Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Company You Keep

It appears that Phil Johnson has joined the ranks of the bloggers. And I thought I was the last one on the bandwagon. Knowing Phil via several other venues, it's going to be interesting - but if he ever finds out I'm at BHT now, I may be in for a whuppin' for hanging out with "the wrong crowd".

Thinking of that brought home another point - how fleeting Christian community seems to be. Partly this may be my own personality showing through (I am a bit of an introvert), but it still seems to me that so much of our expressions of "fellowship" are dependent on other factors - whether we attend the same church, how much we are alike with the other person, and whether or not they agree with us theologically. Having gone through two church changes back in 2001-2002, I can also say that so much of the "Christian fellowship" evaporated once I left each church. There was little sense (after one left the worship service) that the people gathering there were doing anything more than "socializing".

Online, it gets worse. Without the constraints that being in the same location with the other person (and having to see their reactions), people's inhibitions get lowered. The rhetoric gets increased. And the results can get ugly. I've seen it too many times to deny it. (I've also been guilty of it myself.)

"Community" and "fellowship" are words that get tossed about, but in actual practice get little real attention. There's always other factors that are (consciously or not) given higher priority - doctrinal agreement, social parity, membership, whatever. I'm still getting my bearings on the "Emergent" movement, but it does seem they are consciously trying to address this issue. And whatever other problems they may have, that's a good thing.

As far as BHT goes... One thing I've noticed is that they have set rules on civility. They have a broad spectrum of people. There is conversation about things besides theology. And not everyone is on the same page theologically. In other words, it's more like real life. And it looks to be interesting.

Are we known by the comany you keep? The Pharisees and Jesus both thought so. But their attitudes towards that "company" made all the difference...


Blogger ct said...

Why the hand wringing all the time. Why not just BE. Once you know the truth you know the truth. Right?

7:40 AM  
Blogger burttd said...

Is it really that simple?

I once *knew* that dispensationalism was right and other theologies were wrong.

I once *knew* that it was wrong for a Baptist to belong to a non-Baptist church.

I once *knew* that it was OK to do chores on the Sabbath. Then I *knew* it was wrong. Then I *knew* it was OK. All in the space of six months.

See what I mean?

At one point in the old b&w film version of *Luther*, Luther tells Staupitz that he almost wished he could be the kind of Christian that just believed what he was told and that was the end of it. But he wasn't that kind of person, and neither am I. I started this blog as a kind of online diary to vent my frustrations, to catalog my struggle between the certainty of God's truth and my uncertainty in struggling to apprehend and live it. But I don't mind other's comments, even critical ones like yours - they help keep me honest.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Michael Spencer said...

You are hanging out with the wrong crowd. Trust me.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Mac said...

I see what you mean.

Idiots like "Joey" are ruled by fear, not faith.

Keep up the good work and ignore them.

5:06 PM  

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