A card-carrying member…

in the Post-Evangelical Wilderness.

***

Not that I want to be defined by ‘what I’m against’ or slap on a trendy label, but after being called a ‘good post-evangelical’ recently, I prayed to St. Google and realized it was time to send away for my membership card and decoder ring.

If you require further explanation, browse these links: Wiki Page, This Blog Post, or This One, and This Excellent Article.

No, I’m not draping myself in the mantle of Indignant Victim/Misunderstood Prophet, nor am I jettisoning foundational orthodox doctrines. I’m weary of the bullshit is all. Celebrity ministries, flatulent egotism, unrepentant rationalizations for long-term character flaws, imperious immaturity, moral failures, financial shenanigans, organization politics, dysfunctional and disproportionate sermons… Sad to say if you’ve been in church longer than five years, you probably know what I’m talking about.

Looking over 28 years of following Jesus, plus what I can discern and analyze of the current state of the American church, I wonder if in this Providential place and season, my service to God must be developed and engaged outside the traditional venue of the church. That recognizing the present options are not only less than ideal, but out of my purview, if I am being forced to grow into new areas of faithfulness and fruitfulness. I also wonder if this large shift – which I find myself a part of – isn’t a falling away as critics claim, but rather a divine pruning that requires Christians exercise missional impulse (i.e. obey the Great Commission) outside the traditional pyramid scheme church. Perhaps like the Acts 8 persecution in Jerusalem after the martyrdom of Stephen, this scattering is God’s intention. Maybe He’s saying it’s time to stop congealing around brand-name ministries in mega-churches, and go into the highways and byways and deal one-on-one with people.

If so, I need to move forward rather than drag old modes of thought and practice behind me.

It’s not a little scary – this pushing out into the deep and leaving sight of the shore. But the boat is solid, tempest-worthy if you will. The instruments work. So long as I keep my destination in mind and don’t lose sight of the North Star, I’ll get through it. The shore behind me was the starting point, not the goal. And it wasn’t what was keeping me dry either.

It’s just a thought.

4 Comments on “A card-carrying member…

  1. The American Church is in a sad place today. Much of it has fallen asleep & is becoming irrelevant. Too many churches & Christians are no longer real. They look exactly like the world & the world can spot a phony a mile away. Before I chose to follow Jesus, the few “Christian” men I knew, drank, told dirty jokes, hit on women etc. In other words, they were not real.

    It wasn’t till I found some Christians who actually tried to keep God’s commands & had actually read the Bible & showed me what it meat to follow Jesus,that I chose to follow Him.

    Chris

  2. I hear you, but my issue isn’t so much slacker religious types. They’re everywhere. It’s more ministries that ‘major in the minors’; cherry-picking Scripture to address secondary or tertiary social/political issues rather than the Gospel, demanding conformity and compliance over character, justifying poor character and conduct in ministerial office, and the like.

    I’m not saying social/political issues should never be addressed. They should. After all, ideas have consequences and we must live out our convictions in light of the reality of God. It’s emphasizing pettiness over piety, then defending and perpetuating an insular, dysfunctional, disproportionate perspective that has worn me right out. Ignorance is not a fruit of the spirit.

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.

    • Sure.

      The conceit of leadership/the misuse of authority is the most common potential problem with ministerial office. Not only do those in positions wind up taking credit for ‘success’ on some level, but they feel it then is a divine stamp of approval on their every action and opinion.

      I’m grateful to faithful men of God, they should be appreciated, but all the glory and credit for anything genuine goes to God. It’s essential congregants and ministers separate the two.

      It’s why Jesus linked authentic leadership to humility and service.

      Authority doesn’t bother me – bad authority does.

      Jesus is faithful. His word is true. But to quote the prophet Jerry Garcia: “What a long strange trip it’s been.” 😉

      Thanks again for weighing in.

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