Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Church Club

As a child turned young man, I grew up in a pretty strict church environment; as I'm sure most of you have. Interestingly, the very idea of God's saving grace was often overpowered by the magnitude of the rules that folks of the church practiced over time; and which will likely be followed through perpetruity.

You know the rules: No female ministers, no earrings for men, no pants for women, no dancing, no playing cards, no walking during service, no chewing gum, etc. The list goes on and on. Oddly enough, it wasn't nearly as bad at my church as it was for many of my friends at theirs. I mean, their churches banned simple things like long hair for men (though I also remember getting attacked for growing my hair out into an afro when I was getting my hair twisted), short hair for women, perfume/cologne, tattoes, and makeup. The rules were often defended by history and tradition so I typically went along with them; though having my occasional moments of anti-tradition defiance.

I guess my ultimate hang up was not necessarily with how ridiculous most of our rules were. I was most concerned by the fact that many practices that we should have rules against somehow made it through the cracks. Never mind that: those practices didn't just slip by, they were widely and popularly accepted. Practices like racial disharmony, bigotry, intolerance, rudeness, gossip, and backbiting were all allowed to become standard practices without so much as a peep of resistence from church folks. As a black church, we only fellowshipped with other black churches. As a heterosexual members, we only fellowshipped with other heterosexuals (comfortably, at least). As a socially dignified church, we only fellowshipped with other socially dignified people (though Black folks have an uncanny ability to sell how well off they are when -- in reality -- most of us are broke as hell).

Anybody outside of our church could join if they would have the decency and the willingness to become like us. If not, well...sorry. No club membership for you. This is not to say that the "doors of the church" weren't open, you just weren't allowed to join the cliques and clubs that lied within. In the off chance that you were able to successfully infilitrate the various fraternities within the church, you were more of a statistic to be counted in the Pastor's annual report than you were a person.

When faced with these realities, it's no wonder to me so many folks have given up on the church. Exclusivity has never been an effective tool for ministering to those outside of the fold. Hell, even I often felt excluded from the club; and I was apart of it! I can only imagine how difficult it must be for 'outsiders'.

One of the important things that has somehow gotten lost over the years is that the Church that Jesus came to establish (you know; the one that was built on Peter?) was not designed to be an exclusive club. There are no VIP lounges; no need for RSVPs. Though some discomfort is to be expected of 'outsiders' (because their self-reflection has revealed how dirty and shameful they may be. In fact, we should all feel discomfort like this), such discomfort should never come because of how we respond to them. Yet, that's often the case. The end result is that outsiders are afraid to come to the church if they live a life they consider wrong. For that matter, they are afraid to come to church if they...well, just live.

Absent of God's unconditional/underseved grace and the ability to see people as just people, I fully understand our propensity to reject and/or exclude people different from ourselves. I can especially understand it if those 'different' people were somehow 'not as good' as we are (Sad that our pride makes us see things this way). But somewhere down the road, that habit needs to be broken; that unspoken rule overturned. But with many of the current faces in our midst, I'm not holding my breath.

I remember not too long ago before I left my old church, there were a couple of really attractive young ladies who had recently joined. A few of us guys at the church affectionately nicknamed one of them "Beyonce", though she bore no real resemblence to the famous pop singer. On the surface, she seemed pretty cool, nice, and genuinely interested in being a part of our church family. At the end of the day, that's all that counts, right? One Sunday, Beyonce arrived at church wearing a sort of mink boa thingy (that's my technical term), a miniskirt (which wasn't that revealing, by the way), and some knee high boots. All hell broke loose. After being rudely and inappropriately tag-teamed by a few of the older ladies at the church (one of whom was the Pastor's wife), Beyonce left and -- as far as I can tell -- never came back. I predict the other young lady will be next. Sucks for us guys (*joke*)

I suppose that on the one hand, I saw this coming. Since the day they joined, both of these young ladies had eyes of reproach burning directly into them from the members of the church; especially other women (HATERS!). So the lack of sensitivity that comes with checking people on what's "appropriate" for church (as if God ever made such distinctions) was to be expected. Sadly, I wasn't disappointed. This story (and many others like it) remind me that the church is all but sensitive to those outside of the circle.

It always amazes me to think that the Christ for whom our lives are to be patterned opened Himself to the most vile people of His day. Hookers, sick folks, criminals, and tax collectors (synonymous, perhaps?) were all drawn to Jesus; and He to them. They were dirty as they approached them, and He got dirty to reach for them. True, once they experienced Him its likely that most of them did not revert back to their former selves (though I'm not so sure about that. If people were sinless after they came to Jesus, what's the point of endless grace?). But ultimately, people didn't have to refine their resumes, throw on pinstripe suits, and file down their heels in order to gain access to Jesus and to be a part of His club.

Why, then, do we expect to them to do those things to satisfy us?

- ACL

67 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Joslyn said...

*SIGH*

Here we go again....

Andre,

Biblically speaking, women are taught to dress a certain way in church. You remembered EXACTLY what she had on that day, but I garuntee that you don't remember what the sermon was about that day. Come to think about it, you probably don't remember what YOU had on that day!

*Waits for Andre to remember*

Reason being, is that when a women dresses a certain way, it catches the attention and distracts men! Now, her skirt might not have been offensive to you, but you don't know who was "distracted" by her dress. God doesn't want anything or anyone distracting you from Him.

Read 1 Timothy 2:8-10 for further clarification.

Now, I can almost garuntee that the way that the ladies came at her was wrong. THAT is the sin. Saying something wasn't the sin....it was the way in which is was said, and, where their heart was when they said it.

On to the gay thing...

Why in da HELL would we fellowship with openly gay people????

I agree witcha on the Black/White thing, but, again, it seems like you think that God is a "anything goes" type of God.

Joanne said...

I think it's a shame that we've gotten so high on our own little pedestals that we feel like we can just do other people any old way. I bet that those women who cited this young lady's 'inappropriate dress' (or whatever "sins" they think she did) had a bunch of mess going on in THEIR lives.

And Joslyn, I think that Jesus IS an "Anything goes" type of God. If he wasn't, he would spend more of his time condemning sinners than he did ministering to them. Yes we're expected to walk in a different way once we've been accepted by Christ. But if we don't (nay, WHEN we don't) his grace covers us. It's a good thing too. I'd hate to leave my grace in the hands of most of us.

saved_sinner said...

Andre, you've presented one of the trickest and most serious issues facing the contemporary church today. Like you've I've noticed that many people in the church are not willing to handle the difficult challenge of accepting people different than us. But when the it's hard to decide what's right, there's always the life of Jesus to use as a focal point. Last I checked, He NEVER told us to selectively love certain types of people while avoiding others. I pray that the church finally gets that.

KC said...

