Sunday, March 1, 2009

the name change

It didn't take a week for me to change the name of the blog! There were three reasons: first, I was still trying to figure out how this blog page sets up; second, I realized there are a lot of folks who have the "muse"; and third, my commitment to Jesus Christ is evidenced in my commitment to the church - which is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is where we experience what it means to serve and love God and neighbor, where we become truly human, and our soul is restored.

It's not an overstatement to say that the church is "called out" of the world to be the community of the reconciled and the reconciling. We are reconciled to God in Christ, and we
should experience reconciliation to one another under the Word in the church. Yet, I'm sure that most Christians, if not all of us, would raise our hands if asked whether we had not experienced reconciliation and restoration of our souls in one or more institutions called "churches." In my work as a chaplain, I frequently hear the words, "I'm a Christian [or "I'm spiritual"] but I don't/ won't go to any church, because _[insert story of abuse, gossip, deceit, petty cliques, money-grubbing (real or perceived), betrayal or political machinations here]__."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book, Life Together, noted that this behavior reveals the absence of community gathered by the Holy Spirit in genuine spiritual love.
"Human love has little regard for the truth. It makes the truth relative, since nothing, not even the truth, must come between it and the beloved person. Human love desires the other person, his company, his answering love, but it does not serve him. On the contrary, it continues to desire even when it seems to be serving. ...Human love cannot tolerate the dissolution of a fellowship that has become false for the sake of genuine fellowship, and human love cannot love an enemy, that is, one who seriously and stubbornly resists it. Both spring from the same source: human love is by its very nature desire - desire for human community. So long as it can satisfy this desire in some way, it will not give it up, even for the sake of truth, even for the sake of genuine love for others. But where it can no longer expect its desire to be fulfilled, there it stops short - namely, in the face of an enemy. There it turns into hatred, contempt, and calumny.
"Right here is the point where spiritual love begins. This is why human love becomes personal hatred when it encounters genuine spiritual love, which does not desire but serves..." (pp. 34-35)

Our churches should be offering hope, healing, restoration and reconciliation to God and one another by the power of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Christ in our midst. We certainly can't offer this only with our human nature and abilities!

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