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May 27, 2005

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Locustyears

This is one of these things that I deeply appreciate being reminded of again and again --- once I get over the uncomfortable squirming involved in those reminders. Thanks!

Paddy O.

As with many things I think there is a balance here. A person can divorce in cases of infidelity, and I also think in cases of abuse. Churches have a tendency to stay so static they never grow spiritually, and take advantage of those who are committed. They are eager to draw in new people at the expense of the maturation of those already committed. Thus, the Church itself is always looking for the 'next' new thing, or the new 'leader' who will spark some life, rather than committing to developing those who are called by the Spirit to participate in the local body.

There is a boon to commitment in and through difficult times, but the goal of the Faith is not church commitment it is Christ, and when a local body neglects or depresses that pursuit, it is not commitment which will energize one's own spiritual life. One must be in a place of prayer and worship, committing to such a place no matter the peculiarities of context. But, if a church is all about the peripherals of the spiritual life, then no one is helped by enabling such a church to press on in mediocrity.

I think we have to gauge a church just as we gauge a leader, discerning the spirits involved rather than making an oath to a particular institution. I was once part of a church that used the 'consumerism' call to help boost commitment, but the problem was in the dysfunctional leadership. They were handing out moldy bread and telling people to eat.

This discernment is somewhere between the cheap consumerism of our culture and bull-headed stubborness against change. We are past the time in which a Church for sake of being a church demands our commitment, and yet you are certainly right in calling for patience. I think it comes down to commitment, not only from a parishioner towards the church but commitment in both directions. Like a marriage, if only one person is committed while the other is too busy to be bothered, then there will be trouble in the marriage.

Too many churches are not committed to the folks who attend. The blame for church shopping is on both sides methinks.

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