Dre, you know that I'm with on most things. Sometimes you get a little out there, but most of the time I'm in complete agreement with what you have to say. With that, I agree with everything you said in this post. And it was another one of your great pieces. BUT (here it comes)

I feel you about the existence of a bunch of BAD CHRISTIANS in the mix who turn off people who may've come to the church (i.e. "Beyonce"). But when those wack job Christians get out of hand, it's up to people like you to work even harder to combat their ignorance and intolerance. I remember there was a lesbian woman (who didn't actually practice her homosexuality, which made her all the more interesting) who joined our church. She loved the church more than anything else in the world. She served on the evangelism committee, the choir, and on the kitchen staff. But felt compelled to tell the church about her past. Once she did, they basically told her that she couldn't serve. Heartbroken, she left the church. Here's a prime example of how the church can utterly destroy somebody because of what they consider "wrong". At that point, my family and I tried to remain close to her and help her find another church family that was more embracing of her. We finally did, and she's happy to this day. My point is, rather than allowing the condemning folks to be the face of the church, we need to have courage enough to stand up for those who are hurt and wounded. Otherwise, we're really no better than the people inflicting the injuries.

Andre said...

@ Jos: "Biblically speaking, women are taught to dress a certain way in church. You remembered EXACTLY what she had on that day, but I garuntee that you don't remember what the sermon was about that day. Come to think about it, you probably don't remember what YOU had on that day!"

For one, I don’t remember 95% of the pastor’s sermons. If I wasn’t busy texting people, I was thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner. Occasionally, I’d take notes but most of the time I was bored out of my mind. I need prayer, I know.

That notwithstanding, the passage you cited prohibits people from coming to church looking skanky. I don’t think she was skanky. She was just fine as hell. She could've been distracting to me just by wearing a pants suit. I just so happen to remember her particular outfit because people made so much of fit about it. Likewise, I remember the first time I wore a Mickey Mouse tie to church because a certain deaconess told me it wasn't appropriate either. Key events stir the memory.

Would if I told you that I can remember some of the stuff you wore? Would I be saying that you’re distracting or that I might have a good memory?

"Now, her skirt might not have been offensive to you, but you don't know who was "distracted" by her dress. God doesn't want anything or anyone distracting you from Him."

Now, you and I both know that "distractions" can come in just about any form. That then begs the question at what point does the responsibility fall on the person BEING distract as much as the one doing the distraction?

"Saying something wasn't the sin....it was the way in which is was said, and, where their heart was when they said it."

Even if her attire was a "sin" (most likely because she was attractive), the Bible compels us to tell the truth in a Spirit of love (Eph. 4:15). So, you and I agree that the delivery sucked. Still, I think they missed the mark by falsely labeling something a "sin" in the first place.

"On to the gay thing...

Why in da HELL would we fellowship with openly gay people????
"

Oh, I dunno. The whole "love thy neighbor" thing maybe? I get the whole 'being gay is an abomination' thing. I read that around the same time as I read the passage talking about executing anybody who works on the Sabbath. I get that. But as far as I can tell, this was never addressed during Jesus' ministry. Frankly, I don't think it's because He just chose to rest on the Bible's laurels regarding that topic. If that was the case, He would've also chosen not to address divorce, tithing, etc. -- things specially cited in the OT.

Jesus was praying for people while they were hanging Him on a cross, gambling His clothes away, spitting on Him, and mocking Him. And we can't have that same level of love and consideration for gays? Oh.

"I agree witcha on the Black/White thing, but, again, it seems like you think that God is a "anything goes" type of God.

Actually, I do. Otherwise, I'd be punching my ticket to Hell every time I roll out of bed.

@ Joanne: "I think it's a shame that we've gotten so high on our own little pedestals that we feel like we can just do other people any old way. I bet that those women who cited this young lady's 'inappropriate dress' (or whatever "sins" they think she did) had a bunch of mess going on in THEIR lives."

No doubt. I pointed out in the post that we tend to be most critical of the things that we DON'T do ourselves. Drugs and alcohol are bad (mmm kay), but gossip and jealousy somehow aren't. We pardon the things that WE do, but not what other people outside of our circle do. I'm just as guilty.

"And Joslyn, I think that Jesus IS an "Anything goes" type of God. If he wasn't, he would spend more of his time condemning sinners than he did ministering to them. Yes we're expected to walk in a different way once we've been accepted by Christ. But if we don't (nay, WHEN we don't) his grace covers us. It's a good thing too. I'd hate to leave my grace in the hands of most of us."

Took the words right out of my mouth. Er, head.

@ Saved: "But when the it's hard to decide what's right, there's always the life of Jesus to use as a focal point. Last I checked, He NEVER told us to selectively love certain types of people while avoiding others. I pray that the church finally gets that."

The OT provides the subtext, but the Gospel is our measurement of Christianity. So, I'm with you.

@ KC: That was an INCREDIBLE story. In a way, my heart was actually hurting for her. Thank God you were there to pick up on the church's slack.

I think the simple solution is: before we try to save the world, we should repeat in our heads that we are ALSO sinners. We may not do the same things, but NONE of us is exempt for the trap of sin. If I'm a drug addict who's still using, I can't go to an Alcholics Anonymous meeting and expect to be the moral authority just because I'm not on the bottle. So too is it with our faith. Just because we're saved by grace, doesn't mean that we're saved from ever committing sin again. Instead of just saying that I'm saved by grace, perhaps our mantra should be "I'm a sinner, saved by grace..." Maybe that'll change the way we address other people's "sins."

"My point is, rather than allowing the condemning folks to be the face of the church, we need to have courage enough to stand up for those who are hurt and wounded. Otherwise, we're really no better than the people inflicting the injuries."

Ouch. You've been hanging around Diane I see. Good point, nonetheless.

JJM said...

Sometimes I don't think people realize the simple pleasures of being able to wear pants to church when it gets colder without being labeled as a sinful Jezebel.

Thank goodness God didn't command us not to wear skirts all the time. Otherwise, I'd be screwed.

Andre said...

@ JJM: If you had my old Sunday School teacher, you would've been told that pants on a lady are "too revealing". Never mind the fact that wearing a dress/skirt would force you to twist and contort your body in 18 different ways to keep from being "revealing"...

Greeneyes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greeneyes said...

Andre MY Handssome KING ,

Sad !
I do not know if this situation is just in your area ,church , religion or what factors in here but I lived in a major cities outside of this province so my view of Church is not just of a small town girl ,I know a great deal of people of all religions and I have never heard of anyting like this .
Pardon me if I offend your Church/Faith,I mean no disrespect to your beliefs and or religion, but it seem that their heads nor hearts are with God .
I have heard of your SUNDAY best for Church but come on ,A dress code for church ? unbelievable!!! ,casting someone out for what they wear or look like or for any reason is a sin against GOD ,people go to Church to be with God and celebrate HIM, to find fellowship ,love acceptance etc , the person you refer to short skirt high boots ,who knows could have been at a crossroads in her life or looking for salvation ,in some need of help and was shunned because she dressed attractive or skanky or Whatever , tragic !

And as far as being a distraction , if a man cannot get past the appearance of a sexy woman while in church it is pretty bad , not much of a man if he can not control himself /thoughts while in GODS house .
God accepts all , bout time your Church figured that out !

