what's the secret password?
i picked this title because the church tends to be like a secret society where you have to know the right way to dress, act and speak in order to be a part of the group. they will welcome you in, but there always seem to be conditions. christian posted an excerpt from a book in a recent post called, blue like jazz by donald miller. i highly recommend it. miller describes his book, "nonreligious thoughts on christian spirituality." if you are not a christian i recommend it even more because i think it will present a christianity that you have never encountered. here is an excerpt of my own that speaks to this issue of conditional church membership.
before i quote the passage, i want to sincerely repent to those people that i have placed conditions on for my friendship. i also want to apologize for the church as a whole for you who have been rejected by the church just because you may have not fit in to the mold. here's what donald wrote on page 215-216:
I began to understand that my pastors and leaders were wrong, that the liberals were not evil, they were liberal for the same reason Christians were Christians, because they believed their philosophies were right, good, and beneficial for the world. I had been raised to believe there were monsters under the bed, but I had peeked, in a moment of bravery, and found a wonderful world, a good world, better, in fact, than the one I had known.Does this impact you like it did me? I would love to hear your thoughts. Sorry it is so long.
The problem with Christian community was that we had ethics, we had rules and laws and principles to judge each other against. There was love in Christian community, but it was conditional love. Sure, we called it unconditional, but it wasn't. There were bad people in the world and good people in the world. We were raised to believe this. If people were bad, we treated them as though they were either evil or charity: If they were bad and rich, they were evil. If they were bad and poor, they were charity. Christianity was always right; we were always looking down on everybody else. And I hated this. I hated it with a passion. Everything in my soul told me it was wrong. It felt, to me, as wrong as sin. I wanted to love everybody. I wanted everything to be cool. I realize this sounds like tolerance, and to many in the church the word tolerance is profanity, but that is precisely what I wanted. I wanted tolerance. I wanted everybody to leave everybody else alone, regardless of their relgious beliefs, regardless of their political affiliation. I wanted people to like each other. Hatred seemed, to me, the product of ignorance. I was tired of biblical ethic being used as a tool with which to judge people rather than heal them. I was tired of Christian leaders using biblical principles to protect their power, to draw a line in the sand separating the good army from the bad one....