Monday, June 27, 2011

The Spirit of the Code. Part Three.

In this post, the remaining excerpts from a church "Code" are examined. This is the church body that removed a special needs child who reacted with a loud but joyful noise following a praise song.

We Are All About the Numbers – Tracking metrics measures effectiveness. We unapologetically set goals and measure progress through all available quantitative means.

This author has to wonder if this code may help explain their behavior. Do they maintain their decorum as an honor to God or protect their attendance records? Also, does this attitude quietly suggest that something is wrong with "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I (Jesus) am in the midst of them." The modern, American church experience is often justified inside more church buildings than simply the one in question on the basis of the number of people drawn into the sanctuary. Regardless of the number jumping in, seems like a more important measure is the spiritual maturity being gained by those who are participating in the spirit of the group. How many of these "unapologetically" gathered are faithfully finding the spiritual rest, which in turn manifests the fruits of the spirit?

We Need Your Seat – We will not cater to personal preference in our mission to reach this city. We are more concerned with the people we are trying to reach than the people we are trying to keep

Clearly the scripture makes no direct statement on how to accept a person with cerebral palsy and its physical limitations into the group gathering. However, the spirit behind a policy of removal from the gathering of one so weak feels alien to the spirit of love, patience, and goodness which we Christians proclaim is the evidence, the fruit, of the Presence of the Spirit of Christ.

We Act in Audacious Faith -- In order to dominate a city with the gospel of Jesus, we can’t think small. We will set impossible goals, take bold steps of faith and watch God move.

Domination and manipulation are the signature characteristics of the spirit of the age, the spirit of the anti-Christ. Can a group set out to "dominate" in the spirit of Christ? Has any group been called to domination of a city? Two enter a home which greets them with peace or the two leave a city shaking the dust from their feet can be found as the direction of Jesus. Preaching to thousands can be found in the "Acts of the Apostles". Domination of a city is not found in the New Testament. Are the attitudes and decisions needed to fulfill this part of the code justifiable in view of "blessed are the meek," and "blessed are the poor in spirit." Sometimes as Christians we adopt the ways of the gentiles to achieve the ends we perceive give glory to God. However, I think God holds us accountable for the ways, means and ends. An appearance of godly outcomes may be just that.

I mentioned before, I do not intend to condemn, nonetheless I am convinced the Code of the church in question is very much an evidence of what weakens the message of the gospel being preached in this spirit.


postmodern redneck said...

Couple of thoughts:

Heavy focus on externals. Barna has found that most pastors focus on such externals and have no idea how their people live the rest of the week. Bob Girard, in "Brethren, Hang Loose" saw that tendency in himself pastoring a church plant in the 1960s and was bothered by it. This is not a new problem.

James 2 seems to me to apply to situations like this: Do the "rich" or acceptable or influential people get a better deal than the poor or impaired?

ded said...

I hadn't connected James 2 with this situation, but you are completely right. Based on the externals of the situation, they are treating people differently.

Thanks for being a faithful reader and for your insights.

Chip said...

I've always loved the mental images and impressions the Lord occasionally gives us and I want to share what came to mind as I read your blog:
I saw Jesus walking down the street purposefully. He walked past this church and stopped at a nearby playground. Children were laughing and playing all around Him and He was smiling (a great smile) as he pushed a handicapped child in her swing.
Thanks for taking the time to write these blog posts, brother friend.

ded said...

Hey Chip! So you aren't Treepoe anymore? Thanks for stopping by.