I never heard of the BEST dressed Church !

8/01/2007

Andre said...

@ Greeny: "I do not know if this situation is just in your area ,church , religion or what factors in here but I lived in a major cities outside of this province so my view of Church is not just of a small town girl ,I know a great deal of people of all religions and I have never heard of anyting like this."

It's not likely that most of the practices I've seen at various churches represent all churches in the Baptist system. Different churches have different rules (make sense out of that one if you can). Some churches have a "come as you as" philosophy while others (like the ones I've been to) look down on that.

"Pardon me if I offend your Church/Faith,I mean no disrespect to your beliefs and or religion, but it seem that their heads nor hearts are with God."

No offense taken. I wasn't the one who came up with most of those ridiculous rules.

"I have heard of your SUNDAY best for Church but come on ,A dress code for church ? unbelievable!!! ,casting someone out for what they wear or look like or for any reason is a sin against GOD ,people go to Church to be with God and celebrate HIM, to find fellowship ,love acceptance etc , the person you refer to short skirt high boots ,who knows could have been at a crossroads in her life or looking for salvation ,in some need of help and was shunned because she dressed attractive or skanky or Whatever , tragic !"

To be fair, the "dress code" wasn't a mandate. It was more like an unspoken rule that -- if crossed -- the rulebreaker would get confronted and "corrected". I don't recall anybody ever getting kicked out forcibly. But people will make your life pretty miserable if you don't subscribe to their rules. I, for instance, would frequently get blasted for wearing earrings while I played the drums. My only recourse at that point would be (1) to do the opposite of what people expect (i.e. not take my earrings out), challenge them, and be labeled the "rebel", (2) obediently do what they say. Most people who would confront me did so in a way where my opposition to them would make me look like the bad guy. It's a pretty slick move they make.

"And as far as being a distraction , if a man cannot get past the appearance of a sexy woman while in church it is pretty bad , not much of a man if he can not control himself /thoughts while in GODS house."

No argument there. With me being the occasional horndog (there, I admit it!), I can get distracted by a beautiful women whether or not she looks revealing. Is she to blame for that?

"God accepts all , bout time your Church figured that out!"

Not mine anymore. I've visited a few times, but I decided to make a clean getaway.

"I never heard of the BEST dressed Church!"

Wha...?! You mean to tell me you've never seen cats wearing purple and Kool-Aid red suits with eight button jackets, matching gators, and feather Dobbs hat, and a cane? Where have you been?! :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I'm a newcomer to this forum and blog but you do seem to have some lively discussions.

I think we get to caught up with rules and regulations. Jesus said it all boils down to just two. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself.

Is it important to dress properly in church? I'd say yes. But it is all about attitude and what's in the heart. If I were an American who respected the President, I would try to dress appropriately to show respect. The important thing is that I want to dress to show respect. It shouldn't matter if I cannot afford to wear a suit cause I don't own one. In Malaysia, it would be silly to wear a suit and tie in our tropical heat. Culturally, dress codes are also different. Some parts of the middle east, women must cover everything except their eyes. To do anything else would be disrespectful. Yet we wouldn't expect someone in a Western Church to dress like that. A lot of the "rules" are actually more a reflection of the European culture around the time of the reformation or the big missionary drives of the 19th Century than anything mentioned in the bible.

With regardds to fellowshiping with gays, I like to draw a distinction using Jesus as an example. Jesus never condoned the acts of the prostitutes, tax collectors etc. He accused them of sinning. He drove the traders out of the temple because of their sin. He told the adultress to sin no more. Yet he fellowshiped with them. Contradiction? No, Jesus made the distinction of differentiating the sin and the sinner. Sin is sin and must be condemned but aren't we all sinners. So, if I have a gay friend, I would be honest and tell him that I do not believe that his/her practice is correct in the sight of God. Yet, I can still love him/her as precious because God died for all sinners.

Jesus did indeed reach out to the poor and the marginalised. After all the physician came to heal the sick. He would be of no use or relevance if the sick could not meet him. In that context, churches must hold to the truth in the bible because those are the words of life that cannot be changed but we must be in the community that needs the word or else we have no relevance. "To be in the world but not of the world."

I say this in humility because many churches and many Christians have indeed become to comfortable being within their own "holy huddle". Myself included.

Andre said...

@ Squirrel: "Jesus said it all boils down to just two. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself."

Good point.

"Is it important to dress properly in church? I'd say yes. But it is all about attitude and what's in the heart."

The point that most people seem to miss.

Even still, how do you define "dressing properly"? Is proper dress reflective of what everybody else is doing or is it based on something you feel in your heart is 'appropriate'?

"A lot of the "rules" are actually more a reflection of the European culture around the time of the reformation or the big missionary drives of the 19th Century than anything mentioned in the bible."

Further evidence that "rules" not derived from teachings of Christ should be examined thoroughly before they're used to bash people over the heads with.

"With regardds to fellowshiping with gays, I like to draw a distinction using Jesus as an example. Jesus never condoned the acts of the prostitutes, tax collectors etc. He accused them of sinning. He drove the traders out of the temple because of their sin. He told the adultress to sin no more. Yet he fellowshiped with them. Contradiction? No, Jesus made the distinction of differentiating the sin and the sinner."

One of the problems with many modern day Christians is that we somehow feel that loving, embracing, and accepting a person is the same thing as "condoning" what they do. You don't have to put your stamp of approval on a person's "sinful" lifestyle in order to open up the lines of fellowship with a person (as you stated, being "in the world, not of the world"). Especially when some of the biggest sinners in the church are the prominent folks who spend most of their time being hypocrites. They don't seem to have a hard time being accepted. Why should anybody else have difficulty?

"I say this in humility because many churches and many Christians have indeed become to comfortable being within their own "holy huddle". Myself included."

Me too; and I'm ashamed of myself for it. The difference between most folks and us, however, is that we can admit it.

Thanks for your comments.

Andre said...

By the way; here's sorta how the young lady's "inappropriate dress" looked. Just in case you're curious...

Joslyn said...

Andre, I'm sorry...

that pic is so not accurate....

Andre said...

Yeah it is.

The H.C. said...

Hey Dre,
I loved this post even though I haven't set foot in a church in years that didn't include a bride or a body. I never understood the lack of inclusion. Even the church I went to when I was a kid was exactly like you portray it. I think that's what turned me off church. I liked the way Pat Boone looked at his mission, he started making friends with heavy-metalers and tried to turn them away from worshiping satan. He did a metal album with some of the songs that he liked and was promptly rejected by all the "Christians" who he thought were his friends. His answer to them was, "Fine, these people need the word of God more than you do. What's the point of me preaching to the choir?" Exactly Pat. And point well made Andre.

JOslyn said...

Cool! You added my myspace page to one of your favorite sites!!!

:)

*realizes that this has nothing to do with topic*

*puts head down and tiptoes out*

The H.C. said...

@ Joslyn,
The new pic reminds me of some sitcom star....I just can't put my finger on who it is.

