Friday, August 24, 2007

Two Good Thoughts (From People Who Probably Don't Care Much for One Another)

From dissidens:
The future of the Gospel is not in the hands of the people running these religious institutions which can not and will not change; it rests in the soul of the person you ask to pass the butter.
From Bob Bixby (in a post titled "Dissidens is Shimei"):
Of course, Shimeis will say they love the Body. Of course. But what Dissidens loves is an abstract, non-existent ideal. (Whether his ideal is even biblical is another topic to debate). Loving an abstract ideal is not love. Saying you love your wife while imagining a fantasy is not love. The reality is that the Church of Jesus Christ is comprised of fallen people.
As I see it, both of these men say many true things. Both of these men have made enemies for saying some of the true things that they've said. (Some might also say it has to do with the way those things have been said.) That doesn't make them moral equivalents. Far from it.

What's most interesting to me is that both of these men, for all their differences, seem to recognize that the foundation so many problems in the Church today is, well, our understanding of the Church itself. Dissidens reminds us here that discipleship takes place first in the home and then in the church. The educational institution isn't equipped for the front lines of that battle.

Bixby actually believes that there is hope, but its reality will be realized on a micro level—one church at a time. He expresses a love for the Church in its current, deformed, malnourished, filthy, adulterous condition—the condition in which Christ himself betrothes and loves her. But that's not altogether surprising. Bob's a pastor. Dissidens is a philosopher (and I don't mean that as a cheap shot).

I think we can draw one lesson from both of them, despite the contempt they may have for one another. Amid all our frustration with the contemporary state of affairs in Christianity; amid all our cries for reform and consistency; amid all our intentions to pursue both unity and purity around the gospel; let's not make the same mistakes that have been made before. Let's not hope in educational institutions or T4G or influential theological personalities or, heaven forbid, the blogger community. Genuine, meaningful, persistent, pervasive reform, renewal, and revival begins at home. It arises within the Church. And that means your church.

More to follow on that point. Hopefully soon.

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