Friday, June 03, 2005

Some Post-Dinner Thoughts 2: Morality vs. Mission

Of course, it should never be one versus the other, but it works for this idea.

Damien was saying how he, as a youth pastor, found it very hard to find camps/retreats that were not just dealing with 'personal morality'. He wanted something for his students to experience that was more integral and holistic and concerned the Kingdom of Heaven.

So this got us talking (and me thinking) about how so much of Christianity is about personal morality and not about the mission or dreams of God brought about in this world. Now, of course, personal morality is important in bringing about God's Kingdom, right? I mean, it cannot exist if we are all selfish bastards who climb to the top in order for few to have excess and most to have nothing, right? So, yes, personal morality is important.

But here's the problem with the way it's presented these days: It's not about joining God in his work in the world (and personal morality being a part of that), but instead it is about doing things because that is how the socio-religious structure/institution has told you to be. You know?

Perhaps involving students, young people, old people, people like me, people like you, in Kingdom 'experiments' then that would help them make the connection to personal morality instead of the other way around. "Become personally pure to reach out to heal the world" doesn't really seem to work because it creates a sense of distance from the 'least of these', doesn't it?

Of course both things must be held in tension. Sometimes I find myself longing or engaged in the work of God, but my temper is ridiculous. What the hell?!?

The gospel must be holistic: personal, but not private... global, not national... physical, mental, spiritual, what-have-you...

I was getting a filling yesterday. I hate those things. But it was the gospel at work in my mouth. Thank God that science has progressed far enough to allow my teeth to last longer. But damn it hurt!

Okay, enough babble. What do you think I do? Sit around and write letters all day? Geez!


Brian Aaby said...

That'd be a cool camp to start!
I agree that much of what we (the church) focus on has more to deal with the personal... interesting way to look at it, I think I'll sit on that one for awhile... thanks for the engagement.

medicman327 said...

Holy Cow, Ryan. Picked up "A New Kind of Christian"... totally blowing my mind. I'm only on the second chapter. We definitely need to talk. Safe travels to Thailand.