Friday, May 17, 2013

The Quarantined Church

Ignorance and arrogance go hand-in-hand so I think there should be a degree of awe and wonder – like a child's – as well as humility and open-mindedness. The only way around ignorance is education, not indoctrination, and the only way to become successfully educated is the abandonment of arrogance.

Although many Christians have honed their Humility down to an art form, when it comes to issues of Belief that humility and open-mindedness are replaced with a knowledge-filled arrogance. These rigidly-denominational Christians are the modern day Gnostics. Those that unswervingly and unquestionably follow their denomination's teaching and swear that it is truth and righteous.

And although I've just labeled it “rigidly-denominational Christians” it manifests itself in other less obvious ways. My favourite are the self-titled “Bible Christians” who claim not to follow denominations or traditions but only the bible... please. They are no different; just a little bit more creative and a little bit more dishonest.

At the end of the day, the only thing all these have in common is that they believe in the bible. Where they all differ in what it says or means. With so many interpretations and numerous proper hermeneutics and various doctrines and heretical views accepted and denied, it should become obvious that the simple truth, the answer, is anything but obvious.

In time it becomes a private issue of tribalism and being right over pursuing the truth. Then we enter the realm of ulterior agendas and the Evaginated Christian emerges. (No, I didn't misspell “Evangelical”). Something else is being sold, either instead of, alongside of, or on condition of, the truth. They have done worse than turn it inside-out. They have evaginated it; they have turned it outside-in. There are those on the outside and there are those clearly on the inside.

Historically, we have seen this on a near 500-year cycle. There was the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church (and the purging of the Christian Gnostics) by Emperor Constantine c. 5th century. There was the Schism of the Eastern Orthodox Church c. 10th century. Then there was the Protestant Reformation c. 15th century (and what followed to be The Splintering are numerous denominations. Maybe this Splintering is more of a byproduct of Americanism. “The Church of the Individual”. Maybe these numeral denominations should be collectively referred to as “American Christianity”). Now there's the appearance of the Emergent Church c. 20th century.

I would imagine the real 'church' (community) to be varied and should include non-believers. A place where questions and struggle and doubt are not discouraged or treated with The Stick & The Carrot.
I think Christianity could learn a lesson from Taoism's idea of four types of societies. The lofty idea that a perfect society's people are not motivated by reward or fear of punishment.

The Stick & Carrot vs. Grace & Mercy. These concepts are polar opposites yet both seems predominant within modern Christianity as they preach Grace & Mercy but they practice The Stick & Carrot). Maybe that is what is wrong with Christianity today? The existence of the Stick & the Carrot methodology is a trademark of Religiosity. However, truly unconditional Grace will do away with Religiosity and Religions for that matter. They will be the hallmark of the End of Religion. Christianity comes so close to this, but at the end, at the very last minute, cling to their individual Ego-driven collective identity as a “Christian” and undo the entire process.
You know what? Maybe the church of “True Believers” sitting in their pews, singing their hymns, safely tucked between their church's walls, bound by their unspoken rules and regulations of what you should and shouldn't do and can and cannot be, is a great idea! Maybe they should be quarantined off. I can't think of a better way of stopping the spread of this marketed corporate mentality.

We should strive to be a perpetual student. Always learning, our focus on continual growth, not continual stagnation.

The real questions we much each individually ask ourselves are, Am I only following what I've been taught but never questioned it? Am I following my priest, my minister, my pastor, my Rabbi, or my Imam? If I were born in a different culture would I still believe what I claim to hold a true? Have I looked outside of my quarantined world? Am I loyal to my belief-mechanism or to the truth and wisdom and source behind it?

Am I spiritually in motion in my faith, or am I static in my belief?
Am I a member of The Quarantined Church?

If not, then what are you? Are you a fringe-dweller, existing on the outer frayed edge? Are you a mouse living between the walls of the rooms we call Denominations? Or are you living in a spiritual wilderness? Are you a Wanderer, and if so, are you lost or on a quest?

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