8.23.2006

A Step Back

I was reading a blog kept by a major church leader here in Seattle and my heart sank. To be honest, along with my heart sinking so did my spirit. I held back tears as I made my way home from the YWAM office (the non profit organization I work with).

The entry that had brought so much pain was written by a man I assume deals with a good bit of hurt himself and has built walls and put people in boxes in order to try and preserve his own heart. In this entry the man spoke of other believers from a haughty place that I believe exists only in his imagination.

Why did this affect me? For the simple reason that I have struggled so much with the church in America in the last few years and feel so out of place because I have chosen to take a step back and not form opinions on the “hot” issues that surround evangelical circles from Seattle to Atlanta and every where in-between.

I don’t have an answer for homosexuality, war, democrats, republicans or any of the other million issues that seem to divide and polarize Christians and in turn make them irrelevant and irrational to an already skeptical world.

Is it the worst thing in the world to NOT have an answer for everything? Everything I see around me screams a resounding YES!!! You must have a position for everything. And not only must you have a position and opinion on everything but you must also vocalize and publicize that opinion to everyone, whether they ask for it or not.

I’m not much into movements, revolutions or anything like that but I would like to say that the Emergent Church has some very good processing going on in a lot of the areas I am struggling with (oh crap, now I’m promoting a movement I don’t even know that much about, Lord save me from the comfort of piddly answers to unanswerable questions!). One of these Emergent fellows (its funny that I use a capitol E to denote the “importance” of this movement) named Brian Mclaren (I think he’s one of the main guys behind this whole conspiracy) said something along the lines of how the church has plenty that it disagrees on and how we should be known for what unites us and not what divides us. Well said Mr. Mclaren (sorry I cannot find the source for that quote, you'll just have to trust me on this one).

This entry is a bit of a milestone for me as I have not to a large degree publicized much of anything in the way of my feelings or thoughts on the church in America. I used to hide behind pat answers to life’s hard questions but I don’t find comfort in those answers anymore.

A lot of my answers went out the window that February day in 2004 when I stood in front of a tree in a Cambodian orchard and read a sign that told of how Khmer Rouge soldiers took babies by their feet and swung their helpless bodies headfirst into the trunk of that tree until they cried no more. It made it very hard for me to think of explaining to the mother of said baby that it was in Gods plan for her baby to die that way, maybe that’s because she wasn’t their for me to tell her that since she had been beheaded and thrown into a mass grave only a few feet from the tree where her baby had been murdered.

I think that God has an answer for all of this; I just don’t want to pretend to know what it is.

6 Comments:

Blogger Larph said...

I hear ya, man.

Ive been thinking along siimlar lines for a while.
Funnily enough, I was listening to sermon online today that touched upon the polarising issues within evangelical/emerging circles - really helped (not to mention it was quite funny, too).

That sort of stuff is more midway-end of the teaching, but I'd definetely recommend the whole thing.

BTW, the event in Manchester that he mentions - I can guarantee it is all true - I was there myself. Absolutely amazing.
catch it
here

(I hope html works here).

10:54 PM  
Blogger Carlene said...

The two things I see in his article are - that once again "the woman gave it to me!" and the pharisee's stance.
One of the founder's of a movement in the 1800's once said of the foundation he was laying down to do away with denominations... "In all things essential, unity; in all things other, freedom." Such a wonderful aim, unfortunately this was the foundation of the Churches of Christ, yet another demoniation. I reserve the right to disagree with another follower of Christ and still be open to the fact that they may be right, or we both may be wrong, only God knows. None of us own the truth, just the questions.
I hate boxes! I love people. I have met some of the most bitter, and boken people in churches, and I meet the most Godly people in surprising places!

6:09 AM  
Blogger Carlene said...

Your memory of Cambodia reminds me of that chorus which includes the words "suffering children are safe in His hands". I can never sing that song. It just seems to trivialise the tragedies playing out in our world every day.
These questions are too big for easy answers and to be explained away as God's plan! God wanted each of us to live in paradise.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

you're in good company. so keep walking.

your story about cambodia is similar to mine. my theology began to not work in certain areas when i began to get a bigger view of the world and what was going on it. all of a sudden, my traditional, american view of god couldn't explain things.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Corey said...

Ralph,

Thanks for the link to the sermon, i'm sitting in a coffee shop right now and trying not to laugh to loud.

Carlene,

Thanks for the solid insight. I love that you faithfully leave comments on my blog. They mean a lot to me. I dont know that song but it sounds like many i have sung before.

Josh,

Thanks for the solace. It reminds me of that qoute you put on your blog a while ago by Mark Twain about travel.

I found a similar qoute by Mark Twain that says "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

10:05 AM  
Anonymous destiny said...

corey hau....what are you doing? i am in the middle of fiji in a podunk internet cafe..i kinda fell off the face of the earth for the last bit, things were really rough, then i screwed up and got kinda slapped in the face..it was a good wake up call, it was stupid but maybe necessary? i have about a week and half left of outreach, then i will write and call you..it was good to check your site, i havent in a while, it was nice and refreshing, ive only got about 5 months left on this side of the world..who knows whats next..but i suppose we can talk about all this and catch up, hope things are super and im prayin that you find a place to call home, love ya, destiny

4:20 PM  

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