The following message came from a brother, pastor about why he doesn’t want to participate in groups like ours - I have permission to print this with the understanding to leave off his name -
There is a need for reconciliation in the Body of Christ - and a reminder that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus
Thanks for the invite in the other e-mail. I appreciate you wanting to include me, and normally I'd engage this sort of thing. But this one's too much for me. Honestly, I doubt you guys would desire my input because it would be too labor-intensive and time-consuming for me to contextually offer my perspectives, since they have been deeply shaped over the past ten years and require lots of depth. Read Frank's stuff and I get his heart, but can't buy the narrowness of application nor his exegesis of scripture, which I do not fully share. I see the obvious historical wrongs, and I am no fan of the institutional church, but believe the emerging church isn't defined yet and still needs lots of leadership at every level and will evolve through many forms and expressions and God will continually validate many of them. Don't want to be a barrier to edification, and I'm far more interested in exploring an emergent, narrative, post-evangelical and incarnational theology and rediscovering scripture itself from that place of story than I am in going back and forth about forms of church. I'm in a place now of desiring to get away from the awful noise of the din of disunity because of what we perceive is "right" doctrine, as it keeps us away from togetherness and oneness of heart. So no point in inciting debate... I'm just the weird guy in the room anymore, with a broken heart that still needs lots of Jesus' love, and that only some freaks and misfits can relate to anyway. I only would say I'm fully convinced in my faith of a handful of things, and the rest have to be unfolded to us as we open our eyes of love and see with our hearts. Otherwise, we're the blind that claim to see and set ourselves up as judges, insisting we're right in the process of doing much harm. You guys would just probably all call me a heretic. I at least want to publish something first and make it worthwhile before I get beat up and bloodied and tagged with that label :>)
Permission to Share:-
Fine by me... my reason for staying out of the fray is the sinking feeling I get opening up some critical e-mail everyday that I have to respond to or engage a dialog in which I have to constantly re-explain or re-validate what I'm saying simply for the sake of trying to discover truth vs. win an opinion battle. Here's what I would enjoy: a common ground forum where prove-you-wrong debate was essentially banned and people were on a course of discovery without feeling they were residing on holy ground which had to be defended. The more I study scripture (and I do a lot), the more I'm convinced that the truth lies within and among the tensions throughout that are impossible to see or to fully regard through our tendencies to become dogmatic with our "spiritual" opinions. What if we all just admitted that God is pretty much coming from a vast perspective and just allowed that hugeness to resonate in our hearts? I hunger for the story of God and I can only find it while I'm on a journey of discovery of the heart and by His Spirit... not when I'm staking out and defending my turf.
If anybody says anything you think is worth the feedback loop, you can let me know if you feel it's significant. No need to reveal anybody else's name either.
Larry, I second the motion concerning how your friend feels about the way that some of us "fellowship" here at Simple Church. I believe that this site should be a place where brothers and sisters (even seekers) can come and be refreshed or healed and encouraged regardless to where they find themselves on their journey with Jesus.
When you come here you have to be aware that you will come in contact with individuals at different places in their walk with the Lord...some true seekers, some expressing hurt and unbelief, some proselytizers, some debaters, and some just looking for community. It can be what you make it. Receive what you need or what you can assimilate at the time, and ignore what you do not agree with until you are ready to consider it, or not. You can come only as often as you like, and you don't have to allow yourself to be coerced into any discussion or debate. There is much knowledge to be gleened here just by "listening." You know, "eat the meat..."
Often you will "hear" others express your same sentiments and find that they have been exactly where you have been or where you are. There are many here that I don't agree with, nor they with me, but we try to honor and respect each other. Here you have the opportunity to pose a question and allow others to give their input and opinions. And when you're ready, you can share valuable knowledge and experiences with us that you have acquired since you have been following the Lord. Don't be intimidated nor put off by the "deep" discussions that sometimes go on and on here because eventually all things work for the good for somebody :-). Personally, I prefer to hear and to share what God is doing to us, for us, by us, and through us. God is moving by His Spirit, and it is definitely time for the Body to be manifesting the Kingdom of God in the earth as I share on my Facebook page.
You can initiate a group here with persons who have similar interests as you, announce your upcoming events, or share fun things on the forum appointed for that. Please feel free to read the posts on my blog page here.
Well, I need to return to my consecration now; so God bless you in your decision and be encouraged right where you are.
As Ish Ekhad (Hebrew for "one man") wrote years back: "It is in the lively arena of DISAGREEMENT that we exercise our spiritual muscles." When I read Scripture, I see a whole heck-of-a-lot-of debate. Abraham [rightly] did it with God, God through His prophets did it with Israel, Jesus did it with his various opponents (and disciples), Paul and the other letter-writers did with the various dissenters infiltrating the Church (plus with congregants), and on and on... The earliest post-Apostolic writings continue the tradition. So, when I read war-weary folks here whining about the debates, I respect that...so long as they exercise their freedom of choice to click on another thread that is more to their liking. Not everyone has the same taste or talent for debate. But when I read someone implying that debating doctrine is in and of itself wrong, I just have to speak up and remind people of our heritage...and duty...to contend earnestly for the faith. While all the while exercising love and unity.
...But not at the expense of truth. : )
Shalom from Manila,
Did God ever contradict Himself?
No, so why do so many people hold so many contradictory beliefs within their own personal faith?
Because some are stubborn and are really not seeking the Truth all the time. Some of those beliefs are idolatrous and sin from which they should repent.
Stand firm in your faith fine, but when a crack in your dam is made evident, when you're believing two opposites, then you have a decision to make. Keep the two contradciting beliefs because you like them, or repent and ask God for wisdom.
"God is not the author of confusion." Everything He says agrees with every He says. So it should be with us.
Then our faith would get simpler, perhaps more sincere, then we'll probably have more unity, and less arguments.