Head First: Some observations:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Some observations:

- church that is built on any agenda but to love people and be in relationship with one another is destined to miss God's intent for the Church, which, coincidentally, happens to be to love people and be in relationship with one another.

- any church whose agenda is to make converts will have a hell of a time convincing me that they don't see outsiders as potential notches in their collective bible.

- submission to one another as a behavioral pattern is not easily compatible with the idea of taking your city/state/country for Christ.

- it's not right to throw stones at people, even if they're real bastards and shoot arrows at you first.

- people who try to fix other people just make life difficult for everyone (my 8 year-old daughter made this observation).

- I find myself trusting God more these days, because I don't have all that certainty to fall back on.

- I'm not angry anymore, but I'm still a little sad.


Recovering said...

Good thoughts. And I don't think I disagree. But what SHOULD our collective will be as believers, if any? Should our collective agenda be flexibility? Should it be community without clique-iness (sp?)?

Zeke said...

I still think I'm more angry than sad.

The Cubicle Reverend said...

Wouldn't they be notches in the bible belt?

SocietyVs said...

"submission to one another as a behavioral pattern is not easily compatible with the idea of taking your city/state/country for Christ." (Dorsey)

Intersting observation - I have never thought about this before - good eye dude! The idea of submission and 'taking' can come off as opposites for sure.

Barry said...

Well said, Dorsey. As someone else has said, we should live our faith and share our lives. Too often we get that backwards, and people can tell if you've got a hidden agenda (like converting them) very easily.

ninjanun said...

I think I'm still angry AND sad...

Great observations.

Kenny-Po said...

I agree, very good observations. Your sadness is reciprocated. I can't stand it when we try to conquer and impose things on people and justify it as Christ-like. Jesus never overcame with power, he overwhelmed with love. Hmm... which way should we go?

Molly's Boss said...

agree with you 99% of the way. But I guess my questions that I still have would be regarding the other 1%.

Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Luk 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him], And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

What I see here is Jesus saying that the only agenda that the Samaritan had was to help the man that was in distress. This was to come at a cost to him and I do not see any “notches” in his smoking gun or any other self-glory being received by him. I believe we can approach our brothers in the world in this same attitude weather it be for providing for his physical being, as this Samaritan did, or for his spiritual being as I believe this parable may infer. I do agree that I cannot provide the “fix” but I might be able to tend to some of the wounds. I also agree that I see many in the church promoting “self” over Christ, which always ends up in disaster and usually hurting His Church. However, my question would be how do we keep the first part of the commandment without seemingly to be caring an agenda. Fact is last night members of our church hit the local streets and knocked on doors. Their mission… to ask people for prayer request to where we would take these prayers to a Sunday night prayer meeting and pray over them. Was there a hidden agenda? Admittedly so… but the hidden agenda was to have them aware of the fact that there is a church in town that preaches the inerrant word of God and cares for their community, of which they are part of the community. There are about 8 churches that come together for different dominations on the second Friday of the month that are praying to the surrounding community and its people. This goes from 10PM to 12PM and beyond. Their agenda is nothing more but to wish the best for their community and because of that they come together are pray of it. But by the “best” they are meaning “Christ” like. But, this I think this is where many problems lie. Define “Christ” like. If I’m a Baptist perhaps it means… I don’t drink and I don’t chew… If you are Reformed… drinking may be a liberty that you partake in and find nothing wrong with as long as you refrain from being drunk. Is it then right then for the Baptist to spread and preach his agenda to the Reformed? With the first miracle of Jesus to change the water into wine I would say that the Reformed stands on firm ground but I would also agree with the Baptist in that he has the liberty not to drink if he chooses. This should not be considered an upscale in “holiness” on the part of the Baptist and therefore not “notches” are in order. However, that same question becomes much more difficult if I see a brother that is about to go into a relationship with sin that can do nothing but harm to him and perhaps the family around him. If you had a good couple as friends and see your brother about to step into a relationship with another women what are you going to do? That is where I feel that I might need to say something but it might appear that I am trying to “fix’ something or have an agenda. But I feel to represent the above two commandments well that I just cannot walk away like nothing is about to happen. I guess it all boils down to “pick” your issue lines well. I want blue wall, she wants yellow… let the walls be yellow. I do not want this to become an issue that may affect our relationship. And even though I may have issues the result is that I still need to love my brother as Christ loves him. I do not think this means that I need to remain speechless but it does require that all things are to be done in love. Often this does require risks to where you may be criticized in the process. Who knows, in the above parable the injured man may be a very legalist Jew who would have preferred to die than to be touched by a Samaritan, to which end he would only have critical words for the Samaritan. Does this mean that the Samaritan was wrong? I do not thinks so, the Samaritan did as the Lord would have him do, looked for not reward, was willing to pay the costs, and ready to receive the criticism or consequence of doing what he felt the Lord would have him do. All that may seem a bit windy to make a small point but I’m not sure how others see these situations where it could appear to be meddling or “fixing” a problem and what do they do? I do recall a very minor incident that happened while we were living in Houston. It was back in the days where are kids were young and wearing incandescent shoes laces in your tennis shoes was the thing if you were a kid of 12 or less. One of the sallow parishioners came up to me and criticized the sons shoe laces and saying something to the effect that they should not be worn. Honestly, I took it as it was a joke and he was joking with us. It was not until I got into the car and saw my son crying that I realized the affect on him. I turned to the wife and said to her; the man was just joking, right? She stated… No! The man was not joking. The issue to me then was… who invited him to be our clothing consultant and what right does he have to insult my son over a pair of shoe laces. I think the major offence was that he valued his self-righteousness over the relationship he had with my family and my son. I felt devalued, which was ok with me, but you do not devalue my family without me letting you know how I feel about that. And being he felt so low about our relationship I figured I had little to lose anyway. I do not know if I lost my salvation having a conversation with that man after I realized what was going on but never fear that was years ago and hopefully by now I’ve gained it back. If that is the type of thing you’re talking about, I will stand in your corner every time. However, there are other times where I think taking a risk in love is in order. I’ll end here because I’m running out of space, I’m taking too much of your time, and that which is of the greatest priority… it’s lunchtime and I need time to eat my lunch.

