Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Loving Your Heritage?

"I'm tired Clark. I'm 25 and I'm tired. I shouldn't be, but I am."

Has anyone in ministry felt this? Let me go a step further. Has anyone in ministry felt this and you're under 30? Last night, I had a wonderful conversation with Jason Staples, a friend of mine from MTSU. For the last 2.5 years he has worked as a campus ministry intern on the University of Kentucky, not to mention finishing up a MA degree at Asbury Seminary. Jason is a person that redefines the phrase "get hype" at least in my opinion. I have learned so much from him and his way of living (except for his 4 hours of sleep method).

Because Jason and I come from the same church heritage, we talked about the changing times, how church will be effected, how it is being effected, how will church change in the next 50 years. For those of you who don't know Jason or myself, we grew up in the circles of churches of Christ. CoC's have their dirty little secrets like other denominations and ugly blemishes, but over all the beginning of the movement (late 1700s, early 1800s) had unifying intentions. But over time, the beliefs became crystalized and modernity/rationalism/nationalism took root in the minds of many leaders and scholars. (I'm not saying modernity is the worst thing ever, but it hasn't helped out tradition much) Are CoCs hopeless? By no means. But when mentioning our heritage, especially in the South, a disclaimer has to be added to our comment so as not to be labeled or misunderstood.

I asked Jason if he was considering leaving the CoCs because many in our heritage, especially younger members have left. He didn't give me a definite answer but I could tell his hope for working with churches in our tradition was diminishing. My hope is diminishing too. I want so badly for churches of Christ to see just how much they are missing the big picture. Why are we still debating if women can lead prayer on Sunday morning or if hand clapping is sinful, while millions of people are dying with AIDS in Africa and India? Why are we so intent on arguing someone to faith in Jesus? Why can't we gather together as different tribes/traditions and pray as one? Heck, why can't we gather together as even as CoCers and pray for unity without being bogged down by "conservative"/"progressive" issues and identities?

For the past couple of years, I have been listening intently among the ongoing conversations of the Emergent as well as the Ekklesia Project. My theology continues to transition, but is still flawed. I know my pride confronts me when my anger is about who's right and who's wrong. I don't want to play their game. I have said that I truly will stand by CoCs as long as they will have me. Will that pursuit become obsolete in the coming years? I don't know. But like Jason, I'm tired too. I'm tired of living in a broken world where I have a hard time seeing the Kingdom come. I'm tired of hearing and reading these silly arguments while we are being passed by by the times and real issues of our day.

God, for those who are on similar journeys like Jason and myself, please grant us wisdom and discernment for our pilgrimage. Fill us with love that covers all. And strengthen our hands and feet while we harvest in your Kingdom.