Thursday, November 15, 2007

Not the End of Christianity

Just to clarify, when I suggest that Christendom is at the point of expiring, I don't mean that Christianity is dead - not at all! Christianity is actually the one religion that is quite fluid and amazingly able to adapt to changing circumstances. When I reflect on some of the conversations I have with some of my Jewish friends or neighbours I realize that they are quite proud of the heritage of their religion that has not changed very much for three millennia. They look back to Moses or David or the Maccabees confident that the way they celebrated their religion was much the same as it is celebrated now. The clothing, the food, the scrolls, the layout of the buildings can all be traced back centuries if not millennia. It is a religion that resists culture and maintains its traditions in spite of cultural shifts.

I think that Christianity is for the most part very fastidious about maintaining its Scripture but has tended to adapt many other things that at various times seemed more or less important. The list of changes I mentioned in the last post is an illustration of how significantly the focus of Christianity has changed over the centuries. The changes at times are so significant that the true faith becomes almost unrecognizable at time - hence the need for renewal movements and reformations to bring the church back to the few core basic of the faith. A call back to the centrality of Scripture, to the Lordship and divinity of Jesus Christ, to simple and humble worship, and to an authentic love for one another.

There really are very few clear guidelines about what church should look like. However the people who make up the church should always look and act like Jesus. If we are not doing that then someone needs to call us to account. Do I hear a voice calling out in the wilderness?

3-5Thunder in the desert! "Prepare for God's arrival!
Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God.
Fill in the valleys, level off the hills,
Smooth out the ruts, clear out the rocks.
Then God's bright glory will shine and everyone will see it.
Yes. Just as God has said."
Isaiah 40:3-5

That has always been a guideline for me. I really believe that pastors should be doing what Jesus did - walk around, gather disciples, feed the poor, heal the sick, tell stories and make pompous religious people mad. It may mean you get crucified for it but what a way to go.

No comments: