Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why I Think I am Writing

I asked the questions about American values thinking input from readers would drive a discussion about the differences between American values and Christian reality. Now, several days later, I don’t think that is happening.

In the interim, I took time to figure mid-term averages for my students, which I had to send home today. I hate grades. Sorting kids into categories of achievement and consequently building their sense of whom they are academically, when grades so poorly reflect whether or not they are learning to think, is an emotionally charged issue for me. Yet, I do it because the system requires that I do it. I can see a few benefits, I guess. The whole school thing is a wholly different line of thinking, at least currently, from what I intended for this blog, so I’ll drop this and move on.

I have also used the few days that I haven’t been trying to compose a new post to just hold the idea of open communication with an outside world before the Lord. Why am I writing, anyway?

Many possibilities come to mind, but one of which I am sure is a deep concern for the Body of Christ. Simply put, I think the theologies driving many Christian discussions are missing something vitally important. The common, everyday person is being left out.

When what is taught about God requires the hearers have an IQ over 120 to effectively sort through what is being said, something is wrong. The gospel is for everyone, and I think teaches very well when presented and lived as such. I am highly suspicious when folks with high IQ’s hold forth exegeses based on high-level, critical-thinking skills which marginalize the experience of God into something only the college-educated really understand. Additionally, when Christian organizations use the muscle and perseverance of every day folks in accomplishing the grunt work of the institution but teach toward intellect rather than the heart, there is a violation of brotherhood occurring. In such an atmosphere, the Body is divided into an intellectual elite favored by the system and everyone else who exists simply to serve the greater good of the institution. God bless ‘em, everyone, though, of course.

We fail the main issue of love on so many levels. I am as guilty as anyone here. I am not describing an intellectual elite without charity in my heart for them or in an attempt to distance myself from them. I speak about something more than just to complain over an attitude with which I take issue. The Body of Christ is a place where all things being human are not just equalized but are upended from what we understand naturally. The world values the talented, the beautiful, the strong and the intelligent, whereas the Kingdom exalts the humble, supplies the poor, protects the weak, and gives honor to vessels of lesser honor. The least are the greatest and the first are last, or some such opposite thinking to the-cream-rises-to-the-top philosophy.

Maybe this is about American values after all. Are we Christians who enjoy American citizenship or American citizens wearing the label of “Christian” to order our religious responsibilities aright?


Jimazing said...

I see a great desire in you to level the playing field, to knock down the structures that isolate "ordinary" people from Godly discussions of spiritual thoughts. You see your students as individuals with great worth and you see that the value system of grades does not reflect their worth. Similarly, you see (and participate in) some rather heady discussions of spiritual truths that the common people would not be attracted to or even understand. You want to see an open discussion where everyone feels welcome, where the input of everyone is valued and no one is jockeying for position in the kingdom. Is that right?

There is a place for the heady discussions. Some of the concepts we talk about use big words to express mind blowing ideas . I frequently have to read with open in another tab in order to look words up. But these conversations do not make us more spiritual. The conversations are not the kingdom. What we feel and what motivates us as we participate are stirrings that God wants to be a part of. That is frequently uncomfortable, but it's good... when our participation is part of a process of becoming more of who He made us to be and expressing ourselves in love.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ...If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Cor 12:12, 19; 13:13

So how do you express your heart on your own blog in a way that welcomes and honors all? How do you measure success on a blog? Good dialog in the comments? Spicy dialog? Agreement? High readership?

You express great thoughts here that challenge me as a believer. I, for one, hope you will continue to write what's on your heart. I would like to encourage your line of questioning, "What is my blog about?" Another question is, "Who am I writing to?" On a blog, your audience is whoever in the world wants to read it, but you can have a person or group in mind as your target audience as you write. As much as I cherish comments from my friends on my blog, my family is the target audience. It took me about a year of writing before I nailed that down.

ded said...

Thanks, Jim, for your thoughtful comment and your encouragement.

You use the phrase "level the playing field" and that is an exact estimation on your part.
Regular folks who never hold positions of influence or power within most groups must be included in the discussion, and more so the communities of believers we build. Without them, the church is doomed to become dead religion.