bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Response to Chris via comments on "open to the elements"

"Open to the elements"

Chris, I think you're right on. Hence, I don't intend to try to convert you to the "dark side". You've gone to a great deal of trouble to explain your position and I respect that. Again, I agree with your perspective wholeheartedly and have argued the same points many times.

I think that the root of our disagreement is a difference of perspective. As in, you're drawing a picture of the same tree I am, but we're standing on different sides of the tree and at different distances from it.

When you've been away from congregational "church" as long as I have you loose your perspective on the people and it becomes all about the failings of the system. I realize that isn't the most objective means of analysis. However, I would suggest that those involved in the congregational "church" have an equally subjective view which elevates the individuals and ignores much of the institutional failings.

Here's the rub - the ones that we're trying to mirror the love of Christ to are OUTSIDE the institution and often very very far away. They cannot see past the institutional expectations of conformity, grabbing for money, and imminent hypocrisy bred out of a misguided marketing of holy living. I won't patronize you by going any further with this...I know you get it.

I spent 18 years in various levels of ministry from teacher to director to deacon in Southern Baptist and Methodist churches. I've written a book all about my frustrations with the system and with a nod to what I speculate it could all look like 20 years from now. I did my undergraduate work in English - Poli Sci - History at an uber-conservative Southern Baptist University. I miss the people I taught, debated with, and partnered with trying to change from within. Some of them are still close friends. Most of them turned their back on me when I could no longer accept the "status quo."

Here's what I'm looking be able to combine my distant perspective with a closer perspective, like yours, in hopes of developing a comprehensive perspective that actually begins to bridge gaps instead of making them bigger. There has to be a reason why so many are leaving the institutional "church" in favor of social causes. I'm all about embracing change with an eye toward accepting whatever form it comes in. I, personally, believe that the change is a spiritual revival too large to be confined by the statutes of organized religion. My reasoning behind this is far too lengthy to go into in a comment box. You have to combine the ideas of about 30 different contemporary authors, speakers, and theologians currently taking up the mantel of change to even begin to get a full whiff of how big the next quarter century will be on a spiritual level.

Again, I agree with you about just shouting down the institution and throwing rocks through the stained-glass windows - I don't want to be THAT guy. I'm a problem solver. The reason I blog is that I'm still trying to find my voice and work out what this is all suppose to look like. The frustrating part for me is that I'm convinced that the problems of institutional organized religion aren't fixable. It seems like a house you love which cannot be remodeled any more. Best practice may be to just leave it be and move down the road to build something entirely new.

I also realize that all of this might be a result of my own baggage, but that thought seems to diminish the more I do this and the more I discuss the matter with those folks sitting far away from the institution. Those "outsiders" need more than a bridge - they also need a motive to use that bridge.