Thursday, August 18, 2005

THERE'S A DISCONNECT IN OUR CHURCH

Romans 12: 1-2, 4-6
Place Your Life Before God 1So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.


4In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. 5The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, 6let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.


"We know that 30,000 children die each day due to preventable illness and malnutrition - that means a child dies somewhere in the world every three seconds; almost 11 million children die every year. To put that in perspective, that's nearly the number of people that live in Ohio or Michigan." - Adam Taylor in Sojourner Magazine

I am the first to admit that I like a good heated debate/conversation when it comes to theology and doctrinal issues (especially as they relate to the United Methodist Church).

But as I read the above quote today it became very apparent to me just how disconnected our doctrine and theology is. We argue over the issue of homosexuality because we read that the Bible says that it is wrong. But for the 4-5 times that it condemns homosexuality, how many more times does it condemn the affluent and powerful overlooking the needs of the poor and helpless? THERE'S NO COMPARISON.

There's a disconnect in the church today (actually it has been there all along), but we say we want to be inclusive or embracing but yet we continue to create walls of division in the name of being holy, being scriptural and docrinal. It strikes me as sad that Jesus came not for the religious to know God but that the left out, forgotten, and unacceptables might experience community and wholeness.

If we're going to take serious that some people should not be included in the full life of the church, because of what the Bible says, then I think we'll have to exclude anyone who is not seriously working to eradicate poverty. Are you challenging your churches to have a voice in this? Are you pressuring your government, your commander and chief to make wise decisions? Are you striving to live simply and below your means that you might SHARE with those who have none (which is VERY Wesleyan)?

There's a disconnect in the church today. It seems that most of us doing the talking about being holy, and living scripturally, holding keys to the kingdom of who's in and who's not- who receives and who doesn't are people that by societal and global standards wield power. How are we going to use the power and priveledge that we have? Will we help live out God's vision of shalom or will we miss the kingdom all together?

I'm afraid that in a lot of ways- we're missing the kingdom all together. It has taken artists and musicians outside the church to get our country to becoome aware of the scale of global poverty that we're dealing with in the world. It has taken the artists, activists and musicians outside the church to help bring our country on board to "make poverty history".

All the while the church is more concerned with issues of abortion and homosexuality than 30,000 children dying every day. There's a disconnect in the church.

"O holy and merciful God,
we confess that we have not always taken upon ourselves
the yoke of obedience,
nor been willing to seek and to do your perfect will.
We have not loved you
with our whole heart and mind and soul and strength,
neither have we loved our neighbor as ourselves.
You have called to us in the need of our brothers and sisters,
and we have passed unheeding on our way.
In the pride of our hearts, and our unwillingness to repent,
we have turned away from the cross of Christ,
and have grieved your Holy Spirit."
- Wesleyan Methodist Conference, England, 20th Cent.

8 comments:

ColeWake said...

Amen, Bro. Jonathan

I would be more than happy to just put these political things aside and deal with real Jesus issues like poverty and such.

I am frustrated by the lack of empathy and understanding present in the Church. We are all one in Christ, but that is not how we treat each other.

Kevin Rector said...

Dude, I'm right there with you.

Just remember that moral purity does not have to be held over against social awareness and action as an either/or. They are both important and both very Wesleyan.

Also, I'm not comfortable putting issues revolving around abortion in the same basket (or bucket) as issues revolving around homosexuality. They are wildly different.

St.Phransus said...

I dont typically put those issues in the same bucket, but some of my more conservative friends do act as though those are the only two moral issues that are important enough to discuss.

i hear ya though, kevin, and i'm right there in the center with ya.

shalom bro,
jonathon

LARouse said...

Amen.
During my time in England, especially during the elections, I kept asking, "Where are the prophets? Where are the voices that will call those of faith to be a glimpse of the kingdom of God?"

I find myself right there in the middle with you all. Wrestling hard, especially with one question you posed.

I was inspired by the Sojomail today and by your bold words. I am thankful for people who are willing to speak the truth in love.

Hope our paths cross soon.

gavin richardson said...

i have been convicted, i will take my poverty stricken friend saint phransus to lunch. that's my part. &:~D

amen bro!

St.Phransus said...

thanks lanecia.

jonathon

John said...

i have been convicted, i will take my poverty stricken friend saint phransus to lunch. that's my part. &:~D

Be sure to also convince him not to have an abortion or become homosexual.

St.Phransus said...

there is hope for me yet!!! thank ya Jesus (pronounced GeeZuss)!!!