This will offend some and I don't want to be too hypocritical, but this is coming to me today:
Steve and I have been commenting on a site called the nakedpastor where the author of many pictures and cartoons illustrates the problems he and other have and have had with the "church". Some of it reminds me of i-monk, which I've always enjoyed. And the discussion, though often vigorous, was usually gracious and constructive. Many people there witness to the "post-evangelical-wilderness" but have not given up on faith or Jesus Christ. They know they must have him and his grace or they might as well expire. There was always that which we could share. Michael Spencer was also always very forthright and transparent with his readers while being gentle. This was incredibly refreshing and his greatest strength.
I don't get that same sense at the nakedpastor. There is some transparency attempted with the commentary on the pictures but it usually is guarded in some way, questions are not answered directly. One does not get the sense that we are on a quest for truth together, rather that truth is individual. Yes, No? Or we need to just listen more to ourselves and our spirit and God's Spirit and not be manipulated? Maybe that's it. I find the ambiguity distressing. I like to think for myself and speak honestly. Surely, I am a posterchild for this. Yet, I also have something to confess.
There is a way of being "prophetic" and a way not not being "prophetic" at all. Yet, I sympathize with those who struggle with their faith and with what they have experienced and how they feel they have been abused. Abuse should be exposed. All manner of abuse should be exposed and the blogger exposes some. I am with him there. There we are on the right track.
I am trying to listen with an open mind, though, and hear the pain. Still, the answer is decent, Christ-centered, scriptural, teaching about sin and forgiveness, and love and truth.
The other thing I am reminded of, is a piece by CBC radio "Tapestry" not too long ago on one of Daniel Dennett's attacks on Christianity by focusing on disillusioned pastors. This was a very sad piece to me. In a way what came out of it for me was: if you don't believe anything, then just get out of the arena. You cannot help anyone. Is this too harsh? And it is not about you and your disillusionment. And yet, also, compassion for those who lost faith. Very much. (I commented on the much commented on show and received a lot of thumbs down, one of the most rated comments. 10 thumbs up and 31 thumbs down.)
What Dennett asserts at the end is preposterous. Since "real scholarship" shows how everything is "wrong" about the Bible, practically, everyone is found in a hypocritical and soul destroying situation. Well, you are wrong there Mr. Dennett.
(The whole subject of pastors "losing faith" also relates to recent discussion with the Reformed on whether one can lose one's faith, the famed doctrine of "perseverance of the saints". Their answer would be: he never had faith to start with. I think these former pastors would tell you differently. I am suggesting, however, what their idea of what "faith" might have been was too anemic. See Bror on this, today. Also the summary on the first commandment.)
Apologetics and comparative religious studies, however, need to be done and making clear statements "metaphoric" unnecessarily or fitting clear texts into your system and twisting them on the way must be stopped (Calvin). The theology of glory must be given up for the theology of the cross. The Law and Gospel must be cleanly distinguished.
Happy birthday, Joseph!
8 hours ago