Joslyn said...

HC,

He looks like some kind of whack comedian....

p.s. Im sleeping on myspace.

:)

Perez said...

Andre-

Where to start...

People, either from church, shul, shcool, or whatever, will always, always, always flock to people like themselves. Some people will reach out and talk to other, but not as much.

I won't go to shul for the fact that I will be an outsider. I never been, and I may not ever go. Places of worship are knit close and when you have something new, it changes a lot of things. Many people don't like change.

As for "Beyonce", women are told to be modest, only your husband sees your body.

Sorry to hear about feeling excluded from the church. That is stupid what people can do. Anyways hope everything gets in order and back on track. Take care.

Andre said...

Hi Perez. Good to hear from you again.

For starters, I really need to emphasize that her dress wasn't at all revealing. It was seriously something you could very easily see in a New York and Co. catalog.

At any rate, when we are faced with people we consider "outsiders"; and they do things we consider "inappropriate", I think most of us try to stand on the side of correctness. I suppose I can't fault people for that. But in doing so, we also huddle up in our groups and cast stones at those people instead of getting together in the warm embrace of fellowship. Even if assimilation is not necessarily the goal of the 'outsider' (although you almost have to assimilate nowadays to get any real validation), our acceptance of that person will most likely cause them to blend in themselves. To use Lone Grey Squirel's example: If I were to go to the White House wearing frayed jeans and a T-shirt, I'd feel pretty out of place. Even if not a single person said anything to me, I'd feel a little odd. So the next time I visit (assuming I'd EVER wanna go back), I'd dress more to blend in.

While we sit back ready to attack somebody (allegedly out of concern, but I don't think that's usually the case), I can picture Jesus drawing lines in the dirt, stepping in, and saving the victim from our onslaught by telling us "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I suspect Jesus would see some things in "Beyonce" that we don't see. Or won't see.

Cynthia said...

Hey Dre. You REALLY brought the truth on this one. Jesus often made it a point to put the holier than thou people in their place when they wanted to "correct" the people they considered evil.

I'm SO happy that Jesus looks at the heart and not at what memberships we belong to.

GA girl said...

I remember once at my old church there was a kid (somewhere in his mid to late teens) who came in wearing denim shorts and a hockey jersey. As he entered, one of the older ushers of the church rudely told him, "That's not proper attire for this church." The kid stood there, seemingly stunned. It wasn't too long before another usher came - as if reinforcements were REALLY needed, and basically supported the other usher's stance. The kid -- obviously embarassed and hurt -- left. No one has see him since. I'll never forget the smug look on their faces as he left; as if they won some major battle for God. I never looked at them the same after that. I kept asking myself "Is this what our faith has been reduced to?"

Saved sinner said...

I've said it a thousand times and I think it still rings true today: When dealing with others in the fellowship (whether or not they're in our "club", the Bible admonishes us to tell the TRUTH in LOVE! That's all we have to go by.

Andre said...

@ Cyn: I hate to sound cliche here, but thanks for your kind words! Really.

@ GA girl: If I wanted to, I could share quite a few experiences where one person's hang ups on another person's attire caused a major breakdown in my old church. But I doubt that you'd have all day to listen to them all.

@ Saved: Thanks for the providing the Scriptural context for your contention. However, the point of this post was to point out that "truth" and "love" (oppositely to what the Bible states), are usually practiced in a way that is mutually exclusive. To put it another way, either love exists without truth or truth exists without love. For example, consider the following scenarios:

#Scenario 1: I'm not sure if you know the story, but Henry Lyons, former president of the National Baptist Convention was indicted on tax evasion, fraud, and embezzlement. On top of that, he was involved in an adulterous affair. Despite the mounting evidence and the eventual plea bargining, the church was still willing to 'cover' him by absorbing his legal fees, his bail, and by offering continuous support. He stole LARGE donations from the church for his personal exploits. Yet the church protected him in unimaginable ways. A prime example of love superceding truth.

Scenario #2: The "Beyonce" affair I mentioned in this post. A prime example of truth superceding love (or, at least what they considered truth). They weren't checking her because they loved her. They were doing it because they felt the need to be the moral authority and correct her.

I agree with you in that the Word compels us to tell the truth in love. But I've noticed far too often that in churches today, truth and love are opposites of one another; rather than compliments to each other. It's a little strange to view these good concepts as being opposites, but it happens. A lot.

Saved sinner said...

Andre,

I don't deny that the scenarios you provided show that love and truth are often dichotimous. You have the "love supercedes truth" people who will continue to blindly (but lovingly) follow the church despite its clear wrong-doing (with the Catholic sex scandals, for instance) and the "truth supercedes love" group like those who subscribe to harsh rules and legalism (the people you mentioned in this post). But I think that a proper and steady equilibrim must be established in order to satisfy the Scripture. Why would God lead Paul to write that if He didn't expect us to do it?

I'm thoroughly enjoying this post, brother.

HeiressChild said...

i haven't read all of the other comments yet, but i wanted to comment while my thoughts are flowing, so if i need to come back and add anything after i read them all, i will.

i think the inner circle/outer circle thing goes on everywhere, and has always been a part of society. that doesn't make it right though, and even in the Bible, accusers brought the woman in adultery before Jesus, who then said, "let him who is without sin cast the first stone." of course, the accusers disbanded. in the people's eyes, she was part of the outer circle, but in actuality, the people who thought they were in the inner circle weren't any better off than the adulteress was.

Jesus referred to the pharisees a lot. these were the people who had a "form" of godliness, but had no real power. they were so religious they were quick to judge others and loved to be seen. the love of God compels us to walk a certain way, which is not in judgement and condemnation of others.

what gets me is we all have a past, yet some people act like they've never done anything wrong in their life, and they're usually the ones who are judging the hardest.

i think until we get to the point where we see people and things thru the eyes of Jesus, thru a heart of unconditional love, these kinds of things will continue. God said, "with lovingkindness have i drawn you," but people miss the "loving kindness" part.

HeiressChild said...

i eventually left a church some years ago because, all of a sudden, the pastor said God wanted the whole church to wear prayer coverings or hats on their heads. she also didn't allow pants in the church. she said God wanted the people to look "uniformed" when others walked in.

i remember saying to her, it's funny how God would be so concerned with the outer appearance of people's clothes when their hearts are so full of jealousy and envy and strife ('cause it was plenty of that there).

i also asked about people who don't have dresses or skirts, who only have pants. what about them? that means they can't come to church, and there are still some churches that won't allow people in with pants on. i know we have to use wisdom in what we wear, but God is definitely more interested in a person's heart and the soul than the outward appearance.

i left shortly thereafter with my daughter, who was also being ostracized because she didn't wear stockings with her sandals. hence to say, everyone, except for 2 people who were there when i was, left the church eventually, and the church is smaller now in growth than it was back then. that pastor no longer requires head coverings, and pants can now be worn in the church (i guess God changed His mind). it't not the outward adorning, but it's the adorning of the heart.

sorry about being so long in back-to-back comments, but this subject allowed me to vent a little.

