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Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Faith of a Mustard Seed

While I believe I have laid out a reasonable critique of the role of politics and social pressure in influencing science, I don't want to imply that faith as we see it is any less susceptible - and for the same reasons.

If we start with the faith that more people claim to have (and the operative word in this sentence is claim) in the U.S., Christianity, we can immediately see the wavering of faith. The number of denominations is truly staggering, and while I want to think that it is merely due to preferences in conduct of wroship service, I know better. The denominations fight over central vs. individual church authority, over the version of Bible to be used, over the role of church in society, over candles on altars, over weekly vs monthly communion, and over ministry vs. evangelism. The issues that churches split over are as serious as the depravity of the minister to the petty as whether a hymnal or overhead projector is used for songs. In all of this is lost the meaning of Christianity in the first place:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

Christ would have a tough time being received today, too. The American Family Association (which I financially support, despite this) is 'taking a stand' against illegal immigration and the President's plan. What does this have to do with the church of Christ or families? I happen to be more in agreement with the AFA than against in this case, but once again confusing cultural conservatism with Christianity further dilutes the message and chases away those most in need of mercy.

To quote Bennan Manning, "Something is radically wrong when the church rejects a person accepted by Jesus: when a harsh, unforgiving and judgmental sentence is passed on homosexuals; when a divorcee is denied communion; when the child of a prostitute is denied baptism; when an unlaicized priest is denied the sacraments. Jesus comes to the ungodly, even on Sunday morning. His coming ends ungodliness and makes us worthy." Doing otherwise makes faith a list of cultural precepts which deny the foundation of it.

Why is faith corrupted by politics? Because the issue at hand has nothing to do with faith, but those engaged in the corruption of it dearly want their side of the issue to be infused with the truth of faith and the authority it would thereby have - just like the corruption of science.

Hmm. It seems I have far more that I wish to write than any human would read in one post. I'll jump back into science and faith as political in that order one more time each, then finally answer the question - Do they need each other?

3 Comments:

  • With regard to Bennan Manning's observation. There is indeed something radically wrong when a church rejects a person accepted by Jesus...so why should someone concern themselves with such a church? Why should the rejection by such a church bother me any more than a rejection by the shaman of some village in the jungle? If I believe myself to be accepted by Jesus, then it won't amount to a hill of beans what "The First Church of Sinless People" has to say on the issue.
    Ah...but the rub, of course, can be this desire we have to be accepted for what we are by other people... instead of concentrating on their "Jesus acceptance". Shouldn't be a problem...should it?

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 1/16/2005 07:15:00 PM  

  • David,
    While what you say is true, we must consider that first, there are many churches that do these things, and second, that we should not be content to let a church that fails to meet Christ's standards continue to do so.

    You have hit the nail on the head by acknowledging our desire to be accepted by others. This innate desire is one we must contend with, and our churches need to recognize it and live love while preaching the truth. It's hard to do, and hence typically needs God's grace to be accomplished.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 1/17/2005 01:59:00 PM  

  • The constitution is an amazing piece of work...and since the authors of that document seemed not to have intended it to be applied to all people (various restrictions such as landowning and such)...I think it captured a universal truth that goes beyond what even they understood---or at least beyound what they thought they could sell to the rest of the colonies in it's entirety.
    No...we should never be content to let a church continue to fail Christ's standards. But what to do? The same constitution that gives me the right to condemn the practices of the failing church, gives them the right to ignore my condemnations. So after the speeches and the warnings and the sermons from the pulpit have failed, we're lefting with little to do but leave---perhaps to start another church that will by the same devise surely be split again? and again?
    But I'm beginning to see that perhaps this isn't failure at all...but, instead, the way it should be until we each become a church of one; not a judger of men whose heart we'll never see, and not to be judged by men who fail to see our heart. Alone before God...responsible for no one (for we can't be) and the responsibility of no one.
    This is not advocating surrender at all...AT ALL! It just strikes me that this seems to be exactly where we're heading with this freedom to worship as we please as guaranteed by the document that believes it is self-evident that all men are created equal.
    Jeeeeezeee....lol....it must be late. I enjoy your musings, though, at any time.

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 1/17/2005 10:59:00 PM  

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