Caveat lector: Despite my deep-and-wide-spreading neo-protestant roots, I don’t want to be a tree made of hard wood that never sways with the refreshing breezes of God’s Spirit.
I do intentionally strike a posture of challenge toward any nominally Christian element that seems not to emanate from scripture. Plus, I’m relatively comfortable with speaking sincerely, earnestly, even prophetically (although NOT miraculously so! – I claim no special revelation, only attentiveness to the witness of God’s inspired spokesmen of old) for God and for pure Christianity.
The M.O. of quasi-prophetic, interrogatory speech necessarily counters long-practiced norms, and a good many beliefs tenaciously held by the masses. [To friends and acquaintances who tolerate and/or love me anyway most of the time: is this introductory elaboration helping to illuminate?] I make no apology for speaking against cults, various human hierarchies, and merely tradition-based denominational tenets, but if I ever seem to be battling the individual’s sincere, independent pursuit of Almighty God and His kingdom, I stand ready to be corrected.
Several months ago, I was led to think anew about the tone of some of my blogposts—thus the verbal groundwork laid above. I had actually started this piece before the beginning of 2012 but was unsure about it. I’m still unsure about the thrust of a few items. Although some question remains about certain extents, my reluctance stems more from insecurity over the reception of what I’ll be saying.
We’re now almost finished with 2012. Although originally planned for 1/1/12, this post is now scheduled to be broadcast at 12:12 on 12/12/12. Nice number, huh? The ramifications of some of the items below are surely broad, and I don’t present them, deluded, as “gospel.” I’m fully aware of the audacity of some of them. In order to frame them clearly as humanly fallible, I’ll now present these items in half-twelve lists of six, the “number of man.”
I would like to present these somewhat incendiary thoughts with a special invitation for feedback. Responses I receive may be used in, or as, follow-up posts, so if you write privately, please confirm whether you want to remain anonymous if quoted. Perhaps we can have some valuable discussions—whether openly on the blog or on the backchannels.
Here, then, are the first six things I would do in, to, and for the earthly, western church of the 21st century, if I had the ability.
If I could, I would
- instantiate exegetical Bible study methods into every Christian church
- morph sermons, with their “points” and jokes and poems, into studies with scriptural exegesis at their core
- abolish the “pastor/minister” role altogether — this role (not to mention its attendant hierarchies) is an unknown entity in New Testament writings, and although many of these individuals clearly do good in our day, the harm inherent in the position and its ramifications is not insignificant; perpetuation of the institution is contra-indicated, although many of the persons currently in such positions could serve well in other roles
- inculcate the principle of the Bible as “the only rule for faith and practice” — and this would necessitate a) ridding ourselves of superimposed creeds and “faith statements,” and b) abandoning residual loyalties to articulate, more or less charismatic non-specially-inspired personages, whether past or present
- eradicate all traces of denominational pride and loyalty (if not all evidence of denominations, period)
- sell most of the church buildings in the country, leaving only the ones used several days a week for Kingdom business and neighborhood service
To be continued . . . my next post will list the remaining six items. . . .