HeiressChild said...

ok, last comments.

hi LGS, it's good to see you here, and you'e made some very valid points as have the others.

love your new picture andre.

Andre said...

@ Hippie: I'm sorry, dude. I completely missed your response:

"...I haven't set foot in a church in years that didn't include a bride or a body."

I guess that rules out the action-packed nights of bingo, eh?

"I never understood the lack of inclusion."

I understand it. I just don't excuse it. People feel most comfortable with others with whom they are akin. If we went to a campus-wide function and I saw Dr. So and So who I don't know and I saw you, I'd go over to you. Familiarity and comfort explain exclusion. But -- again -- it doesn't excuse it.

"I liked the way Pat Boone looked at his mission, he started making friends with heavy-metalers and tried to turn them away from worshiping satan. He did a metal album with some of the songs that he liked and was promptly rejected by all the "Christians" who he thought were his friends."

Many black churches possess that same antipathy for things like Christian Rap. The way they look down on it is elitist at its core.

"His answer to them was, "Fine, these people need the word of God more than you do. What's the point of me preaching to the choir?"

Interestingly, I think it's the haters who need God just as much as. But I've already described why. There's no need to go into detail again.

Sorry I missed your comments.

Andre said...

@ Saved: "But I think that a proper and steady equilibrim must be established in order to satisfy the Scripture. Why would God lead Paul to write that if He didn't expect us to do it?"

I think that Jesus established the perfect model for finding an equilibrium of truth and love after He handed the bloodthirsty mob their own asses. He asks her candidly, "Where are the haters? Did anybody judge you?" (my paraphrase). She look around and saw a bunch of idle stones of judgement, but no judges around to throw them. Jesus then assured her that He wasn't there to condemn her either. "Go and sin no more" is what he DID tell her. So He called her on her sin without being condemning in the process. More than likely, she didn't see her exchange with Jesus as condemnation either. We can learn a lot from Him.

Joslyn said...

Sorry,

Another correction:

Fact: Lyons didn't steal from the Church.

What happened was he promised companies that he would give out church members info in the form of a mailing list, and in return he received large amounts of money. Unfortunately, he never came through on those promises, and the companies went bankrupt and closed down. (I believe that it was two different companies) His promise was an illegal agreement, and, he didn't even follow through on it but accepted money from it.

The reason why he was caught is because once his wife found out about his affair and the other house that he owned with his "girlfriend", she burned it down. This lead to an investigation of why he was able to afford so much, hence his eventual demise.

His Church suffered, but not financially.

Here's my question: Are you ranting because they checked her, or because of the WAY that they checked her? Like I said before and I STAND on it, SHE WAS DRESSED PROVACATIVELY. It is the job of the mother's/deaconesses of the church (by definition) to help those women to "womanhood", if you will. One of the purposes of coming to church is to change...for the better. It would've been a sin to not say anything at all. However, it is still a sin for the manner in which they approached her. The Bible speaks candidly in the Old and New Testament about women dressing modestly. This is not to say the EXACT dress that women should wear (i.e. pants), but just modestly.

This is not a knock on anyone, but I seriously don't understand how someone can say that our God is an "anything goes" type of God. Have you read Exodus and Leviticus??? Did you read about all the types of restrictions that God placed on his people at that time? Although the purposes for that time no longer exsist, it goes to show you that God has exact reasons for ALL of his mandates, whether we choose to believe them or not.

Remember Andre, like I told you: Are you rejecting God or the package that He's being delivered in?

We can't throw out the baby and the bath water. Those rules have purposes; we just have to be aware of the way that they're carried out.

Megan said...

I guess I just interpreted from the Scripture that TRUTH = LOVE. You can't have one without the other. If there is an absence of one, the other is likely not there either. At least not the Godly type.

Andre said...

@ Heiress: Wow! Lots to take in. Thanks for being so spirited in this discussion.

E.G. Long "back to back" posts do not = a bad thing.

I'm sorry that you had to experience the worst side of our practice. It's a shame how people in the church operate off rules that are (1) man made and (2) have absolutely ZERO Biblical inspiration. The end result usually comes in the form of people mindlessly subscribing to some dumb traditions without Godly intentions (though the Bible explicitly warns us about doing things from the head and not from the heart).

It's interesting to hear that your former pastor was a woman. If the rules of most churches were in effect, she wouldn't be able to pastor a church. Interesting...

@ Megan: From a philosophical standpoint, you can definitely make the argument that truth = love. But from a practical standpoint, I've seen the two act alone far too many times.

The H.C. said...

Hey Dre,
Sure, sure. I make one friend on your blog and now you won't answer my comments. (Jk) Have a good weekend.
P.S. Venison won't be coming in until Oct.1. I'll put you on the list.

Andre said...

@ Joslyn: (1) Lyons didn't steal directly from his church. He used his church's name/status to legitimize corporate-sponored operations that he and his aides used to purchase a bunch of sh*t.
Source

Funds that were to be allocated to churches in need (burned churches particularly) were instead used to go in his pockets. Embezzlement, fraud, ID manipulation can all be neatly packaged into THEFT.

Then, as you said, once the girlfriend thing surfaced, it all went downhill.

(2) "Beyonce" wasn't dressed provactively. As you seemed to note, I have a good memory of what she wore that day; more so than what the sermon was about, what I wore, etc.

"It is the job of the mother's/deaconesses of the church (by definition) to help those women to "womanhood", if you will."

I wonder if "womanhood" extends to controlling one's own impulses to judge people that they THINK are wrong, without using Biblical references.

"The Bible speaks candidly in the Old and New Testament about women dressing modestly."

Are pants suits "modest" enough? Why, then, are they prohibited?

"Have you read Exodus and Leviticus??? Did you read about all the types of restrictions that God placed on his people at that time? Although the purposes for that time no longer exsist, it goes to show you that God has exact reasons for ALL of his mandates, whether we choose to believe them or not."

If you choose to apply one or two rules from Exodus/Leviticus/the rest of the OT, you have to also accept them all. I won't even go into detail about those. I already did.

By the way, you should check out some of the responses from a "JD" in that post. You might find her comments pretty interesting...

Joanne said...

Sometimes it's frightening to think of how parallel churches/church folks are to the Pharisees that Jesus often rebuked. I wish I could say that the Henry Lyons incident was an isolated event. But this type of hypocrisy is found all over the place. On top of that, the church entrusts these people to establish "rules" that persecute without uplifting. God can't be pleased.

Natasha said...

You know, while we're on rules, where's the rule that disallows Pastors to pimp out their congregations or embezzle a bunch of money? Or is that one not covered in the handbook along with the "no pants" rule? LOL!

Joslyn said...

*Knocks on screen*

Andre, listen up.

Here are the points that I'm making:

1. The women who checked "beyonce" were wrong

2. The women were wrong for the WAY that they addressed her


3. In my first and second post, I said that the Bible speaks about women dressing modestly.

4. In my second post, I said,

"This is not to say the EXACT dress that women should wear (i.e. pants), but just modestly."

