“What you are up against in your church there is all too tragically common in many of our Bible-believing churches. As you know, I speak of the false view of pietism and spirituality… There is no doubt in my mind that biblically it is just that â€” it is a false view of spirituality. The price for this, as for all things less than God calls us to, has been overwhelmingly costly, first in individual lives. We have had so many young people come here to L’Abri who become Christians and then [return to a] . . . church holding this false view of spirituality . . . [that] told them that their art, music, or poetry . . . is subspiritual. Through the years literally hundreds of them have come here destroyed and wiped out. Happily, for many of them we have seen them set free and they are now creating again.”
This was quoted within an article by his son, which is written on the state of the arts in Christian Culture, today. Today when it is supposed to be so flourishing because it is popular and money is there. Sigh, a subject for another day.
Today I am driving home a point… and I will hammer it for as long as it seems necessary. The false spirituality that Francis Schaeffer bemoaned so very many years ago, now? It is still here… still quickly taking over… still gobbling up more than its fair share of energy and attention.
Yes, indeed. Alive in Christian blogging as we know it. Because whenever you see dogmatic stiff necked Christianity that proudly poses with “God says it and I believe it!” And trots out all the cliche and truisms… you are staring at this false piety. It holds its place so tenaciously because it is easier for convinced Christians to keep alive than is the work of real dialogue.
Real dialogue is hard work. It will stretch you it will slap you and it will pull the rug right out from under your feet at times. You will have to pray, to look up the references, to rethink the logic. You will have to bend down on a knee and apologize at times. Not for the fainthearted, and yet we are all called to it in some form: be ready to give an answer for the hope within you.
Not just ready made answers, but readiness of heart and mind to give the time, and make the concessions of ego. Jesus did that constantly.
It is time to consider precious what He considered precious. Maybe that means I will have to cast aside that term, Islamo-fascist. I don’t know yet, but I am willing to consider. Maybe I will have to be more careful with terms so that I may more powerfully bring the superiority of the love of God to bear on the situation. This makes me no more compromising, nor soft, but it will make me more considered. It will cause me to take pains with the mark and the target and shoot in a straight and patient manner.
It will be hard for a person like me… but maybe it is worth it.
For a number of years now I have been of the conviction that the ONE thing that Christians are called to do in fellowship with each other is support each others ministry and encourage each others growth. Even when they disagree with it, or do not believe it is a worthwhile pastime. Before you go hysterical, here is what I mean: i.e. A woman believes it is her ministry to be a midwife, to encourage other women to have home birth, but you disagree with the wisdom of home birth, you feel it is something she should reconsider and repress. You are wrong. Or perhaps someone believes really strongly in something like the Full Quiver ideas that they should have all the children possible in their family. But you have deep reservations, you think they are wrong in how they interpret scriptures… so you proceed to criticise them for their stance. Does this build them in their faith in Christ?
We must look at doctrines, at teachings and ideas, but we ought to be more careful in handling those who have them. But how quickly we bring pressure upon ordinary fellow Christians, who like us, are simply trying to follow Christ and honor Him. It is a little like the situation we find with our children. We have things, and we have children… sometimes things quite valuable to us get broken by our children. But in the long view, it is the children that matter. We want our children to learn to value the important things, but we do not want to destroy them in the lesson. Even though that is sometimes how our anger is directed.
So what should we do, seeing that we differ so strongly, and have such conflicting views on what is good for each other, ourselves, and the Church?.
I believe that so far as we are able to find that which we see in each other that is directed towards Christ… and encourage that thing. Encourage each other by supporting that persons ministry to the extent it does good. Encourage the mother to do well in her home and with her children, encourage the career person to do their best in their calling, see the good within and focus a pinpoint of light on that good.
Are they precise with God’s Word, we need them! Are they big hearted and caring? We need them! Are they organized and hard working? We need them!
Are they dreamers and hopers? We need them! Are they messy, but available? We need them! We also need to bless them in the Lord’s name… and tell them that if they abstain from meat- to be the best most holy of the type of meat-abstainers they can be- to wholeheartedly do what they do unto God and His glory. And be glad for them when they are successful, be sympathetic and supportive when they have failed, lend ourselves to each other to move forward as a whole person in Christ.
It will take time, openness, and effort. We will get frustrated, disappointed, and irritable, but we should keep our eyes on the prize of the high calling. Doing Christ’s things His way, and for Him…. and stop our smallness of heart and mind that won’t risk anything for anyone and is too busy building nice neat kingdoms of control. “Elevator music of religion”, indeed. Let’s bcome great swelling symphonies and help each soloist do their best, help each quartet shine beautifully and come in on our cue. Without dissension, envy, or rejections. Dissonance, yes, quitting the concert….no. Every day is a practice session, and who knows when the conductor will call for the command performance? Let us be as given to excellence with each other as the Maestro is with a masterpiece.
Leave an oevre worth something to generations to come. It will mean leaving some of our traditions and wasted pastimes behind. It will require much of us personally.
But that is what Christ called us to, originally, isn’t it?