Sunday, June 05, 2005

Church Meeting

Saturday night I went to a pesudo-Charismatic service, of the type called "prayer and praise." That means that the point of the thing was the singing. Everyone rasing their hands up, or clapping, big hoopla. I really loved that stuff back when I first got saved, but haven't been to such a service in a long time. A friend I've known for many years urged me to go with her. She's concerned about my spiritual life, because I'm not going to charismatic chutes, and I don't go regularly. I sort of got out of the habit in those years when I cared for my parents and couldn't leave home.

It was nice to back int that sort of environment again, to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, the peace and spiritual excitement. The sermon was good too, all about looking beyond the superficial aspects of a person and seeing their spiritual needs. He said a lot of good thins about accepting people, not for the way they look, or rejecting them because they don't measure up to our notion of propriety, but seeing them as spiritual people with spiritual needs, and people for whom Christ died.

But the thing is it also raised certain conflicts. I found myself being very judgmental about the basic middle class milieu about me. Most such Churches in North Dallas are White middle class. While all the people were nodding in agreement wit the wonderful message of accepting people who are different, no one sitting around me doing the nodding was different. Still I hate to fault them for who they are. I hate to become the opposite end of the problem and judge those guys for how they appear. They can't help it if they are acceptable.

Inevitably, at least for me, it raised the question of Christian identity and social action. I can't get around that dilemma. The dilemma that I will always be at odds with the church politically; at least as long as church favors bourgeoisie culture. Because for them being a Christian means being a republican, so how can I join in with them when for me being a republican means supporting muddier, rape, torture and lies in central America? Sorry to all those of you out there in log land who are republicans. I know the average person doesn't put things together the way I do. Maybe we can't make such clean cut judgments, when the Deems have a lot of dirt to sweep under the rug too.

But where does that leave me? Still squirming for an answer about the finding the basis upon which I can fellowship with church and still stand up for the ideals I believe in. But as we prayed and praised I began to feel the presence of God; then I realized at least a partial answer. The answer is we are called to love people. Jesus teaches us that the second greatest commandment is "love your neighbor has yourself." I don't need to judge the republicans or take the church to task for its social sins. I need only to love them and support the political angina that I see flow out of the basic motivation of human compassion.


MaxVel said...

Hi Meta -

Another excellent post, thoughtful and thought-provoking.

As a non-American I feel a little surprised that you guys tend to see the world of politics in such either-or terms.

Personally I think that churches need someone like you who thinks outside the box, and questions things down to their foundations.

As followers of Christ we all too easily accept the (usually low) standards of the world around us. In US politics, this seems to mean voting Republican 'because that's what christians do'. You're right, the Dems are no better...

So where are the voices of Christians proclaiming God's standards?

Too few and far between...

SingingOwl said...

Oh, dear Metacrock...(((((((((hug)))))))))))! I am glad you went. I am wondering why you called it psuedo charismatic though. :-)

I believe that both the church and you are poorer for your absense, but that's another issue.

Just a few thoughts. C. Peter Wagner has an excellent book (which name I cannot remember) about church growth and church death. In one of the chapters he makes a persuasive case for why churches will reach their own "type" better. He speaks of reaching those who are most like us. The chapter was making me squirm! But Wagner is not a racist, far as I know. For a long time I thought about that chapter. I am still thinking about it in the context of focusing on who my church is most likely to reach for God's Kingdom. It is those like us. I think its a rather sad truth. There are a few notable exceptions in the USA,but they are few. People hang out with those like them. Can we change the culture of the church? Wagner doubts it. I don't know. I do know that it would take a very long time. So I ask a sincere question, what is the demographic of North Dallas?

You know that I (out here in log land) am more of a Republican than a Democrat. But you also know that does not mean that I think God is a Republican! I know some people are that simplistic...but certainly not all. Careful about using those black and white brushes!

You are on to something. We are called, above all, to LOVE. To love God, to love people, to love the church--with all her flaws. Love covers a multitude of sins after all! I agree with maxvel that we need you. That last paragraph was good!

Tyler Simons said...

What a terrific post! Metacrock, if the church had more people like you, people like me could calm down a little bit. I'm glad you're out there, and I hope your voice continues to be heard. Have you ever considered the ministry? I'd go check out your chuch (Even though I'm kinda freaked out by Texas itself!)

J.L. Hinman said...

Thanks guys. both of my friends. You two dont' know each other. Allow me to introduce you.

I called them "peusdo" becasue they are the chruch of christ half way house,so they would never use the gifts in a service.

J.L. Hinman said...

to clearify, they have the guitar music, quite a break through for them, the raisign of hands, the clapping, lively music. They lay on hands and pray for healing, and even annoint with oil. But I don't think they would be open to tounge in the service or to a prophesy or to word of knwoledge for example.