5. #4 is translated to say, "I don't agree that we should place limitations on the EXACT dress of a woman (or man, for that matter) but I do agree that we should all be dressed modestly. Pants can be modest.

6. I used the Exodus and Leviticus illistrations to show that God is an EXACT God. I wasn't saying that we should still be abiding by these rules. I simply showing the "personality" of God.

7. In my second post, I mentioned that these rules don't apply for today. Quote:

"Although the purposes for that time no longer exsist, it goes to show you that God has exact reasons for ALL of his mandates, whether we choose to believe them or not."

8. That is pretty much what I said in the link that you attached.

Andre said...

@ Joanne: "...the church entrusts these people to establish "rules" that persecute without uplifting. God can't be pleased."

Rules of church conduct left in the hands of old, socially stagnant folks and money grabbers. Scary.

@ Natasha: What's up you? Been a while.

I won't answer your question. It should be abundantly clear by now where I stand.

@ Jos: OK. Let me see if I address your points again:

"1. The women who checked "beyonce" were wrong"

No argument there.

"2. The women were wrong for the WAY that they addressed her"

No argument there either.

"3. In my first and second post, I said that the Bible speaks about women dressing modestly."

No argument there either. The only thing we disagree on is how to define "modest". You say she was provocative. I say she wasn't.

"4. In my second post, I said,

'This is not to say the EXACT dress that women should wear (i.e. pants), but just modestly.'
"

See previous response.

"5. #4 is translated to say, "I don't agree that we should place limitations on the EXACT dress of a woman (or man, for that matter) but I do agree that we should all be dressed modestly. Pants can be modest."

Again, see previous response.

"6. I used the Exodus and Leviticus illistrations to show that God is an EXACT God. I wasn't saying that we should still be abiding by these rules. I simply showing the "personality" of God."

The way I interpreted this was in response to the "why should we fellowship with gays" remark you made. I agree that God has EXACT mandates for EXACT time periods; which include EXACT OT rules and dates that are not necessarily applicable to the EXACT dates of today.

Also, it should be noted that based on the responses from others the "Anything Goes" reference implies that 'anything goes' with the sins we commit. God is still able and willing to forgive and accept us in spite of our wrong. If God accepts us, why don't "His people" do so as well?

7. In my second post, I mentioned that these rules don't apply for today. Quote:

"Although the purposes for that time no longer exsist, it goes to show you that God has exact reasons for ALL of his mandates, whether we choose to believe them or not."


If the rules of which you speak are only used as a framework for understanding God's "personality" and are not a measurement of our Christianity, they don't need to be practiced in modern churches. If they are to be practiced, I guess I'll need to paint some lamb's blood on my doorpost.

"8. That is pretty much what I said in the link that you attached."

Right on.

HeiressChild said...

there's a scripture that talks about the "high places" coming down. that's why a lot of things are happening in and out of the church today because the "high places" are coming down. that can be people in "high positions" who are mis-using their position, power, and status to embezzle, manipulate, etc. and it also means the "high places" in our lives/minds such as pride, greed, jealously, strife, etc.

i do agree that we're supposed to dress moderately, but one person's moderation is another person's sleaze. so who decides? one of the Holy Spirit's function is to lead and guide each of us, yet people are trying to control people. i definitely understand about dress codes; however, in the church, we have to be real careful.

what about the prostitute who comes in straight off of the street ready to make a change in her life? or what about the person who lives in the street, and comes in straight from the street, smelling, yet wants to make a change in his/her life? do we not allow them into church because of what they're wearing?

of course, i wasn't there when that young lady came in dressed however she was, but maybe God wanted to do something in her life that day like an inner healing, which would have changed the way she was dressed.

even though the older women teach the younger women, we still have to use wisdom and be led by God's Spirit when to speak, what to speak, and how to speak. sometimes when we think we have to speak, we can pray and let God do the convicting. the Holy Spirit does convict, not condemn. God is most concerned about souls, and when we offend others, we offend Him.

i agree with joanne, that God can't be pleased with things that are going on, but that's why He said He will separate the wheat from the tares. they grow together, but God will do the separating. we just have to make every effort to do what we know is right. that includes stepping up and speaking up for the hurt and wounded as kc mentioned.

on another note, my former female pastor wasn't accepted by everyone because she was female. i think it's accepted more these days, even in the denominational churches, though there are still some places where women preachers/pastors just aren't accepted. and that's a whole other blog topic, huh andre?

Anonymous said...

This may not be ENTIRELY related to this post, but it can be to some extent:

In our Christian walk, most of what we do ("good" or not) is self-serving of our own interests and beliefs. So while our efforts (the women at your church, you, me, the people on your blog) are done with the best of intentions, solutions are usually not made. The ladies at your church may have got their angst against this young lady off their chest, but that's probably all. Even here on your site, it's all about "being right", tearing down people's arguments, questioning intentions and motives, and finding inconsistent statements to attack; all the while not accepting that NO ONE is perfect. Don't get me wrong: I absolutely love what I read on here. It's informative, challenging, concise, and well written. It's just seems that you all are focusing too much energy on the wrong things.

I believe that those who are most effective at doing God's work are those who love Him and operate silently. Those people live by God's greatest "rules" (Loving God and Loving your neighbor), but do so without tryin to look too much into everything else. They silently do God's work and act as agents to the world. They don't persecute others but they don't obsesively cry out against others who do it. They just do their part to secure God's Kingdom on earth. If we all had that same idealogy, there would be no such thing as a "Church Club" or people like who criticize it.

That's my opinion.

Greeneyes said...

ANdre~ My Handsome Beautifully green eyed KING ,

This is totally off your topic ......
You have a Birthday coming up in a few weeks ,are you doing anything special for the big day???Or Just Hanging around the ol'prison !!!(INSIDE JOKE HEHE,,,*wink*)
Hope you take time to do something special,,have a great weekend,God Bless .

HUGS

GREENEYES

HeiressChild said...

hey greeneyes, andre's birthday is the 25th and mine is the 24th. maybe we'll get together and do something. how about that andre? then you won't have to feel like you did in the post you referenced from last year about eating alone, etc.. (ok, just joking!)

Andre said...

@ Heiress (part 1):

"there's a scripture that talks about the "high places" coming down. that's why a lot of things are happening in and out of the church today because the "high places" are coming down. that can be people in "high positions" who are mis-using their position, power, and status to embezzle, manipulate, etc. and it also means the "high places" in our lives/minds such as pride, greed, jealously, strife, etc."

Wolves are always here among us; many of whom are dressed like sheep. Most are predatory, but some of them don't even know that they're wolves. I think Jesus made it a special point to protect us from them. In time, they'll have to give an account for their deeds. Still, that doesn't necessarily mean we just sit back and allow them to run amok.

"i do agree that we're supposed to dress moderately, but one person's moderation is another person's sleaze. so who decides? one of the Holy Spirit's function is to lead and guide each of us, yet people are trying to control people. i definitely understand about dress codes; however, in the church, we have to be real careful."

