Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Sin of Disengagement

I suggested in another blogsite that we have retrogressed to the narcissistic level of the society in which we live (Church of God, Anderson). Especially is this true when it comes to our cooperative mission programs, state and national.

Think about it! Some church members, like citizens, remain their very own bosses, their own persons. There is a place for individualism but these people have very libertarian views that make them overly independent--Tea Party--and, in effect, rather lawless in attitude--anarchical.

They believe in minimal political government. They perceive rules and regulations as governmental infringement upon their civil liberties. They never comprehend that even a ballgame needs some rules of engagement. Their conviction affects every area of their social intercourse; ultimately, leaving “them” free to do as “they” wish, without regard for how their behavior may affect me.

Consider that little device called a fuzz buster. My son has one, as do some of you. It allows him to over-drive, speed, and avoid detection--outsmart the traffic cop. I don’t want one because I have determined that laws are made to be obeyed not disregarded.

However, Americans are very protective of their driving. They tolerate as little interference as possible. Many drive too fast, being cavalier about speed limits--kinda yes, but ... They hurry hither and yon believing they are the best judges of how fast they should drive; never mind the posted signs most often resented or ignored.

I see this throughout our culture and view it as symptomatic of what the Bible calls “lawlessness.” The one that most deeply offends me is the individual that drives down a quiet neighborhood street with a “bongo beat” of some kind or other sending forth deep bass vibrations from somewhere under the deep recesses of the back seat of their vehicle causing bric-a-brac on the shelves inside the houses to dance an Irish Jig.

Drivers seem deleriously innocent of this public assault on people’s eardrums, but it hurts my head, rouses my hostilities, and transforms me into a marathon runner with the St. Vitus Dance. Never mind that the driver is driving 40 mph in a 25 mile residential zone, or that a public ordinance prohibits loud sounds emenating more than 25 feet!

Frankly, that is not a picture of the church that I see as Christ-pleasing. I know the church is composed of people, but this cultural hangover lingers in the church. What was it Ken Myers of Mars Hill Communications said? “The church does the world no favor by imitating it.”

Christianity is both communal and corporate, rather than individualistic. I shattered my heel in 1985. In 2010, that shattered heel has produced scoliosis of the lower back that makes me some 3 inches shorter than formerly. It produces a “tilt” in my posture that affects the way I walk. It produces pain; sometimes I limp. In effect, it affects my whole body and the interrelationships of all my organs. Need I go on … ?

There are numerous rationales for this cultural virus of autonomy that infects the church. Yet, the end result is an unhealthy (carnal) church body (from top to bottom), a muted mission, and a less than effective ministry. Having been part of this Church of God family for over 80 years, I am not pitching for any “old time way” or demanding a takeover by the young. I am advocating that pastors begin modeling the role of engagement rather than disengagement (autonomy, independence) in the unified mission and stop being the worst offenders when it comes to our national church.

I value entrepreneurialism at most levels but we must support each other better than we currently do--like the organs of my body supporting my now malformed ankle. As long as I live in this body, my organs are both interrelated and interdependent. When they are not, I have a health problem and that can prematurely terminate my sojourn here.

The whole focus of D. S. Warner and company was in trying to help other people escape such unholy disunity.

From Warner's World,
I am

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