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When the Church is Silent

27 February, 2003 10:59 PM

I have been thinking a lot today about the topics that we as church choose talk about and what we seem to avoid.

It strikes me that the church at times talks a lot about issues of personal morality. Sexuality for instance is an issue that most Churches have no problem in preaching about, confronting individuals (and the world) on and defining what is right and wrong in.

However there seem to be a number of other issues that often get left out. Consumerism, Individualism, Elitism and Materialism (to name a few) are issues that in my reading of the gospel that Jesus had things to say about. They are also things that permeate our culture in the West yet which we tend to sweep under the carpet.

Just last week I heard of a church attendee who was asked not to come back to their church of 9 years because their struggle with their homosexuality had become public. The leadership of this church was quick to act on this issue - in their eyes it was a clear cut call and they felt compelled to confront. I've heard similar such tales on numerous occasions in the past few years.

However I'm yet to hear of a church where the leadership confronted an individual member on the way they spend their money. I'm yet to hear a tale where someone was asked to leave a church because in their job they made decisions which exploited or oppressed the poor. I've never heard of a church sitting down a member out of a concern for their workaholic tendencies.

Why do some parts of our life seem to be impacted by faith while others are kept separate? Why are some 'compartments' of ones life open to the church's scrutiny and comment while others are largely ignored?



A fine question Darren.
I've picked it up on my blog.

Richard Hall » 28 February, 2003 12:33 AM

Preach it, preach it, preach it.

Jonathan » 28 February, 2003 12:46 AM

For me the question is why are we kicking ANY of these people out if they are still at least willing to be a part, in some way, of a community of faith where, if they stay for the long haul, they may eventually "get it" and be transformed??? Why are we doing that again?

Oh, maybe becuase so few of these communities actually exist - that's probably it.

+ Alan » 28 February, 2003 3:37 AM

Good post Darren... on a related note, have you read: http://blogs.salon.com/0001772/2003/02/18.html

Rachel C » 28 February, 2003 4:07 AM

Good point Alan. Not only do we not have a right to pass these kinds of judgements, we lose an opportunity to gain a better understanding of a person's situation, or an issue, if we just decide we don't want to deal with it.

Everybody's story is worth knowing...

Laura » 28 February, 2003 8:42 AM

I come from a church that has a large percentage of people who have come to us from the gay lifestyle, yet on the other hand we also have a large percentage of people that are very active and committed to social justice. I have learnt that the key is balance.

The absolute imperitive for the emerging church is to develop a spirituality that embraces holistic holiness. Holiness for our world and for our souls. I actually do know churches where people are questioned about who they work for and how they are living in regards to justice for the world, yet have abandoned any sense of personal or sexual holiness.

All though this example is not christian it is important. I just read this morning that 3-D the leader of musical of massive attack has just been arrested for child pornography. 3-D is of interest at the moment because he has been one of the most vocal opponents in the UK against the war in Iraq and a campaigner for justice for that country. Martin Luther King's personal indiscretions almost lost him his position as the leading voice in the civil rights campaigner, very much playing into his enemies hands. So i guess in many ways your comments are true of the evangelical/charismatic church but it is the other way round in the liberal church. so i guess the real challenge is emulating the 19th century model of evangelicalism that we see in such people as wesley etc that embraced justice and holiness.

mark » 28 February, 2003 9:50 AM

Every time I hear stories like this, I get mad... *sigh*

irene » 28 February, 2003 2:37 PM

I think you make a really good point in this post, Darren. I wonder if it's because churches, as well as society, find sex more interesting than anything else?

I find it fascinating that we all keep our finances close to our chest - it's almost like the most private part of us, the last thing we share with a new partner. A friend of mine *dared* to challenge the way I was spending money the other week, and I was affronted out of all proportion. Then again, perhaps it was the interference itself that was offensive. There needs to be trust first...and do churches have that sort of trust from their congregations? They often presume it...

A bit of a ramble!

Beth » 28 February, 2003 7:26 PM

Good points Darren. I hadn't thought about this.

Rachel F » 28 February, 2003 9:06 PM

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