Ha Kohen said...

Wow that one dude wrote a book to answer a paragraph!

Molly's Boss said...

That’s cuz it was on Dorsey’s dime. Not to worry, he has a lot of them.

Had it been on my dime I’d have to say.

Yo dude, w/u 99%, 1% prob w other Christ like risks.


dorsey said...

MB, I appreciate your comment, and I don't think we're really all that far apart on that one percent.

I want to make a couple distinctions. I don't think meeting needs and "fixing" people are the same thing. I stopped to help a stranded motorist yesterday. She was from out of state, knew no one locally, and, when jump-starting didn't work, needed to be towed to a garage. I don't consider my assistance as imposing my will on this person, nor do I think she perceived it in that way. If she had told me to leave her alone and go away, I might have been puzzled, but I certainly would have complied.

By contrast, in another incident, a woman with whom I've had limited contact for the last couple years (but to whom I happen to be related), cornered me yesterday and said, "I want you in church this Sunday. The past is the past. You NEED to be there." Now, I haven't had a substantive discussion with this woman in a few years. This is also about the third occasion in that period that she has attempted to bring me to bay and tell me what I NEED. She doesn't know me (not anymore, anyway). She hasn't been part of my conversation. How could she possibly know what I need? Well, I suppose that, in her one-size-fits-all brand of Christianity, everyone NEEDS to be in church this Sunday.

Now, when one of my best friends said to me (paraphrase), "Dorse, I don't really get it completely. I miss seeing you on Sunday, and I wish you were still leading the music. But still, it doesn't change anything between us," I didn't get offended. This person and I are close enough that we can say things like that to one another, and know that it's not out of any agenda but to want the best for each other and to trust God and each other enough to figure out what that is without trying to impose our opinions."

Relationship is the very key to this entire issue. I think we would agree on that. But in a lot of churches, there's a lot of "you NEED" to do or be this or that. The example you gave of going door to door and asking, "Is there anything we can pray about on your behalf," is a far cry from that. But I have been in leadership meetings where something like that has been suggested, not so much out of altruism or a genuine burden for the people in the community, but in hopes that people would see how "caring" we were and want to come to our church. It was just a grass-roots form of marketing. It's wrong for a church to look at its neighborhood as merely potential butts-in-pews. God forgive me for being part of that.

I agree that wanting the best for people is part of loving them. But, as you said, different people interpret what's "best" in different ways. Problems start when my "best" and your "best" start vying for supremacy over each other. If our relationship is more important than our opinions (and they should be), we'll find a livable middle ground.

Recovering said...

Great comment, Dorsey...you'll either find middle ground or move out of each others way and respectfully let each other do what you feel will please God...

seƱor jefe said...

Angry? Sad? I can honestly say that I just don't care anymore.

I love God & I love my neighbor. The (c)hurch is on its own...

Molly's boss said...

