Ok, so as most of you know by now, I have a problem with fundie blog addiction. I am seeking treatment, but thus far, I have not been able to kick the habit. This post is not about that, so bear with me as I get to the point.
Their main beef (as best as I can see) with both the Emerging Church and Rick Warren is that they downplay the need to repent from sin, and thus cheapen or even negate the gospel. Some will express concern in a loving way, and some will say that Rick and Brian are dancing a merry jig on the tip of Satan’s forked tongue. Because of my addiction, and my inability to write them off as total whack jobs, I’ve actually spent some time considering this critique.
I have not been able to shake off this question, and I want to present it here: do we minimize sin and repentance in emergent or postmodern church cultures? We’re quick to point out the hypocricy and ignorance of the fundamentalist church when it comes to national, social, or economic sin, and I think we’re right. We’re also quick to point out, again correctly, that fundies often have control issues and what they really want is for everyone to conform to their own personal tastes, which includes listening to music that sucks.
Are we straying from the radical and wonderful message of Jesus Christ by not emphasizing purity and holiness? Have we defanged Christ by downplaying the need for repentance, and is He pissed about it? Are we, in a desire to make up for the lack of love coming from the churches we grew up in, just being sentimental and irresponsible? How can we better articulate to people that God loves them passionately, but that their lives would simply be better were they to surrender their sin?
Dicipline is not the same as guilt. I feel guilty for being too fat, but dicipline could actually help me be healthier. It’s not up for debate. It’s not relative. My life would be better if I were 30 pounds lighter. Dicipline, deeply and inextricably rooted in love and grace, is a fundamentally good and Godly trait.
See… it’s funny… and perhaps the truth lies somewhere here… If you were to tell me that I needed to lose 30 (ok FINE!! 40) pounds, I would tell you to piss off and go eat a cheeseburger. My wife, however, has loved me no matter what I look like, and right now I am motivated to lose weight because I don’t want to leave her widowed by a heart attack at 49.
I cannot help but wonder if the emerging church were to get really serious about talking about sin, and take the time to allow our hearts to break with people suffering under the unnegotiable penalty of their sin, but restrained itself from setting up just another list of rules, could the Holy Spirit be fully released upon us to do what It does best… clarifying the specifics. We’ll do them no favor by helping them justify themselves without repentance, and we’ll have to answer to Jesus Himself.
And to Jerry Falwell, cause he’s always watching.