Thursday, June 02, 2005

More from Tolstoy...

Okay, I got to the third preface, this one actually by Leo Tolstoy, and I again found some resonating words.

In affirming my belief in Christ's teaching, I could not help explaining why I do not believe, and consider mistaken, the Church's doctrine, which is usually called Christianity.

Amont the many points in which this doctrine falls short of the doctrine of Christ I pointed out as teh principal one the absence of any commandment of non-resistance to evil by force. The perversion of Christ's teaching by the theaching of the Church is more clearly apparent in this than in any other point of difference.

Again, wow... how timely! Good lord this describes so much of how I feel. I can affirm Jesus's teachings, but the Church's teachings? Seldom.


sled dog said...

Specifically, what "church" teachings do you struggle with? It's a sincere question...

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

Oh man, where to begin... I guess I would first suggest reading past posts from my blog.

Doctrine I take issue with in the modern church: consumeristic narrative, "infallibility" of Scripture, gospel=cross so you can go to heaven, Platonic heaven, Platonic everything, disregard for history, disregard for science, disregard for the teaching of other human cultures (ie. other religions), warmongering, and on, and on, and on...

Sled Dog said...

Well as a pastor of a church, I know I teach against a consumer driven mindset, as well as a gospel that impacts our past, present and future.

What do you mean by platonic heaven, everything?

Reading your post, I had to laugh... in all my years as a youth pastor, God always brought guys and gals into my ministry who had real struggles with "the church"...together I believe we made the church better. I served in a pretty mainstream, pretty boring church, but we just powered forward trying to become the community God intended.

The one thing I can't seem to get away from is the fact I believe the church is God's primary tool to impact the world.

Hmmm, kinda rambly, sorry

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

I definitely don't critique the church as an outside observer, but as a person activly involved in it. I see in myself the same inclinations that cause me to despise the church: the desire for certainty (hence dogma), the desire to control (hence narrow doctrine and authoritarian control), etc.

It is so hard for me to believe that, as some folks have said, the church is the hope of the world. I sometimes wonder that as God extended the covenant beyond Israel, s/he is now extending the covenant beyond the church (at least as we know it).

An aquaintance says, "The bride is bigger than you think."

I am no longer interested in getting people to make a better Church, but instead to make a better world...which I would say is the actual purpose of the Church.

Anyway, there's my ramblings!...

sled dog said...

I would just be wary of turning over more tables than even God desires! The ills of the church can cause such disdain that we will struggle seeing clearly.

Ultimately, IMHO, the world needs Christ...for forgiveness, for purpose, for healing, for hope, and for salvation. I love it when Paul wrote in 1 Cor. that all he preached was Christ crucified.


the sled dog

Brian Aaby said...

Hey guys... interesting conversation.
Ryan, what I am struggling with is your view of Scripture. If it IS NOT infallible or inerrant, then why do you quote it? In your next post you use it to demonstrate that Jesus was not necessarily a "family first" guy. How do you know that this is not an infallible text?
I do believe in the inerrancy of the Word (the Bible), and I do believe that that passage does show that Jesus' priority was (and should be) something different than his earthly family. However, taking the larger view of Scripture (the Bible) we as humans are called to God first, then family (which is what Jesus demonstrated). Again, not my point, I guess my question is how do you determine which passages from the Bible can be taken literally and which ones cannot?
This is not an attempt to prove myself "right" and you "wrong" (or for you to respond with the vice-versa) I am honestly interested in trying to understand your mindset.
I guess I am interested in your view of the "consumer driven mindset" as well... How is that reconciled for you in terms of making a living, selling CD's, going to overpriced U2 Shows, purchasing our ipod's etc. etc.
I think we can all be quick to call ourselves hypocrites, but should it end with just the "naming" of our sin?
Ok, now I'm rambling...
Thanks for allowing me to get my thoughts out too.