Friday, 9 January 2015

"Every man is a good man in a bad world -- as he himselfs knows."

The called out ones, were formed in order to preserve and pass on the teachings of Christ--with the singular purpose of helping to bring people into the exact same relationship with God that Christ himself had, leading humanity into a space that is truly both "fully human and fully divine."

In other words, the church is the physical and practical representation of Christ's life and message.  It is not a group around a theoretical debate of reality but rather the very realization of the kingdom of God here and now and yet to come.  Hence the church is not made by people for their purpose but made up of people by God for his purpose.

People’s visions of church naturally differ. Topics like what leadership structure or what other particularity of Christian teaching should be the hallmark for fellowship is nonetheless divisive.  We see a natural tendency to "form" church according to once own concept already in the earliest records of the church in Acts. In those day is were the issues of circumcision, the food laws to name a few.  Today it is the form of baptism, the nature of communion, the abstaining from giving an oath, or women in leadership, or other rather murky issues.  I think we need to allow the Holy Spirit to overcome our natural tendency to inflate ourselves and our vision of truth.  But there is also another issue, let me suggest that behind most bragging, most conflicts is unconscious self-doubt, and under most display of indifference, ignorance and superiority is a nagging sense of inadequacy and fear.  We know ourselves too good but are afraid to open up. 

I believe that honesty with oneself and by extension with the one we love, which by the way is everyone including those we may not like, is a central component to spiritual growth. God honours our honest questions, doubts and repentance. He is not surprised by either one of them, nor is he ashamed to be our God when we pose them. God is our God, not because of the questions and doubts, but because he has united us to the risen Christ. And being part of God's family is ultimately a gift to us, not something to be obtained by us but unpacked by our repentance. God, beside from dead in sin, has freed us from fear in Christ and made us his children. And, as all children do, we grow all the while asking a lot of questions.

In my experience we are either intentional in our struggle for growth and therefore unity by building each other up or we are unconsciously like the three monkeys; "don't see, don't hear and don't speak" of questions, doubts or our ongoing need for forgive- ness. Mutual indifference or ignorance of the other persons struggle or thoughts which by design avoids addressing my own struggle but also differences of opinions may avoid vulnerability and open conflict but is actually the absence of trust and therefor of love. It denies the power of the Gospel.  Mutual indifference or ignorance of the struggle within us individually and as body of Christ is not a proof of spiritual maturity but of the loss of the first love, we have lost sight of the promise; "I [Jesus] will build my church." 

In my reading of Scripture, our vision of church must include being holy together being “Set apart” to God together, as opposed to being set apart to our own vision of church or set apart to our personal freedoms. That would mean that we need to work toward a growing honesty to ourselves and others. God has a collective holiness at the center of his vision of his church. When we dwell on minors as I suggest we see in the sea of Christian publications, instead of majoring on Christ we act like “Individuals Apart” not "Saints Together." We build a vision of church around ourselves, our traditions and personal preferences and not around Jesus. We miss out on Jesus’ grand, temple-vision of church and diminish its witness to the world by pretending utopia.

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