Monday, August 23, 2010

puke

hey all
happy monday

i have nothing substantial to say today, really. this is one of those hard days where feelings have no words and i have a hard time expressing myself. emotionally constipated. in need of an outlet but not sure how to do that. especially when i need to pretend that i am a professional and need to go to work and lead workshops and the like.

it is only 6:38 am and i am wondering why i always get up so early to do activist work and whether it really matters in the end, whether change is happening. i know change happens in my own life, and maybe that's enough, but i also wonder whether it is worth the pain and sweat and tears and pathetic income. i wonder at the value of formal organizations, religious and otherwise, outside of perpetuating the hurtful status quo. i wonder how long i will be able to perpetuate this feeling of hope for a better world when everyday there is something new and heinous to struggle against.

william blake said that the struggle is the blessing. maybe. but if so, where does wisdom lie? does it lie in working and raging or in sitting back and drinking beer and accepting the face that it is human nature to be violent to one another and knowing truly that i can't do anything about that.

anyway

it is dark outside, and i don't know if its becuase it is cloudy or because the sun quite isn't up yet or because i just can't see the sunshine or its effects today.

should i walk away from the church?

4 comments:

Chris H said...

should i walk away from the church?

Short answer: no.

Longer answer:
No. There is no better place than a gospel-focussed church when you're struggling; a place where the Bible is taught from the pulpit, and lived out by the people in the pews/chairs.

I understand what you express about wondering whether the effort of changing people and systems is worth it. I came the conclusion, though, that all I am called to do is bring everyone I meet face to face with the Gospel: that without Christ we are doomed by our sin because of justice, but through faith in Christ we are redeemed by the grace of God. My focus has shifted from looking at the systems and dreaming of revolution, to looking at the effect of sin on the world and praying for the courage to evangelise.

I won't go on more than that. I respect you, Bre, and how honestly you express your struggles. What's more, I'll continue to pray for you, that you'll draw nearer and nearer to God, and find His peace.

Zac said...

Bre,

I hear you. I have felt the same sense of futility from within the Church as an organization as well as within my own self as an individual.

While I disagree with Chris on the nature of the Gospel, especially as it relates to what I take from his comments to be an undue polarization of Gospel as either evangelism or the Gospel as the transformation of systems, I would have to ultimately find myself, at least on the surface of the terms, in agreement with him. The Gospel is the victory of God over the powers and this is good news. What does this mean for a people called to proclaim and live out this Good news? I like John Howard Yoder's wisdom on this:

"The key to the obedience of God's people is not their effectiveness but their patience. The triumph of the right is assured not by the might that comes to the aid of the right, which is of course the justification of the use of violence and other kinds of power in every human conflict. The triumph of the right, although it is assured, is sure because of the power of the resurrection and not because of any calculation of causes and effects, nor because of the inherently greater strength of the good guys. The relationship between obedience of God's people and the triumph of God's cause is not a relationship of cause and effect but one of cross and resurrection." (Politics of Jesus, 232)

Yoder goes on to talk of how Jesus being "the lamb who was slain" is our ethical ground in regards to being the Church. The church has to be that place where all are willing to be a revolution in the world (ie. participants in God's in-breaking Kingdom), paradoxically, by being subordinate to the powers of evil, ie. by not assuming "worldly" power over them. This then requires the patience to wait for those inbreaking's of God's justice and love -- a patience that is totally rejected and suffocated by a culture of speed and effectiveness.

What this all boils down to, I think, is that in my opinion our desire to see change is all at once completely authentic and necessary for our continued striving after it, and yet at the same time this desire is polluted by "worldly" models of effectiveness that claim that the Gospel can only happen if we have a business model sufficient enough to achieve success in 5 years.

Anyway, this is where my brain goes. Let's talk soon over beer which, rather than facilitating only the lament of violent human nature, can also facilitate rejoicing!

Z

~ L ~ said...

I've been reading a book lately, Changes That Heal, by Dr. Henry Cloud, that has really helped take my focus off trying to relate to, or help groups/types of people and instead focus on the individuals themselves. Everything not based solely on God is going to fail us, it's a realization most of us don't like because it can't be changed, and a lot of the time it can seem like an injustice that we are called to still be a community, a family, with the mistake machines we humans are. But this book has really pushed me to have grace for every failure because truth alone won't change people. As much as God proclaims the truth, he proclaims forgiveness too.
May God give you the truth and grace you need right now.

Emilie said...

Hope this isn't just for people you know...I found your site surfing the blogs and your ideas resonated within me. I have also gone through times of dislike, and even disgust with the church, and my faith is the most important thing in my life. "Church people" are just like other people, flawed and sinful. There are no "good church folk". Anybody that ascribes to that label is in denial. Do what God is calling you to do. I can't comment on a particular church, but being involved in a church is better than not...Jesus wants us to be in community...nobody can do it alone.