Sunday, 7 July 2013

So what is my job? Correction

Those of you who follow the blog will remember that I recently wrote:

'Those who are happy to come to the show and sing the happy songs and have their ears tickled - the day is coming when the battle will be engaged and you will find yourself 'not fit for purpose' - time to 'man up' Church!'

This brought about the following response:

'How much more emotional manipulation are you going to employ on your site to get people to be doing what you, Vic, think people should be doing?

This isn't your job, Vic - your job is to seek after God and put yourself at his disposal.  Be loved by him and then love others as you are loved.

Your job is not to guilt-trip, embarrass or intimidate people into conforming to your ideology... this is the fast-track to burn-out. 

Come back to me on this one, and tell me why I'm wrong.'

Well, I did indeed come back to them and this is instalment number three (in a series of goodness knows how many) because another of the jobs I do is to tell people when they are doing wrong, or doing it wrongly. Now of course I don't employ emotional manipulation or guilt-trips, embarrassment or intimidation (after all, I'm not a liberal you know :-) ) but I do employ telling the truth in love as per today's reading of Galatians 6 which I have paraphrased elsewhere as:

'Guys, if you see someone doing something wrong, those of you who know me should restore them gently; but take care in the way that you do it so that you don't end up being wrong too!'

Now this 'wrongness' that we need to take care not to fall into is often demonstrated by the hardline fundamentalist and the 'Jesus wants everyone to be happy' liberals alike who point the finger and denounce, attack, vilify and engage in the finely tuned art of the ad hominem.

But you see my role means that when I see people who are sitting in front of the TV when they should be getting fit for the role for which they've volunteered I have to tell them that they are slacking. When I see people who claim to be Christians and yet their attitudes, lifestyles or behaviour deny this, then it's my role to come alongside and help them understand, accept and amend their ways accordingly. This is not the wicked application of rules and regulations but helping people to reach their fullest potential as people and as disciples - and we do want that, don't we?

My critic is wrong because to do anything other that strive to get one's own life sorted and working as well as possible and take this as the datum for those who are part of the Church is to be a hypocrite - and I struggle to ensure that I'm not that. My critic is also wrong because not only do I avoid all the things they accuse me of (and in accusing me perhaps come close to owning them for themselves) but I work hard to train, equip and release (I know some don't like this terminology but isn't that Biblical language) and to work alongside (and for if the opportunity arises) others in the Church.

The problem is that some would see just being in the Church as enough and the more those in the Church are like the world the better it is. After all, if we don't confront people with their errors then they are happy to have us around and therefore Church is popular.

And of course it is because it doesn't ask for set standards of behaviour but accepts everything (including the spirit of divination according to Schori's last sermon on the wicked Paul!) on the premise that whatever makes you happy pleases God.

Psalm 119 tells us that the person who keeps God's laws and seeks the Lord with all their heart - they are truly happy, not the foolish who will perish because of their folly and their desire to make their god in their own image.

No, I'm sorry but when I see people who claim to be Christian avoiding the discipline that comes from denying ourselves and taking up our cross and embarking on a life of discipline, prayer and praise that is the hallmark of true discipleship, then I have to offer correction by coming alongside.

We have one chance at this life (Heb 9.27) and my role is to do it the very best I can and to help others. I use the same measure on them as I do for myself and this is right - for it's part of my job as a family member.

We watch out for and correct each other in love - don't we?

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