It seems to me, albeit hampered by my limited wit, that one of the perennial issues is that of responding to stuff we consider to be wrong with Church stuff and letting ourselves loose on a path that will:
a. take us back to the time when Jesus walked the earth, or
b. take us back to be what the New Testament Church was before the patristic errors, politics and power corrupted it, or
c. take us forward to something orthodox and enabling that speaks into today's realities, and
d. scrub everything and just live out what the New Testament tells us as if we were living in the days when we had only the Eucharist and the fellowship of other believers.
The problem for me is that I have proclaimed some of the above and sought the others from the pulpit, from my knees and in the sacred space that is both prayer and praise.
Many years back I can recall being in the company of a group of Christians who decided that they had no need of theology. All that was necessary to be a 'good Christian' was to read the Bible and live it - the input of those who might write on its contents being nothing other than a call to error and putting their own spin onto what was obvious without it.
Being someone who had just started studying at Bible College I sat back (quietly) and watched at whatever was about to happen in this group. It sounded good and yet, as time progressed, the reality looked awful! As they read, interpreted and applied the words of the Bible taken from one place they denied the words that resided elsewhere. Not only that but the core values that are:
i. The ten commandments (Exodus 20)
ii. The call of the shema* (Deuteronomy 6.4) to, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might', and
c. The words of Leviticus 19.18 which explicitly says, 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord!'
Sad to say that the last time I heard of any of those in the original group they had all binned Christianity as 'something that didn't work' and were doing their own stuff and living quite joyless, but self-serving lives. This brings me to consider many things in terms of lifestyle, attitudes, fruit and joy because I'd like to think that getting it right with God ticks all the positive boxes - but does it I wonder?
And I'm open to those who find freedom away from Christ - but would add that it might be freed from Christians rather than the Boss Himself (surely not, Christians are all lovely, aren't they?)
So I'm about to embark upon some thinking about the patristic errors, the desire to go back and the ways that some have gone into new territory (they haven't really by the way - they just think they have but indeed there is 'nothing new under the sun!
So come along with me and put your views, correct me, shout me down, lift me up and take us forward and let's have a look at Christianity in the now as something that doesn't deny the 'then' or corrupt it for the approbation of those outside the Church.
Let's get it on!
* shema (Shem aah) - the Hebrew word for 'Hear' - taken from 'hear, o Israel, the LORD . . '