Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Blog depression

There are a few blogs that I glance at most days. It's starting to get to me. Being the contrarian that I am, I like to frequent opposing viewpoints. I find myself reading a few Emerging Church blogs, such as TallSkinnyKiwi and Backyard Missionary, then click over to Slice of Laodicea or Apprising Ministries to read some rather forceful critiques. When I'm done with the "serious" discussions, I pop by Purgatorio for some old-fashioned satire. I sometimes follow links to the people that comment on these blogs, and their blogs usually reflect similar positions.

By the time I finish with these writers, I usually need a shower. I find some refreshment from reading Rain City Pastor, the blog of the pastor (obviously) I knew in Seattle. His thoughts are usually balanced and matured, seasoned by years of pastoring a rather large metropolitan church.

A few months of following the battle within the walls of the Church has me longing for something - solid. Maybe that's why I find myself gravitating toward Lewis and Chesterton and MacDonald. I'm searching for the "mere" in the chaos of modern-day Christianity.

10 comments:

Confused Christian said...

I haven't experienced blog depression but I have experienced radio and church depression. Where I live there is one Christian FM station and I listen to it every now and then. Until I get depressed and can listen no longer.

The other day I was telling my wife about this and she simply asked, "Why do you listen to that station?" I argued, as all good Christians should, "Well, it's . . . um . . . it's, mmmmm . . . it's . . . a Christian station, for goodness sake! These men are supposed to be our examples, the ones who can tell us how to live, the ones who have the wisdom and keys to the gates of heaven." She asked, "Are they doing a good job?" And after I, of course, replied with vitriol she replied with, "Sounds a lot like the pharisees and sadducees if you ask me."

And then it hit me! That's it! That's the disconnect I've been feeling for so long. The conclusion was bitter sweet: today's Church is filled with pharisees and sadducees. We just have been led to believe that "they" were on the outside when really "they" are insiders.

I'm sure there were many Jews during Christ's day who felt the same way we feel today in the Christian church. Synagogue depression, perhaps?

Tom said...

I'm afraid I have to defer my answer to someone with a lot more wisdom and experience.

Ken Silva said...

Hello,

O you're not alone. *Sigh* Here's another side...how would you like to be a pastor and have people ask you these kinds of questions and personally have to deal with this every day? :-)

My advice is always the same, and is really quite simple on the surface. Please prayerfully read the Bible itself, and not anyone's opinion of it - mine or anyone else's - unless it lines up with what the text says.

If I might offer a "shower" here, I encourage you to begin with Matthew, picking it up at the top of chapter 3 where John the Baptist introduces Jesus. Read all the way through the Gospels asking God to help you see the real Jesus. I'm sure He'll do this because it is His will that men know Him.

And finally, I offer that you might find we are in a time like Matthew 24:10-12 - "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold."

If you'll pray that God will keep you strong and guide you to those (whomever they may be) who will honestly help you to come to know Jesus in the most rich and intimate personal way possible this side of Heaven, rest assured that He will.

confused christian said...

Thank you for your advice, Ken, but picking up the Bible--beginning with Mathew where John introduces Jesus--and asking God to guide me to "those (whomever they may be) who will honestly help [me] to come to know Jesus in the most rich and intimate personal way possible this side of Heaven" doesn't really help. I'm sorry. I don't mean to be rude. But it just doesn't. The problem is too big. That's like telling the owner of a car with a bomb attached to his engine to make sure he changes the oil every 3000 miles, rotate the tires every 6000 miles, change the tires every 40,000 miles, etc. and everything will be fine. But it isn't. And it doesn't solve the problem.

Tom said...

Dear "confused,"
I agree wholeheartedly with you. I find that it is not worth trying to engage Pastor Silva; he is a rather angry person. If you must, you can follow his Crusade here.

confused christian said...

What is he angry at or whom? (I did take a look at the blog.)

Anytime I'm "showered" with Scripture as a whole (and holy) means to a human end, my knee jerk reaction is, Oh no! Here we go again. Does he really not have anything else to offer? One can pull a verse out here and there at will to solve all of humanities' problems--from AIDS to cancer to the death of one's child. I know the Bible. I've read it cover-to-cover several times and have studied it my whole life. But when my friend's car breaks down on the highway and she calls me for help, I don't say, "In John it says." No. I say a prayer that God will keep her safe until I get there and then I go: the spirit mixed with the human. And that's the crux. I don't really know Ken Silva but I think his efforts--along with those much like the established Church for centuries--to rid the human element from the mix takes us back centuries, which is why we are seeing a massive rebellion against the orthodox Church. Can God really accomplish anything beautiful through the human element if the trumpets of orthodox evangelism aren't playing in the background, you ask? Sure. God saved humanity on the darkest day of humanity using humanity and without any theologian to conduct the event. In fact, it seems on the whole that God does most of his beautiful work when we get out of his way!

Tom said...

What isn't Pastor Silva angry about? Read his blog here and some of his articles here. Or better yet, skip that and read about George Barna, the most quoted evangelical statistician: No church? No problem.

confused and exhausted christian said...

Barna is right. The brick-n-mortar is still useful as a soup kitchen to the needy but otherwise bankrupt of purpose.

I recently was having a conversation with a fellow patron the last (and hopefully final) church I attended and we were discussing the pros and cons of the latest major congregational uproar: to change the name of the church from "Christian Center" to "Church." He was appalled that the elders had opted to use the word church. I asked why. "You put the word church in there," he explained, "and before you know it we'll have every transient from here to timbuktu knocking on our door." He was content with the status quo. No inconveniences.

And this is the point. The modern brick-n-mortar attracts this type of Christian, the corporate Believer, sterile, hypocritical, devoid of true compassion, and more often than not willing to err on the side of judgement than grace. The sad thing is I've not had better luck with small groups. The last one I went to we discussed how to live with the guilt of sending acquaintances straight to hell because we weren't active evangelists ("How am I going to live with myself in heaven when I look at those people in the face and they say, 'Why didn't you tell me?'")

I think I'll change my identity from confused Christian to confused and exhausted Christian.

tom (for Ken Silva) said...

Maybe you just need to read your Bible more.....

confused and exhausted christian said...

Starting in Ecclesiastes where Futility introduces Meaninglessness . . .