Traction

treadmillI’m having an interesting online (but private) conversation with someone, talking about the state of things in his part of the country.

Here was my observation:

“My impression from interactions on Facebook with various folks in the [deleted] area is that there is a lot of angst that has driven folks from institutionalism and legalism, but not much in the way of any solid foundational Biblical principles operative among them.

“Your area seems to be a hotbed for interest in ‘organic’ things, but mired in lots of unrealistic sensibilities. They seem to have idealistic expectations rooted in those sensibilities but can’t seem to find traction, yet they are not willing to change and so they keep trying and trying without success.”

I wonder if this describes other areas around the country as well?

~ Jim

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5 responses

  1. I thought this gem from Tozer’s pen, on Christian “idealism”, is worth sharing here (from The Pursuit of God, Chapter 4):

    “…for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle.

    Over against all this cloudy vagueness stands the clear scriptural doctrine that God can be known in personal experience. A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.

    The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience. The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express knowledge of physical things. “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” “All thy garments smell Of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces.” “My sheep hear my voice.” “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” These are but four of countless such passages from the Word of God. And more important than any proof text is the fact that the whole import of the Scripture is toward this belief.

    What can all this mean except that we have in our hearts organs by means of which we can know God as certainly as we know material things through our familiar five senses? We apprehend the physical world by exercising the faculties given us for the purpose, and we possess spiritual faculties by means of which we can know God and the spiritual world if we will obey the Spirit’s urge and begin to use them…”

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  2. In the last several years of being out of the IC, I have seen a whole range of folks that desire to have fellowship. They range from taking the NT church model of meeting in homes as the new “truth” that must be rigedly adhered to, i.e. there must be a meal to model the early church, it must be in a home. It has become a new legalistic dogma. To a very liberal, throw everything out that smacks of structure or Christianlity. I think that there is a process that people go through learning to think again for themselves after years of being told how and what to think. We are feeling our way through this and we should have grace for those (and us) as we try to find what the Lord really wants and it may look differently from one group to another. I have faith that Jesus will build His church. It will be messy at times and pendulums swing back and forth in reaction to abuse and control. Life is like that….unpredictable and messy.

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  3. To this I would add people who have given up and now see attempting to pursue church as described in the NT as “idealistic.”

    All of this keeps pointing me back to the idea of diversity of gifts in people who are submitted to one another.

    We need each other, by design, and that’s tough truth for us.

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  4. Unless we keep coming back to the complete cannon of scripture to inform our understanding of who God is, we will make a god of our own liking who will ultimately have our sensibilities.
    Any worthwhile pursuit should be simply to get to know and love our God for who He is, and love our neighbors (in the good Samaritan sense) like we (should) love ourself. Thus the need to be involved with people – both those that can build us up and encourage us along our journey, as well as those that don’t yet know Him.

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