Sunday, March 28, 2004

I seem to be full of quotes today, but I've been saving them up until I had time to post them. Well, it's time.

There's been an interesting discussion going on at Alan's, Bill Bean's, and Mike Bishop's blogs, among others, about the relative merits of using the movie The Passion as an evangelism tool. The discussion hasn't been so very much about the movie itself, but rather concerns some remarks made (specifically) by Rick Warren about jumping on a cultural trend and "exploiting" it, if you will, to reach people with the Gospel. For the record, I tend to agree with "the boys", not because I'm a good little "girl", but because these were the thoughts already in my head before they articulated them. I came away from the article with the feeling that not only was Rick Warren trying to "toot his own horn" by making specific mention of his attendance numbers and the "mayor[s], congress[men], superintendent[s] of schools, other community leaders, and four billionaires" (emphasis mine) that he'd invited to his "VIP premiere showing" of the movie, but that all of that was irrelevant. The idea that the success of a church (meaning the organization or building rather than the people themselves, who are really the church) has to do with how big it is or how many rich and/or famous people attend seems to be hanging in there with some folks, even though we've all seen enough church buildings filled with hundreds who have no clear idea of why they're there, except that "that's what Christians do on Sunday" to last for eternity. Literally. God's definition of success is so different from what we baby boomers have thought success should be for so many years (yeah, I'll admit it, I'm a boomer--but just barely). Success, in God's eyes, has very little to do with number growth, and so much to do with internal, spiritual growth. This concept, if you can begin to get a grasp on it, is so freeing that I'm surprised more Christians haven't gotten it. Anyway, having said all that, I want to share a couple more quotes from the CQOD that came in my email about the time that this discussion started. It's actually one quote that was broken up into two parts for brevity.

The primary cause of the [denominational] divisions is the institutionalism and organisationalism of the churches, which, without vivifying the life of the believers in them, smothers or drives it out of the ekklesia, and makes [the churches] merely dead institutions. Christians who really have life in Christ cannot exist within such a corpse and will at last have to come out of it. But in almost all cases, those who have come out of dead institutions want to have in their place another institution or other rituals and ceremonies, only repeating the same error. Instead of turning to Christ Himself as their center, they again seek to find fellowship and spiritual security on the very same basis that failed, not realizing that it is the institution that is killing, instead of producing, life in Christ.

Even the Bible itself is interpreted and understood in various ways, and so always becomes the center of sectarianism. Just in the same way, dogmas and creeds cannot bring Christian unity, because human minds are not so uniformly created that they can unite in a single dogma or creed. Even our understanding of Christ Himself cannot be the basis of unity, because He is too big to be understood by any one person or group, and therefore our limited understandings do not always coincide. One emphasizes this point about Christ, another that; and this again becomes the cause of divisions. If we will only take our fellowship with Christ as the center of Christian faith, all Christians will realize their oneness... All our fellowship, however varied, is with the same Lord, and the same Saviour is our one Head.
~Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970),
One Body in Christ[1954]

Note the date of the this quote--apparently we've been trying to figure this thing out for quite some time, and probably will be figuring it out for some time to come.

posted by #Debi at 10:08 AM | permalink | 0 comments


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Hi, I'm Debi. Once in a while I have a thought and I like to write it down before it goes away. This is where I write it.

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