When you can’t sing the lyrics

Posted: May 2, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , ,

It is weird. I have been called the nihilistic or pessimistic Christian for quite a while. Okay, since I came back to church for sociologically and anthropologically I would look at the institutional church in Canada, regardless of the denomination (or in social media speak hashtag) and see that it was dying. Either butts in the pews or depth of spiritual formation. I mean heck for me to get spiritual formation that was not offered at the local congregation level I pursued degrees from a Bible College, Seminary, and formation in a third order monastic tradition.

It was a topic of a sermon at a Youth Conference years ago I gave, Emerge, where I spoke about the life support system of the Christendom (the Christian Empire since Constantine “converted”). As there is growth within the 2/3 world, and decline in the Western World (Quebec in the 1930’s and 1940’s had their Quiet Revolution to remove the Roman Catholic Church control, this is what is happening in the rest of the Western World, and why the Church has established bulkheads ala Religious Right that fight fog issues such as Abortion and Marriage Equality instead of living the Great Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, but that is an article for another time).

It is a time in the life of Church, where we are struggling to decide what church is? What do we offer differently from an intramural sports league, community association, book club, political party or service organization? These waters were even more muddied by the “seeker sensitive” approach of the mega-churches that became plug and play for many smaller churches. A space where we stripped away what made church different, and how to disciple for a space that was open. It created a space of accessibility and inclusion (there was a seat), but it did not create belonging for as huge numbers ebbed and flowed, none were missed. There was no roots grown.

This is the era we now sit in. See, there is a yearning for the good ol’ days, when churches were brimming full. It was the inverse of the seeker culture of the late 1990’s early 2000’s…or is it? There was a compulsion to be a part of a church and active for social and economic acceptance not because of actual belief within the tenants of faith. Both Christendom and Seeker Sensitive created a breadth with no depth, and we are still sitting on life support. As Christendom dies, and as many mega churches collapse under their own numerical success and corruptions we are left to ponder what is to be?

This is what went through my mind, as the grief cycle of Churchdom is stuck in U theory on the letting go phase, so what is to come cannot gain full traction. It was a great service of what happens when one as community lives the Great Commandments, yet the first hymn stuck in my throat and I could not sing. It was a hymn of Christendom, one that spoke of what started the cycle of falsity, and muddied the waters, and relegated key pieces of the Trinity to the sidelines. Jesus was a focal point, but only as we worshipped literally the stories of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament, yet the shift was more to power and money with these as mere illusions. It is where one ponders if God is alive, and as many scholars have begun to write, we have sidelined the Holy Spirit. That’s right, whether you are charismatic or not within the Western Context, we have confined the Holy Breath to check boxes of what is “appropriate”, we no longer live into the Holy Mystery and blessing of creation.

So what hymn stuck and struck? Onward Christian Soldiers it is a war hymn, and as music is used to teach throughout the years concepts. It teaches the concept of Christendom, that we are meant to conquer and control, be a new Empire. Not be subversive, healing, and transfiguring of a world. It is one example, the chorus culture has created pop light love songs that do not allow believers to actually feel a full gambit of emotions, both cultures have created a Learned Helplessness for church goers and members.

What does that mean? If you do not believe Christendom should reign, and tack on to all the lightning button fog issues then you are not a believer. For the seeker culture, if you are not continuously happy and blessing seeing you lack faith, for it is the little faith that leaves you with other emotions. It removes the assertive voice of the created one blessed by the Holy Mystery. Both remove the blessing of the fully created soul and person in the Imageo Dei. To be included, you must adhere to the decrees of the church and if you do not function within that realm of belief, then you are truly not saved.

Let that sit for a minute, and then I ask you,

Why is the church dying?

It is because we have truly lost our path, corrupted by the things of Caesar as Brother Jesus would say, and then corrupted by not following through on living life together. We chase simple plug and play solutions that treats humanity like a computer code. That is we function as an institution, and when it does not work we are at a loss.

When being a belonging community for all, is a messy endeavour.

How today, are you being messy and creating belonging?

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