Over the past several years I’ve thought a good bit about the church and non-churchy people. I’m pretty sure we (and when I say "we," I really mean we – my tribe isn’t completely rid of these maladies) have settled into an expression of church that is as much about culture, comfort, and civility as it is about a body of redeemed perverts, addicts, and self-lovers trying to walk and revel in the wholeness thrust upon us despite ourselves. I know that sounds harsh, but I really do own the indictment as much as I hand it out.
There are all sorts of manifestations of this, but some of them are really simple. For instance, I think we’ve co-opted cultural standards of dignity and manners and made them into religious markers. Anyone violating these standards is viewed as spiritually inferior. I can only imagine the wounds we inflict on people with our (even if accidental) arrogance and false self-affirmation. I just read about an example of this that was striking to me. Read it here.
This is what really got my attention:
Church – a place where David felt like a stupid smoker and not a healed heroin addict.
We are guilty of this. It’s time to cop a plea and get on with our rehabilitation, lest we continue to roll our eyes at God’s trophies of healing and belittle the power of his Kingdom as it makes its deliberate advance in people like David, and, if we’ll let it, in us.
Reminds me of this from C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, Book IV, Chapter 10, “Nice People or New Men”:
If you are a nice person–if virtue comes easily to you–beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous. … But if you are a poor creature–poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels–saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion–nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends–do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day … he will fling it on the scrap-heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all–not least yourself: for you have learned your driving in a hard school. (Some of the last will be first and some of the first will be last.)
Tru dat, tru dat. Great post. look forward to reading more. Also, great page!