages the latter form of belief.

Point no. 7

The focus that is given to activity has made it a mainstay, not keeping it inspired taking away the soul of the message of Christ from it.

The Christian life is not following a set of dos and don’ts but a walk with a Living God – which is also its manifestation, activity inclusive. This being the case, the mainstay ought to be the Walk and the activity, incidental. The activity and the Walk cannot be two different things done separately. The activity, being incidental, is to be inspired by the Walk. We have made the activity the mainstay thereby driving our efforts towards it and not towards the upkeep of the Walk (in some cases completely and in others only to a larger degree) - keeping it uninspired from the Walk and disconnected from Christ.

Point no. 8

The promotion of Christian Belief that moves towards a certain particular end – keeping the end more important than the focus of the journey and the journey itself – reducing the Christian Walk to an engineered journey as opposed to a honest and sincere walk with God in our yearning for him.

The Christian life is a journey that we take on as we walk with God. It is a journey that starts at the yearning for God. As we discover God more and more, we learn more and more about him. Since we are learning about him, we cannot engineer our belief towards a certain God (which would make the journey futile). We must follow that yearning and we go where it takes us. If we knew who God is, we would not have to go on that journey to discover Him more. We cannot possibly know where we are to head if we are on a search and we would not need to search if we knew where we were heading. A belief that productizes the God that is to be known to be of a certain kind engineering this journey toward it, makes the journey redundant and useless doing no justice to a sincere and earnest walk with Him.

Point no. 9

The tolerance of various forms of Christian Belief has been tolerated to the extent that we have settled with the decision to accept differences without discussion, despite ways that contradict each other and represent a contradictory God.

The Christian Life is one which represents one single God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Our walk with Him has different believers at different points in different places as a result of which we will have our differences in belief. Despite having these differences, the fact that we worship the same God must not allow us to separate ourselves over them. This is because we worship the same God who, even if we are at different places with in our walk with Him, will be the same God and hence non-contradictory to himself. We ought to share, discuss and deliberate our experiences in Christ, both as a culture and especially if we find this to be grossly dividing of the community in terms of what we believe indeed. This should be where we learn from those whom we can and grow as opposed to staking our claim for freedom of belief in a different manner in the same Christ. When our experiences dictate otherwise, we must sit across the table and present the different Christs that we have come know, using the Word (because the very reason we would be doing this is because we cannot trust each other’s Holy Spirit guidance and each other’s experiences) to dissect the right from the wrong. As individuals, in the Body of Christ, we have come to simply accept our differences as if we have a God who indeed is fraught with contradiction. Christianity is not a free-for-all.

Point no. 10

The attitude of looking for excuses to do the things they would like to do in the name of God – thinking of Him as a stretchable entity to suit their taste and size

God has, over the centuries, has been known to inspire hearts in various ways and sizes. He has also given his beloved many kinds of gifts, talents, blessings and opportunities that span over a wide range to express that, as has been evident. The Bible does not specify specific directions on ways of manifestation but talks largely on principles and intent. The approach to this wide range is such that we do as we please within this range and extendable, not being authentic to our calling but choosing to prefer innovation over story and presentation over content, leaving out the message that is inherent and pursing a mode that has no or less of a story – all the while using the excuse of this wide range that such things can also be done in His name and are therefore not wrong. In the process, we completely ignore authenticity and inspiration that must drive our actions.

Point no. 11

The propagation of the presentation of an image of Jesus that is social conscious keeping in mind a no offense attitude to the society at large, both consciously and subconsciously, not projecting an image that is indeed God

God is not society acceptable by default. God is who He is, as we know Him through the Bible and through our lives. His glory shines in everything that is the world that we see around us as He created it all. Some of it has been corrupted by His standards by some people. But yet, it all is intended to be a testimony to His glory. Society at large has tabooed some of these things and has deemed them disrespectful, wrong, unacceptable and such. But these taboos are in direct contradiction with the glory that they have been created. We have sided with the opinions that we remain respectable in society, which undermines the glory that these were made in.