I got an email yesterday wanting me to get members of my church to go a protest an anti-Christian play. A week ago, I got an email wanting me to participate in a “tea party”.
Dallas Willard in his book, Knowing Christ Today, writes: the political does not require knowledge but advocacy. With the political, the only issue is how to win for your side.
We have been driven by the political for too long. The Christian right and left have been competing politically for decades and the result has been a church divided and weak. It is no wonder we have the example of Hosea in our Scripture. We have become spiritual airheads who are like unfaithful spouses. Our arrogance and ignorance has lead to a loss of knowledge of who we are and what we should really know.
I totally agree that if Christians sit back and do nothing, then evil will prevail (in stealing relationships from God and from us). However, if we fight the world’s way, we still lose.
In the past, we needed a central locus to be more effective in our great commission endeavors. We created a centralize tool, the convention, to link our schools, our missionaries, our educational & social ministries together. This was done in a time before high speed copiers, computers, the internet and other technological advances that now can allow a small church to do everything the convention used to do. We needed the convention to link us together for ideas, fellowship and support (both material and identity). Those days are gone.
Keith Parks hit on a great idea when he went to the CBF. He help the fledgling convention (and yes, the CBF is a convention- so noted by BWA) to do incredible things. Dr. Parks showed us that we do not need a huge bureaucracy to support and link mission activities. Sadly, to many of the people who created CBF were individual’s who were accustomed to the “perks” of the bureaucracy and wanted to try and regain the material benefits and perceived social power they had lost.
Here is the problem. The bureaucracy created a creature prone to political manipulation. Activities became no longer based on Christian knowledge, but upon political advocacy. Once we headed down this road, the only issue became how to win for your side. We have now experienced the result of this thinking, decline, decline, decline. We are giving the devil the rope he needs to hang us.
It is time for something new. It is time to remove the “jobs” program from our denominational life, remove the extravagance, and reward humility and service not egos and religious royalty. Take away the carrot and the donkeys will leave.
Rick Davis has called for a ministerial guild. I think he has hit on a good idea. A guild would help us to be reminded that we have essential knowledge and that this knowledge gives us skills and abilities the world does not have. Such a guild would allow us to maintain our independence as local congregations, but it would also provide a sense of connectedness and support while providing a standard for leadership that is based on our knowledge rather than the political force that now control our strings.
We need change. We need to regain our place as the source for the only true knowledge that gives humanity hope. I hope there are enough of us awakened to our peril that discussion and implementation of such a change can take place.