I think you’re right, we are not that far apart, not that I thought we ever were. I guess it boils down to when you look out over the sea of people in your community what do you see? Spiritually that is. Do you see a sea of people you can bring into your church to help finance your agenda and programs? Or create a mega church so you can be in the “in crowd” and have “the power”? Or do you see a sea of starving people in need of a redeemer? If you see the sea of people in need of a redeemer then (as they would say in the untouchables) what are you prepared to do now? Or better yet, what would the Lord have you do now? I recall a very wise man one time came up to me and said, “It’s not about me, it’s all about Him”. We’re not selling used cars… we’re introducing people to the Lord who could, if they choose, be their redeemer. I guess it boils down to how do we get the impurities out that come up to the top when purifying the silver or gold. The silver or gold is what everyone wants and desires but it is covered by these impurities. As a result it does not look all the pleasant when attempting to see the gold through the junk on top.

Zac 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people: and they shall say, The LORD [is] my God.

But sometimes the junk on top can be our brothers and sisters going through the same “purification” or “sanctification” process just like I am. They may not look all that pretty as I’m sure I don’t, but hopefully the gold is in there somewhere. But I may need to weed through the junk before I find it. Hopefully we will not have a cave-in as we mine it.

But I also do agree. Self-ambition weather it comes from an organization or individual is rarely Godly. It magnifies self and not the Lord. But there sometimes is the problem. The wife and I were talking about this just this morning in attempts to drive enthusiasm into a church effort. End result was that conversation is that sometimes the motivation can be good but the methods questionable and therefore are the results justified if it appears to add numbers? We had to back up and answer; no we’re not going there… The process is important and needs to be kept in the manner the Lord would have it done weather it yields large numbers or not.

I also agree that the “You Needs” should be limited to those you have invited into your life to be counselors of such things. If this were my wife I would take it under extreme advisement or if this were an Elder of the church where we have agreed to go I would also take it under extreme advisement. If this were another brother then I guess the verse “submit yourself one unto another” may come into play, but that is not the same weight as the first two and he may be on uninvited grounds; Whereas the wife and Elder are always invited by their position in my life.

Caro said...

Very erudite comments. I've tried to add my 2 cents but this *&#*&^ system has been keeping me out. I'm trying another dodge, so this means little except to confirm I can send a msg.

Caro said...

IT WORKED!!OK, youse guys, here goes. When you speak of "relations", just what do you mean? W/o a definition of terms, we could be speaking in different languages and not aware. God has opened a way for a relationship w/Him; however, is it w/o qualification? Doesn't He expect, NO, require, something of us? If so, how is His different from ours, except in breadth, depth, and length?

dorsey said...

I'm glad you kept trying. It's always good to hear your thoughts.

From where I stand, we're talking about friendship:

"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15 NASB)

In reference to my earlier comment, my friends know my mind, and are better equipped to speak to me more capably than a mere acquaintance (or a semi-distant relative).

It's your implied comparison of our relationships to God's relationships that has intrigued me. I think relationship is a two-way street. There are implicit assumptions, expectations and, yes, requirements to every relationship, including those with God. But what makes me squirm is that God did EVERYTHING to extend relationship to us and make it possible. Are you suggesting that we must be willing to do the same with each other?

I think I need some aspirin. My toes just got very sore. ; )

Kris said...

Dorsey, that person who is "related" and says you NEED to be in church.........I know who "she" is. yep, yep I do.........i just can't figure out how my aunt sherrill gets to the east coast and back to oklahoma so quick?

Great observations and comments bro.

Mrs Zeke said...

well dang I am not sad nor angry, in fact I am pretty happy and cool.. I just want real relationships in and out of church and want my church to be open, honest and intimate.
I don't want to fix anyone I can't. I don't want to be comfortable either.
I don't want to abuse grace.
I don't want to reject it either.

I want to accept others and I want to stay on the high road to help others who I can with a helping hand up.... as well as look up and get a helping hand where I need it.

am I deluded?

be loved you are miss our phone conversations

Caro said...

Dorse: To keep it simple, YES.
To get long-winded (which I do so well), My sins will not face me in the end as they are buried in the "sea of
God's forgetfulness, to be remembeer AGAINST ME no more"; however, my works will be there. How will I explain to HIM my omission of love or my requiring qualifications for granting love? I may be able to satisfy myself or even you that relations are withheld for cause (because you are a ---), but will my presentment hold up before the only One who matters?
Yes, His calling me friend is conditional; but am I qualified to set conditions on others to receive my Christian friendship? Should I not just go ahead and be a friend and let them live with their excuses for not receiving or responding to me?
Such a problem! Maybe David had it right when he said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." I surely can't do it!