Monday, 8 September 2014

Quick thoughts on serious reflections from the words of preachers

I've seen a bit on Facebook of late about how people have reacted to words spoken (and indeed written) by preachers. Could say pastor or minister or whatever, but let's be really broad. These aren't new topics, people have been disagreeing with one another's theology since... I don't know... the Reformation? (Let's be honest, even way before then).

What I wanted to say about this is that I think it is wonderful that we are given platforms to share words of encouragement and wisdom, and also, that as the collective Christian Church (caps on purpose kids), it's okay to listen or read the words of someone and say 'you know what, I disagree, and here is why'.

I hate conflict, even online (okay, especially online), and sometimes this can seem like conflict. But it isn't. Ways people disagree with a disagreement seem to be:

You're reading it of context!!!!!
I've read statements in and out of context. I've read Bible verses in the same way. Putting something in context doesn't make it right.

Also, Mr or Ms Context, no one needs you gazillion exclamation marks. Just sayin'.

But he/she/they have an awesome ministry
That's great!
Good on them. No, really, I mean that.

I've made stupid mistakes in my ministry too. But, we're not talking about some chick straight of Bible College. We're talking about people who have accountability teams and managers and boards and surely someone who proofreads their sermons.

On the God thing though. I don't want to say 'hey, leave God out of this,' but today I wi1l because the words that we speak aren't always God inspired. Yes, we are called to do a lot of things in the context of ministry. I mean, have you read Paul's letters?! Does he even like those people? Of course he does! On the other hand, he's not waffling on for an hour, ad libbing his way through a themed sermon. He's a very much boom-boom-boom, 'I send you greetings, I suggest you do this that and the other, I send you love.'

That was ages ago.
Who cares how long ago something is? If it's in a printed or digital or tape recorded copy, it exists. I'm not pro-censorship either. I still have sermons from years ago, and I'm not even that old!

 If it was ages ago, here's what I think you should do, oh preacher person.

1. Decide whether you still mean it. If you do, we don't want you whingy 'ooooooh, sorry if I offended you people/women/group of people in general'. We want to know if that's what's on your heart still. No, scratch that. That's Christianese. We want to know if that's what you believe.
2. Assuming it isn't, you still don't need to apologise. What's made you change your mind? That's what I want to know.
3. Make some timely decisions about who your audience is. Every single church I have ever visited has their own take on theology and on life. Theology isn't so much of the problem. The problem is Own Our Agenda. What's God's agenda? Break hearts and mend them. That's about it.

Religion is stupid.
Religion versus Christianity aside, if you disagree with something because it is religious,  why put in your two cents? Disagree if it shows poor values or morals or whacked out theology. So you don't like organised religion?? That's fine. Why do you feel the need to comment on every single article that doesn't (apparently) relate yo you anyway?

That aside, I am so happy to see open and healthy debates about all sorts of current issues with the Christian Church (caps because, well, I explained before). Go us.

I don't often enter into such debates. Most of the time I know what I believe (and really don't), and I don't need to have my opinion swayed either way as that's a waste of everyone's time. Also, I don't always know enough to truly take part in such things. I don't know about certain churches or the history of pastors or whatever, only in a very general sense. I also don't have any emotional ties to such stories or conversations. Should I find myself in that situation, I will put in my two cents, as I do with plenty of other open discussions.

Anyway. That's it from me. I hope I have brought something to your day, even if you did disgaree with me.