My point exactly. We should rely on the Word and the Holy Spirit to aid us in making important decisions of the church. While I've NEVER considered dress one of those decisions, caution should still be exercised with a decision like that (instead of just relying on tradition); especially when people accepting or rejecting the church may depend on it.

"of course, i wasn't there when that young lady came in dressed however she was, but maybe God wanted to do something in her life that day like an inner healing, which would have changed the way she was dressed."

I'll always maintain that she looked perfectly OK. But even if she didn't, we can easily allow the Spirit to guide her. If nothing else, she would assimilate on her own if it meant not sticking out too much.

"even though the older women teach the younger women, we still have to use wisdom and be led by God's Spirit when to speak, what to speak, and how to speak. sometimes when we think we have to speak, we can pray and let God do the convicting. the Holy Spirit does convict, not condemn. God is most concerned about souls, and when we offend others, we offend Him."

A couple of things wrong with this (not your comment, but the truth behind the practice): (1) "older" people in the church are relied on too much to be the voice of "wisdom" when they don't necessarily warrant it. I've never believed that age alone automatically earns my respect. Actions have to accompany that. If their actions are spawn from some old, outdated traditions and not from the Word, I tend to discount what they have to say.

(2) Besides that, many of the issues we face are things older folks don't know ANYTHING about. Making them the foremost authority on issues for which they only have their age to boast doesn't bode well with me.

Essentially, if I was a woman, I would rely on the mothers/deaconesses of the church to keep me grounded in the Word. Any other things not directly related to the Word (among those, the way I dress) I'd consider other sources.

"i agree with joanne, that God can't be pleased with things that are going on, but that's why He said He will separate the wheat from the tares. they grow together, but God will do the separating. we just have to make every effort to do what we know is right. that includes stepping up and speaking up for the hurt and wounded as kc mentioned."

Good point. Jesus is not going to physically jump in and save the marginalized folks of today. That's been assigned to us, right?

Andre said...

@ Anonymous: I truly appreciate your comments and your observations. I hope that you don't feel insecure about identifying yourself. There's no persecution here. But if you decide that anonymity is best for you, I allow that as well. To address your points:

"In our Christian walk, most of what we do ("good" or not) is self-serving of our own interests and beliefs. So while our efforts (the women at your church, you, me, the people on your blog) are done with the best of intentions, solutions are usually not made."

I don't know if I completely agree with that. If nothing more comes out this than dialogue, I consider it worthwhile. That's one of the problems with the ways of the church (small "c"). Everything is black and white; with nothing in between. Even if I can't convince a person to my ideas (or vice versa) at least the exchange is possible. At the church (my old one especially), they would normally operate under the "my way or the highway" adage.

"Even here on your site, it's all about "being right", tearing down people's arguments, questioning intentions and motives, and finding inconsistent statements to attack; all the while not accepting that NO ONE is perfect."

I don't argue with that. You're right. But again, I try to provide a forum where that's possible. If I'm wrong about something or if I misspeak about something, I don't mind getting checked on it (my blogmate The Hippie Conservative is king of finding flaws in my arguments. I thank God for him).

"Don't get me wrong: I absolutely love what I read on here. It's informative, challenging, concise, and well written. It's just seems that you all are focusing too much energy on the wrong things."

I don't consider writing exhaustive commentary on the state of the church as a focus on the "wrong things." If you do, that's fine. That's you.

"I believe that those who are most effective at doing God's work are those who love Him and operate silently."

If by "silently" you mean being the opposite of loud and flashy Pharisees who wanted to be seen, I agree. But this site is not about how smart I am or how smart the other bloggers are. It's about sharing ideas and thoughts.

"They don't persecute others but they don't obsesively cry out against others who do it."

I disagree with this too. Well, not really. If you follow the iconic story of Jesus and adultress (which has been used over and over again in the comment section), Jesus didn't "obsessively" attack the mob. But He also didn't play the role of the pacifist. Neither should we. If wrong is being done to somebody (in the name of religion, no less), we need to stand up for them.

"They just do their part to secure God's Kingdom on earth."

Which includes protecting "the least of these". Not just the economically and socially deprived folks, but also the spiritually bankrupt people. Sometimes we church folks have to save these individuals from...well...ourselves.

Thanks for your input. It's appreciated. Come back soon!

Andre said...

@ Greeny: I've got nothing planned for my B-day. It's always been funny to me how we feel some sense of entitlement just because it's our birthday (i.e. saying "I can't believe I have to work on my birthday...")

Oh, dang. I didn't see you in here Sylvia...

@ Heirress: Careful. Don't invite me out, unless you're willing to deal with me. 'Cuz I'll take you up on your offer in a nanosecond.

that being said, where are you taking me?

HeiressChild said...

what? you work on your birthday? lol well you know from my blog how elated i am about MY BIRTHDAY month. i'm like a kid having a birthday party. and that being said.... lol you know, if i lived near you, or could fly out there, i would so we could celebrate our birthdays together. last year i was in california, but this year, it looks like home. however, i know somebody's coming to take me someplace. lol

Joslyn said...

Well said, anonymous. (at least, I thought so)

P.S. 49 responses! Is this some sort of record???

Joanne said...

Anonymous,

From my experience on this site (and a few like it), I can say that if you're expecting everyone to hold hands, sing songs and be comfortable you've picked the wrong place! I agree that there is often a lot of bickering, but it's all based in truth and in love.

*Andre, if you get the big head for what I'm about to say, you'll be sorry*

The variety in discussion is what makes this site one of my favorites. I don't always agree with everything on this blog, but I CAN say that there isn't a day where I don't feel challenged to reexamine the way I see things. This spirit is especially important when you examine your spirituality. The church has a standard to keep (whether we want it or not) and every now and then we have to expose and get exposed in order to grow.

Anonymous said...

we need to plan a B day blog party for andre and heiress

GA girl said...

One of the thhings we fail to do as Christians is to examine every aspect of a person and not just our initial impressions of them. I'm just as guilty as the next person for using my first impression as a motivator for how I respond to people. BUt it wasn't until I got older and grew in Christ that i was able to shed that. From my experience, there have been people who thought I didn't like but after getting to know them, they wound up being great people. On the other side of the coin, there have been people I was immediately impressed by based on their initial appearance who wound up being jerks. To this day, I feel horrible about some of the relationships I destroyed based on personal judgements I made about others. Even more, I hate how I may have intefered with God's plan for that person becuse of my pettiness. I only pray that more people have that same revelation.

Joanne said...

Ga girl,

First of all, I can truly appreciate your honesty. Most people will NEVER make such a confession to themselves or to others. A lot of people can learn from you.

Secondly, the most important thing to remember here is that Jesus only gave us authority to judge what other people do in lue of the Word; not based off of our personal traditions, habits, and idiosyncratic lifestyles. God Himself is the only one who can see the heart and know the intentions behind what we do. We do damage to ourselves, our church, and to 'outsiders' when we take it upon ourselves to play God by trying to judge a person on the inside.

