Thursday, May 13, 2010

 

"Manna’s OK, but I long for milk and honey"

That is the phrase that Chaplain Mike, writing at iMonk, uses to describe his longing for something more than Evangelicalism is offering him. His tale, sadly, sounds quite common to me. He discusses many issues, not the least of which strikes right at the heart of my biggest problem with the independent Evangelical movement:
To me personally, it confirmed doubts and fears that had been growing for years about the inherent insecurity of serving in non-denominational churches. There is no safety net. No structures to provide support, counsel, and guidance. No mentors on the “apostolic” level beyond the local church to help. I learned the hard way that what I had feared was true: the pastor in a non-denominational evangelical church—succeed or fail—is on his own. I had “failed” in the light of some unwritten standard so, vocationally, I was out in the cold with few options.
I also really liked this bit:
Pastoral issues were not my only concerns. For years, I’d had a growing dissatisfaction with evangelicalism’s lack of tradition, historical perspective, reverence and order in worship. I resisted its programmed approach to spiritual growth, its bourgeois commitments that blatantly disregard the NT emphasis on sacrificial service and inclusion of the poor and disenfranchised, its “temple” mentality that has little sense of serving Christ in daily life and instead revolves around what happens in the institution and its programs.

Evangelicalism’s lack of theological thoughtfulness and depth had bothered me increasingly over the years. I cringed at the moralism of its sermons, its “me and Jesus” approach to the spiritual life, the celebrity status of its pastors, the crass and unabashed commercialism of its media industries. The endless dissemination of Protestant groups, each claiming its own “biblical” way with no more authority than an open Bible and the assertion that the Spirit is leading strained all credulity that this was God at work.
It is the kind of heartfelt, personal description of issues that impacts both the mind and the heart. Which is also what gives this blog post its power.

You see, God wishes to change our mind and our hearts and our very souls. But so often we offer so little. The summary phrase in the title is so apt. We wander in the wilderness, satisfied with the manna God provides, but He has promised us a land of milk and honey, if only we believed in the promise.

It makes me wonder. Do you think that during the Israelites time in the wilderness, they had a lot of individuals who thought they had a better way and wandered off into the desert to try for themselves? We certainly are treated to no such tales.

I don't think they did - see I think they understood the value of community far more than we do. It is what makes us uniquely American. Our challenge is different than theirs. Ours to work out how to be a part of an imperfect community.

Are you trying - or are you wandering off into the wilderness?

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