November 22, 2014

iMonk: There are still doors in Christendom where truth needs to be nailed

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From a classic Michael Spencer post. May, 2008

There are some places that Christians will allow you to stand up and say “the sermon is pop psych” or “I’m not a young earth creationist” or “why do we act like we just invented Christianity this year?” What a gift it is to be able to speak truth and be supported by a community of the one who IS the truth.

In the church I grew up in I always heard that we believed in freedom of conscience, the right of private interpretation, the priesthood of the believer, soul competency and the sacred right to differ from the majority.

I heard about all of that, and I heard that it was other denominations, with their bishops and their hierarchies, that were hung up on conformity all the way down the line.

Well….let’s just say that it’s a good thing they don’t give awards for “Ironic Reversals of Reality” anywhere. Someone would need to build a shelf. A long one.

…There are still doors in Christendom where the truth needs to be nailed, and some of them aren’t far away from where you are.

We need to talk about what is and is not happening among real Christians living real lives.

We need to hear the truth about the Christian experience, not just the scrubbed and glowing testimonials.

We need to have the assumed wisdom and answers of denominational leaders scrutinized, just like every pastor has to face his critics in every healthy church anywhere.

We need a vibrant discussion of the “whys” and the “what fors” in the things we require of one another in church, denomination and ministry.

We need courageous writers who will tell the stories that can’t be spoken among Christians who are determined to create a culture of secrecy and religious conformity.

There may be a price for honesty, asking questions and telling our stories. But there will never cease to be a need for someone who has the courage to ask tough questions and tell honest experiences in the midst of organized religion. We won’t ever get the truth of our human and Christian journeys from the official spokespersons or the press releases. We have to speak it to one another and support one another in the consequences.

We can’t speak falsehood to ourselves, one another and our children. Even if the truth is clumsy, painful, inconvenient or unwelcome, it is still the truth and we should love it for Jesus’ sake.

Comments

  1. Gerald says:

    Well, I can nail what I think is the truth to your door, but there’s no guarantee you won’t just throw it out along with all the Jehovah’s Witnesses tracts. It’s hard for either of us to know when to bother.

  2. Adrian Z says:

    Speak your mind and be prepared to be shown the door.

    I would rather walk away than engage in any confrontation however my courageous wife does not back down from asking truthful questions. We were not young or immature Christians and prayerfully and respectfully approached leadership on 2 seperate occasions nonetheless on both occasions suffered an incredible backlash, found ourselves in untenable situations and had no option but to leave and walk a pretty lonely road. The issues (many of which were similar to those discussed at various times at imonk) were not just impacting ourselves but many others in our congregation. Silence was tantamount to being complicit

    In both circumstances the various issues ultimately came to a head, leadership stood or stepped down, congregants departed, pain and hurt ensued and the issued addressed. In one situation one of the leaders who my wife and questioned actually took credit for ‘seeing the issue himself’ and bringing about the change!

    lessons learnt? Speaking the truth and asking the ‘whys’ and ‘what fors’ has consequences, not always foreseeable. The truth will set you free but not in ways you expect. Truth speaking can be a lonely road. Don’t expect to be thanked or for people to come back to you some time in the future and thank you for speaking the truth to them. Be prepared for a heck of a ride. Hold on closely to Jesus

  3. “There are still doors in Christendom where the truth needs to be nailed, and some of them aren’t far away from where you are.”

    And in our American Evangelical world, we would have to cut down a forest to post a paper on every door if we would think about this one from Spurgeon
    http://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/