Let’s talk about faith, life, doubt, gospel + Jesus
[The Church Series] Without The Applause: Examining Celebrity Culture In The Church
With the rise of social media and the massive reach of online platforms, anyone can become someone, with something to say and an audience to hear it. The ability to curate a popular (but often artificial) public persona, within the reach of millions, is available through a simple tap of the keyboard. However, this platform is often devoid of personal proximity or systems of accountability and runs the risk of reducing the gospel to merely a vehicle for global Christian consumerism.
Lessons From The Seven Churches
It can be tempting to view the early first century church in rather glowing terms – a ‘golden age’ of church history when the believers were all-in, the church totally had it together, and the believers shared all things in common. I’ve heard Act 2:42 touted as somewhat of a touchstone for church authenticity, with a revival of these (implied: blissful, albeit persecuted) glory days being the true mark of genuine Christian living.
Yet only a generation removed from the greatest event the world had ever seen and yet even these churches already showed the extremes that would characterise the Christian identity for centuries afterwards.
Keeping The Faith
It seemed to me, as a 12-year-old, that excommunication was the most awful thing that could ever happen to a person, worse than death; an all-encompassing, church-wide determination that a person had failed to 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘪𝘵𝘩 and had become a heretic or, 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘦, an 𝘢𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦.To experience it myself, then, many years later was shocking. It implied I had not measured up to the expectation of Christian living, and this judgment sits uncomfortably with me. I had no glaring moral issue or unrepented sin that would give cause for such action. And yet, I felt like Hester Prynne, with the letter 'A' (for 𝘢𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦, in my case) painted in bold, vivid red on my back for all to see.The seeming dismissal of the authenticity of my faith was and still is painful and difficult to understand. I wondered silently, 𝘩𝘢𝘥 I failed to 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘪𝘵𝘩?https://carrielloydshaw.com/keeping-the-faith/
Stop Promoting Gendered Hierarchy
While hierarchy, in some instances, makes sense as a means of classification, does scripture teach that such a hierarchy exists between the genders? Does a disproportionate ranking of power and importance really exist between men and women? Is this God-ordained and God-sanctioned?
Does scripture teach that men are more important, more powerful, or have more authority simply because they are men? Is this really what God designed for humanity from the beginning?
Women In Ministry (Mike Winger): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HQSlQLYQsE
Kingdom Roots Podcast (Scot McKnight): https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/kingdom-roots-with-scot-mcknight/id1078739516
Navigating Gender Bias And Addressing Abuse (Scot McKnight): https://podcasts.apple.com/no/podcast/navigating-gender-bias-addressing-abuse-questions-on/id1078739516?i=1000513514333&l=nb
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
There are things in my life that I look back on and still blush over. There are things said and unsaid in my past that still cause me regret when I recall them today. There’s definitely a sense, at times, that if only I could go back and do that thing over, things would be different.
But do you know what? Things probably wouldn’t be any different. Because that was then and this is now. I’m not the same person I was yesterday or the day before that. Life is changing me.
And perhaps I shouldn’t wish to change the past. Maybe I should be learning to make peace with it. Maybe I should be more thankful for yesterday’s mistakes, as strange as that seems, because of the valuable lessons I learned, not just about life but also about myself.
When we become Christians, we don’t stop being 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯, but we’re well on our way to becoming 𝘢 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯. Made spiritually alive in Christ, God sends His Spirit into our hearts as both a seal and promise of His commitment to renew and transform us. We continue to live in the world but we’re no longer of it in quite the same way, belonging now to Heaven’s country.
It’s often a difficult tension to navigate, the halfway space between 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 and 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦. How, in practical terms, do we ensure our primary allegiance as people who look for a city whose builder and maker is God? Yet how are we also to be salt and light, to fulfill our Christian commission, among the communities and people with whom we live and work?
How exactly are we to be in the world but not of it?