Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Pilgrimage

My Pastor is leading our church on a discussion of the emerging church. For those who aren't familiar with this movement, there's plenty on the blogosphere and other websites. In a nutshell, the basis of the movement is to bring mainline churches back to their historic roots, search for a deeper spirituality in Christ.

This part of the movement I'm all for. I didn't grow up a Christian, but even I could see that many mainline churches had become nothing more than social clubs, their members having a "form of godliness, but denying it's power." Returning to ancient traditions keeps us in touch with our heritage and creates a bond with our Christian ancestors.

But (there's always a "but"), there are parts of the emerging movement that cause much unrest in my spirit. While I fervently believe the church is to open to anyone seeking spiritual healing, in no way should the church approve of behavior clearly defined as immoral in the Bible. If a gay man or woman walks into my church, I trust he or she will be loved by the congregation and find a safe haven to begin his or her spiritual walk. That does not mean we approve of the sin. If I sink into porn addiction, I do hope that my brothers and sisters in Christ will do everything they can to stop me and get me back on the right path. If I continue to ignore their pleas, they should do as Paul instructs--have nothing to do with me, toss me out of the church.

I definately want to see a change in my Methodist church. We've strayed from the deep spirituality of our founders and have become a place of socialization and pot lucks. As have most of the major denoms. The reason I've stayed so long is that I see the power of a large organized church to spread the gospel to the world and fight for justice. The reason I sometimes want to leave is because our leadership often seems determined to become part of the world as to not make any waves.

That's not what John Wesley had in mind. Wesley made waves. So did our Lord.

I'll continue to study the emerging movement. Perhaps there is more good to be gained if we can leave the bad out. Otherwise, I may have to struggle yet again with a decision about my church.

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