Now, I'm going to bed!

GA girl said...

A birthday party sounds good to me. I'm always trying to find an excuse to party! LOL! :P

GA girl said...

Joanne,

Thank you for your words of encouragement. There's nothing more difficult than putting yourself on trial for your wrong doings. That's probably why so many church people refuse to do it and instead turn their attention to other people (ie how they dress).

Your correct. Through prayer and being honest to yourself ABOUT YOURSELF is when we can judge our lives. It is only at that point can we judge others (and only their actions not their heart).

HeiressChild said...

i like this site too, not just because of the topics, but also because of the varied comments from which i learn.

the Bible says judgement begins at the house of God. sometimes we take this literally to mean within the church building as a whole, but it also means each individual on a personal level. i like what you said ga girl about judging ourselves thru prayer and honesty.

a birthday blog party sounds good to me too.

Anonymous said...

I figured that my opinions wouldn't be too popular. At least I tried, I guess.

Joanne said...

I don't think the issue is that your opinion isn't "popular". It's just fundamentally off. For one, I don't see this as people picking each other apart and not doing anything. I see it as an exchange of idea. I know that when I deal with people who have opposing viewpoints, I want to present my views so I can see how well their views can stand up. And vice versa with me.

As it relates to our "silence", Jesus told us to be 'silent' when we pray in our closet. God will then reward us openly. No where can I find that when it comes to evangelism and protecting those who are wounded Jesus told us to be silent. If anything, its in dealing with the sick and wounded that we should be most active. If people wound others openly, it's our job to heal them openly.

I say all of this in love, my friend.

Joslyn said...

"I believe that those who are most effective at doing God's work are those who love Him and operate silently. Those people live by God's greatest "rules" (Loving God and Loving your neighbor), but do so without tryin to look too much into everything else."

Anonymous, I totaly agree with you on this statement. Throughout the Bible, there are lots of examples of how Jesus pointed out these types of people (I.E., the woman at the well vs. the people who felt she didn't give enough)

I think I understand what you were getting at, and it's mos def food for thought.

GA girl said...

Anonymous and Joslyn,

I hope you don't see this as people ganging up on you, because you both make a pretty compelling points. But as Joanne mentioned, I think you missed the mark a little (not much, but a little).

For one, you're absolutely correct in saying that following the great commandments with anonymity and silence are good. BUt you also have to recognize that taking that approach depnds on what type of "God's work" your doing. With the woman at the well and the woman with the copper coins, they were nameless people who did great things for God's work. They set the bar for the meekness that we need to have in service to God. But, flip that. When Jesus cleansed the temple of the people who were desicrating (sp?) the temple, he pulled out a whip and went buck wild on them. He wasn't diplomatic, he wasn't polite. He just beat the holy mess the out them. So with our individual service to God, humility and meekness are requried. But when it comes to Christians doing bad things to other Christians (or would be Christians), we have a standard. If we dont' meet that standard we need to get called for it.

Joslyn said...

Ga Girl and everyone else:

Honestly, it is very frustrating being misunderstood. If you read any of my prior posts on this particular topic, I emphasized that the ladies of the church were SUPPOSED to say something, but they should've been different in thier approach.

However, just as those ladies probably didn't haave the right motive in mind, anonymous was right in saying that here on this blog, we might not either. Are we simply arguing just to see who's right, or are we truly trying to make a change?

Were those ladies just saying something to that girl because they thought that they were right and wanted to make her feel bad, or were they saying it because they truly wanted to help the girl? I can almost garuntee that the former answer is correct.

Please note, as anonymous, and so many others are saying, that even if you're right"echnically", that God judges the heart. So if i'm saying something just to prove that I'm right, then heart isn't in the wrong place and I'm STILL sinning.

That's the point that I was trying to make, and I think that's what anonymous was trying to say also.

Joslyn said...

*Correction*

If I'm saying something just to prove that I'm right, then my heart is in the wrong place and I'm STILL sinning.

However, if those ladies truly were trying to help the girl and their heart was in the right place, they would've used a different method and it would'nt have been a sin.

Again

SAYING SOMETHING ISN'T THE SIN

When you say something with the wrong motives and techniques, it IS a sin.

Andre said...

OK, OK. Break it up folks.

I haven't really had a chance to stop by much lately. A lot of stuff going down with work and the family that's kept me a little distracted. But allow me to toss in my two cents:

I don't think the viewpoints between Coalition A (Anonymous and Jos) and Coalition B (uh...everybody else) are opposites. Rather, I think they're actually extensions of one another. We're not supposed to be loud and boisterous with our status and our good deeds. But that's not to say that we shouldn't spank people when they step out of line either. BUT, before any "spanking" can take place, we have to check ourselves first. Let me see if I can put all of this together and somehow relate it all to this post. Somwhere down the road, the topic deviated a bit.

When it comes to the "Church Club" behavior:

(1) The practice of exclusivity HAS TO STOP.

(2) Things that we use to exclude and attack others (i.e. man-made rules about "appropriateness" in the church) have to be stopped or, at the very least, checked. True, Christians are held to a higher standand. Certain mean, rude, and oppressive behaviors might be expected of folks in the world, but they CAN NOT exist in the church.

(3) When people get out of line, attack people in the name of non-Biblical sh*t, and destroy our ministry from within because of their pettiness, they need to get called out about it. i.e. this is where the 'spanking' takes place.

(4) When we TRULY act in the Spirit (i.e. by protecting the people who are assaulted by 'church folks' or confronting fellow Christians who act up) it needs to be done silently and without arrogantly sticking our chests out.

So, again, all of your points fit together perfectly. It's really about seeing the "Big Picture" and how each of your smaller points fits into that diagram.

GA girl said...

"Andre said...

So, again, all of your points fit together perfectly. It's really about seeing the "Big Picture" and how each of your smaller points fits into that diagram."

I can accept that. In fact, I think I always did. I just got confused with the being "silent" line. It would be too hard for me to sit back silently if I were watching some people attack an innocent person when they should be extending their arms out to them. As it's been said here and as I believe, Christians have a higher standand when it comes to reaching out to the world. One of the reasons why atheism is so rampant today is because of Christians who profess to love God, but then treat people different from them like garbage.

Andre said...

@ GA girl: "Christians have a higher standand when it comes to reaching out to the world."

No doubt. If you're anything like me, seeing a cop break a traffic law is more offensive than watching a regular civilian do it. There is an expectation that if nobody else obeys traffic laws, they will. The same standards apply to Christians. Is it fair? Not really. But that's how it is. That's how it's seen by the world. So we have to do whatever possible to challenge the Christian community to shape up and lose the unnecessary and petty judgement of others if we are to effectively communicate the important message of the Gospel.

Our daily walk should create more interest in the Word, not validate people's cynacism.

Anonymous said...

shaking head

Andre said...

Care to clarify; or should I interpret "shaking head" as you saying, "You know. That Andre sure is on point"?