Pastor's Blog

I don’t want either of my readers to lose sight of why I’m writing.  I am trying to pass on a way to think about church – a philosophy of ministry – because I’m not going to last forever.  I’m temporary and the next generation must know not only what to do, but why.

I am suggesting that in the pendulum swing of history, American evangelicalism may have swung too far toward an individualistic and libertarian approach to the Christian faith, i.e. my faith is merely, primarily, or only personal – just between me and God – and needs to move back the other direction and grasp the importance of the role of the church as a body, of what we are as a people together.

I can’t speak for the whole world – only from the perspective of my own life and my own eyes.  The world that I grew up in – the society that I grew up in – seemed to me more trusting, more friendly, more caring, less suspicious of others.  Not that there weren’t problems; just that they didn’t take center stage and they weren’t constantly being thrown at you by the media.  You dealt with your own life – the world around you – not what was happening every moment in Washington or at the southern border or in China or Russia.

That has all changed now – and it seems that we are more in touch with the larger world, but almost removed from our next-door neighbors – or even from the people we go to church with. 

And that is not a good thing…

Our society is not just divided; I believe we are fragmenting and isolating.  We are told to be suspicious of others.  We are afraid for our children, afraid to let them run and play, afraid they might be kidnapped and have awful things done to them.

Not that those fears are without foundation.  But as Adam Smith said in his Theory of Moral Sentiments :  “Society cannot subsist among those who are at all times ready to hurt and injure one another.”  It gets harder and harder to live among people that we can’t trust, if we are constantly on our guard, like finches at a bird-feeder that struggle to pluck out a few seeds because so much time is given to alertness to predators that might snatch them up in a moment of heedlessness.

As creatures, we struggle with that level of suspicion.  We need people around us that we can trust – people with similar values, people who support and encourage us in our way of life.

If the USA continues in the direction it is going, despite the cries for unity you are not going to see unity – except by government force.  The perspective that is in power right now is primarily about destroying things, not creating things.  It survives by creating chaos, tumult, and revolution.  It believes this is the way the world must work.

But WE believe real unity cannot be created by force from the outside in or imposed from the top down.  It comes from inside hearts united around that which is true and works its way out. 

I believe that people struggling in the harshly constructed desert of a tyrannical world will instinctively look for what we have; they will look for good people and for people who understand, not a theory of goodness, but the actual living out of the goodness of love for one another.

“Springs of living water” I believe Jesus called it.

That’s what the Spirit working through the church is supposed to be.  Just being what we are called to be will become a powerful evangelistic outreach.

 

 

 

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