the weblog of Alan Knox

Wondering…

Posted by on Oct 17, 2008 in blog links, community, fellowship, love | 6 comments

A few days ago, my friend Eric, from “Hammer and Nail“, linked to a video in a post called “Watch this Desiring God Video about James 3“. The video, if you haven’t seen it, or didn’t go to the link to watch it, shows a family getting ready to “go to church”. They are yelling at one another all morning, then they walk through the front doors of the church building and begin smiling. The video even shows the father raising his hand while singing a song.

I realize that the purpose of this video (given the reference to James 3) is to show how we praise God with our mouth and curse others with our mouth, too. In fact, from the comments on Eric’s blog, it seems that yelling at one another on Sunday morning seems to be fairly typical.

But, for me, the video raised different questions. In fact, I looked at this from a different perspective.

I expect people to sin, and I’m surprised when they do not sin. I expect for there to be conflict in relationships (even close families). I expect for parents to yell at their children sometimes, and I expect children to yell at their parents sometimes. Notice, I’m not saying that this type of behavior is godly or right, but I’m saying that it is part of our human nature. Since we don’t always live according to the Spirit, our human nature will often rise to the surface.

So, if we sin – and we do – then why do we feel that we have to pretend – put on a fake smile – when we get together with the church? Shouldn’t the church be people who accept us as we are, because that’s the way that God accepts us in Christ? Shouldn’t the church be the people who love us in spite of our sin and problems? Shouldn’t the church know us better than anyone else, and even know about our faults, our weaknesses, and our sins, and yet love us anyway?

So, these are the questions I’ve been wondering about: 1) Why do we find it so easy to pretend when we are among the church? 2) Why do we find it necessary to pretend when we are among the church?

I think something is wrong with this picture. What is wrong? Are we willing to do something about it?


6 Comments

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  1. 10-17-2008

    Alan,

    I love the honesty in the way you think!

    The answer to your questions is the same as the answer to this one,”Why do we act as if Galatians 6:1-5 doesn’t exist?”

    May I suggest,legal bondage and pride! Not being prepared to extend grace towards, because we have almost nil real sense of the depth of grace with which we have been lavished!

  2. 10-17-2008

    Alan,

    I watched that video on Eric’s blog and almost commented… but I couldn’t think of anything that wasn’t sarcastic.

    To me the video displays two problems. The first problem is how the family treated each other before “church”. Obviously they were angry, upset, etc. The second problem was how the family treated each other during “church”. They were being fake, putting on a show, etc.

    I assumed that the point the video was trying to make is that we should act like they did during “church” but all the time. However, that is promoting that we be fake and put on a show… I think that is just as much of a sin.

    In my opinion, neither is the ideal. The ideal is people who are following Christ with his help and being transparent before one-another. At least, that’s what I think.

    Thanks for the commentary on this video. It’s good to see another perspective.

    God’s Glory,
    Lew

  3. 10-17-2008

    Although I’ve not watched the video, I believe that I understand what takes place from what you’ve described.

    I believe that what you saw is the deeper issue at hand. We’ve somehow been duped into believing that all real Christians are always happy and jovial – always. It is seemingly subliminally understated that if you struggle with anything, you are less of a Believer. Facades and masquerades ensue.

    We’ve personally gone to great lengths to tell all who we ever meet with here in our home (or anywhere for that matter) that it’s OK to be down – it’s OK to hurt – it’s OK to question. One of my favorite phrases to those who don’t feel that they’re allowed to be anythingbut happy Christians – “We want to talk about real life. I want to hear what is going on in your life – whether it’s been your best weak ever or your worst.”

    The truth is so freeing – so defining of our salvation being “worked out”. I believe that great power and victory reside in honesty – especially within the Body.

  4. 10-17-2008

    So, these are the questions I’ve been wondering about: 1) Why do we find it so easy to pretend when we are among the church? 2) Why do we find it necessary to pretend when we are among the church?

    I think something is wrong with this picture. What is wrong? Are we willing to do something about it?

    Alan,

    1. Because I want people to think I have it together (I=me)if I don’t have it together what will others think of me. No one wants to hang out with people with problems and kids that aren’t so mindful.

    2. Christianity is more autonomous than taking a shower. We don’t want people in our business and we don’t want to get into theirs. To be transparent means vulnerability and what if my vulnerability is exposed to people I don’t want it to be (gossip anyone). So it is better for me (me=lionel) to smile when everythign in my life is going haywire. Many times I am asked (rhetorically I suppose) how are you? And sometimes I lie!

    3. What is wrong is the fact that transparency is dangerous in two parts. 1. The lack of biblcal grace exteneded to one another, and 2. The fear of not being who people think you are. So it is better to remain shallow and closed in.

    4. Talk about being gracious and transparent in our meetings. Tell people that to not extend this grace and to not be transparent breaks down the unity in the body and is actually harmful to the fellowship and then find ways to foster such interaction. Really calling people to serve one another. Visit their sick children help each other around the home, have people over for a non-programmed meal, maybe even suprise invitations so people can’t prepare their face!

    My thoughts brother. This has been my experience being in even a small assembly (100 or so)

  5. 10-17-2008

    Genesis 3:7-9 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

    We are simply doing the same thing Adam and Eve were. Not only is it human nature to yell, it is also human nature to hide.

  6. 10-17-2008

    Good comments everyone. Thank you.

    As I’ve thought about these questions this week, I’ve also wondered what I was going to do about this. I see it as a huge problem.

    Believers do not trust one another enough to get to know one another. We cannot be the church as described in Scripture if we do not know one another.

    -Alan