Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Two Extremes

I just might not ever fit in... I love my church, I love where I am now precisely because I can be who I am (at least for the most part) and that's ok with the church. But I was thinking about it the other night and I decided that it may be hard for me to fully fit in in any church because I am a hybrid of two relative extremes. First of all, I am theologically conservative if only in the sense that I am Christocentric and I care about specifically Christian spiritual formation/ transformation and soteriology. Therefore I feel basically comfortable with more "conservative" evangelicals when it comes to vision in ministry, worship, and studying the Bible.

But on the other hand, I am an activist at heart (unfortunately that is about the extent of my activism as of now besides doing local mission work) which makes me what some might call "socially liberal." I am passionate about the poor and yes, even if they're illegal. I don't like to pass judgment of who is deserving of help and who is not and I don't believe that possessions are to be seen as personal rewards to be spent on luxury, which makes me what some (who don't really understand the word) would mistakenly call a "socialist." I believe that homosexuals and Mexicans are people too and that I am supposed to love those people as myself (which does not include taking away their rights and/or deporting them away from any hope of a good livelihood). Thus I am not very comfortable with evangelicals when it comes to doing mission and envisioning the work of the Kingdom of God. I'd feel more comfortable working with "the liberals" in Boston on that kind of stuff.

The problem is that these two seemingly opposite worldviews are both very alive in me and I am not sure I have really seen them both really alive simultaneously in any one church. I know that there are probably some really great churches which do incorporate both of these elements but they're hard to find. So the question is, am I doomed to have to choose which part of me to cater to and which to abandon, or can I be a little more creative than that? We need to think beyond customized "church shopping" and re-learn how to exist in community even with people we didn't necessarily choose.

My dream of the church should never replace the reality of the real community of God.

3 comments:

Danny said...

I feel the exact same way.

Trueself said...

Bingo! I knew there was a reason I like reading your blog. We are kindred spirits Wes. I too am in the UCC. It isn't a perfect fit because I am very much Christcentric in my beliefs and believe deeply in Jesus as the Messiah. However, I am also troubled by the way mainstream evangelical Christianity deals with social issues. The good thing, I think, about being in the UCC is that there is more acceptance there for a wider range of viewpoints. I think it is possible to live within the UCC with beliefs such as yours and mine (which I'm sure are not identical in all ways) and thrive and grow spiritually.

Rudy said...

Much love to you Wes. None of us will be satisfied completely in whatever situation we find ourselves. I think God intentionally brings this to our attention when we are trying our best to serve Him. The more we see what "should" be and what "isn't" causes us to appreciate the Holy Spirit that much more. You are being prodded and pricked by a God who is also unsatisfied with the state of things. He loves his bride and will do everything in His power to be faithful to them...including a longing for wholeness and unity. I praise God for speaking to you in this way. Be uneasy and know that is from God the Spirit. Amen.