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Stolen from daddio. Wise words from a wise man.

The church vs The Church and which one are we

by Randy Middleton

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The “church” today has been corrupted by “The Church”.  The “church” (small c) was established by Christ.  Man has divided it into “The Church”(es) we have today based on man’s law and rules, and different interpretations of The Scriptures. Whenever two people read the same passage of anything it is possible they will understand it differently based, in part, on their frame of reference or prior learning.  It is difficult to read something, unless it is quite simple and direct, and not let it be couched in your life’s experience.  Add to that a couple thousand years of language changes and you begin to see the problem.  But it is compounded by the stubbornness of mankind to accept any understanding but their own.  For evidence of that, look at politics in the USA in 2017 (and about any year prior).

So people choose to either not discuss religion (man organized) or scripture or Christ unless they feel they are in like and safe territory.  Or they are Evangelical and speak to anyone who will listen.  Hummm, which of those did Christ tell us to do?  If you don’t know the answer, let’s talk… The adage “we don’t discuss politics and religion” is for those who like the safe zone of life.  But will that bring those individuals to The Kingdom?   Does that fulfill The Great Commission?  The answer to both, from a Christian perspective, is of course no.  But not everyone we know is, or wants to be, a Christian.

From my perception, part of the problem seems to be total misunderstanding of what it means to be A Christian.  Many more claim to be than truly understand what they are espousing.  And while there are many things that go into that description, there are a couple of basic truths that are not up for negotiation and do not vary between Christian congregations.  That is to say, the beliefs are the same, the implementation…. not so much. A Christian is a person who tries to follow the teachings of Christ.  None are 100% successful, but the key is in the devoted attempt and repentance.

A Christian tries, though often unsuccessfully, to emulate Christ and follow His teachings.  A Christian also recognizes his/her failures and seeks forgiveness. A Christian does not judge others.  Again, humanity is failing miserably at this one, but that is the goal. A Christian freely offers testimony of Christ’s impact in their own life story.  Ideally this should be shared in a positive and non-threatening manner and not a condemning or confrontational approach.

Some wear outward signs of their faith, like a cross neckless.  I have met a few who wear that “because it is pretty, or cool” but mostly it is worn by the faithful.  Otherwise a non-politically correct phrase sometimes starts a firestorm of judgement and confrontation.  This is NOT a Christian response.

Love is tough.  Tougher still is the fact there are several types of love and we tend to confuse the meanings.  I won’t go into a treatise on the definitions, you can look them up, but let’s stick with love of God and brotherly love of mankind for this discussion. For a Christian it begins with whole hearted Love of God.  With that as a basis it is easier to express brotherly love and compassion.  But compassion is often misunderstood also (ain’t the English language grand!).

Personally I am very much a realist and seek logic.  Christianity has logic, but it also rooted in faith.  In fact, it is the only religion I have studied that coexists with science and logic.  Now that I just offended the fundamentalists, let me expand a bit.  The Earth is not 5000 years old and God made it to look old.  Yes, I believe God has the ability to do that, but there is no logic in it and God is logical.  This is one of the points where literal interpretation causes dissention and splits congregations.  But the fact is, it doesn’t matter.  That is a historical reference, not a forward thinking teaching.

Science has proven God exists.  But faith and testimony support the belief that God is still present.  To understand that requires a description of how God relates to mankind in today’s world.  This is another point of contention for many.  It runs from “let go and let God” to “where was God in that?” and there are a myriad of anecdotal stories to support them all. We are not all meant to be scholars and theologians.  We each have our own understanding of God and His relationship to us as individuals is the key to our personal journey and future.  Stay focused on the church (small c) and your personal values and be wary of getting sidetracked in the politics of the religions of mankind. God is good, all the time.  We should try to be also. IHS,

Randy Middleton


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