Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Easter church “holds the belief that new & resurrected life in Christ looks a certain way and lives by certain standards.” It may be a conservative congregation that has strict doctrinal or behavioral standards or a progressive church that implicitly forces conformity to particular social justice perspectives.Nike concludes with questions:
The Good Friday church functions as a hospital for the wounded. They “make room for our woundedness … they also allow us to remain there.” She notes that they often focus their ministry on a particular demographic or specialize in responding to particular needs and devote themselves to tending the injuries of those broken by life.
The Pentecost church “witnesses to our worst wounds and our best actualizations, and it echoes the Spirit’s unending call to fuller life in Christ.” They regularly challenge people to refuse to settle for the outward righteousness that may pervade the Easter church or the wallowing in woundedness that may characterize those in the Good Friday congregation.
Each type of church tends to attract people with similar perspectives, and there are strengths and weaknesses in all of them. Although she has clearly set this paradigm up to favor the “Pentecost” church, she notes that even this church culture can be provincial and make others feel unwelcome.
Though her categories are obviously broad, do you think she makes helpful observations about the way communities of faith generally approach, define, and live out their beliefs?I think that delineating distinctions that should not exist, and especially asking about the strengths and weaknesses of each is a problem. The church is about Good Friday and Easter and Pentecost and Christmas and Lent and, and, and. Of course, some are always good at one part of something and some are betters at other parts. However, at some point there also has to be a unity and strategic coordination.
If so, what examples have you seen of these basic types of churches? What strengths and weaknesses do you see in each approach?
Imagine an education where we decide that a child is good an language and never teach them any math at all. They would end up traveling the worlds, talking to everyone but never balancing their checkbook. People need to be exposed to the great breadth of the Christian experience. They need to understand the stunning and TOTAL vision that God has for the world. Yes, we may all occupy only a small, even infinitesimal part of that vision, but we need to know that God has something grand and wonderful in mind.
People need to see all of it, because though someone may be naturally affiliated with but a part of it, they may be the person that forges the synthesis of two parts.
We are God's tools for His recreation of reality. When we limit and categorize ourselves too much we limit God. That;s a shame.