Monday, September 2, 2013

The memories of a woman.

If you're going to read blogs about the church you find a few basic themes.  You have the nice folks who say nice things about Jesus and the bible and what they're learning lately.  You have the political types who want to talk about who is doing something Christian or anti-Christian.  You have the dooms-dayers who want to talk about the next up and coming anti-Christ.  You have the social justice folks who have a new cause or a new tidbit of info on how we're furthering injustice.  And then you have the peculiar strand of people who don't go to church, don’t like to call themselves Christian, and disagree with 87% of everything anyone says about God, but still have blogs on Christian websites like Patheos and Christianity Today.

More and more I'm finding these self-proclaimed emergents are rather odd facet of Christian writing.  Firstly because I can't see what their motive in writing is to begin with.  

Let’s say you hate knitting.  You hate the cattiness of all the knitting clubs you used to be a part of.  You think that the sweaters your parents made you wear were constricting.  You think wool is out of fashion and irrelevant.  You think that the process of knitting is tedious and the anger and frustration of not knitting well enough is unhealthy for your emotional state.  Now imagine you then decide to create a blog centered around critiquing knitting patterns.

In the same way I'd like to ask, what's it to you? As someone in the knitting club, wouldn't it be a little justified to get a few feathers rumpled about an entire online community devoted to thinking about what a terrible group of people the knitters are?

Then realize for a moment that the church discussing community is not in some sort of Oceans 13 where these anti-knitters will sneak into the cassino-knitting-club-church and get the "bad guys."  Because the Bad Guys don't exist, your misinformed aunt, abused pastor, and financially struggling family, are not the conniving crooks of emergent fetish.

 I'm personally becoming so fed up with what I read about the church.  In the end there is no such thing as ivory tower sharp shooters.  No one relevant to the discussion is reading a scathing blog post and thinking "oh wow, that's so true, I am a terrible person."  I don’t want to write to people who agree and yet draw their personal experiences of when they visited a church 15 years ago.  I get the pain I get the frustration, but I refuse to make a straw-man of my past experiences.  As C.S. Lewis reminisced about the passing of his wife and what "still having her memory" meant, "A corpse, a memory, and (in some versions) a ghost. All mockeries or horrors. Three more ways of spelling the word dead. It was H. I loved. As if I wanted to fall in love with my memory of her, an image in my own mind! It would be a sort of incest."

In a sense it is the same with the church.  Those who have loved and those who love still the memory does only a small service.  It is not the church now or even the church then as nostalgia has had its way in all of our minds.  The church is not a building or a specific denomination, though it is both experientially.  I'm not against experiential wisdom, only the complete disconnect to what is and what was and the assumed right to criticize after divorce.  In a word, your ex-wife doesn't care if you think she looks good or not when you meet her on the street.  She is all a combination of your past memories, your past fights, your present distance, and your new standards of womanhood--as she exists in a grid of your understanding, as everyone in our lives does--but she is not your wife.  And the divide, be in in humiliation, heartbreak, or freedom, must be observed as a concrete fact within the relationship.

1 comment:

  1. Mmm, yes. Reminds me of what I read in "From Eternity to Here" yesterday: The church is the habitation of God in the Spirit. This lifts the church out of "the mutual admiration society" up to the level of being the very body of Christ. The church has never been nor will it ever be a human institution.