Living with Godly tension

Albert Bogle April 11, 2016 0 0
Living with Godly tension

I’m aware of a growing number of Christian people who have stopped attending church because for them what is being talked about and modelled in many of our churches is far removed from their everyday experience and the things for which they continue to be passionate. For them their search for truth has led them out of church but not the Church.

The disturbing thing is that many of these Christians were at one time leaders within their church. Some of them are now what could be described as believers in search a homeland.

When you speak to this group of people they don’t seem to have lost their passion for the teachings of Jesus or their search for meaning. Somehow they have become disconnected from organised religion. They will turn up at eco-festivals and events that have a vaguely Christian connection, for the rest of the time they sustain themselves through personal Bible reading and prayer, reading novels, watching films, attending music concerts and book clubs, going to the gym and even the occasional social evening, mixing with others who once were part of the organised “Christian Club,” we call “Sunday Worship”.

When you examine the reasons behind their dis-ease it often stems from a changing perception of what they once thought to be an undeniable truth. What we and they are experiencing is a revolt against a simplistic approach to church that seeks to equate spiritual growth and passion with an unthinking approach to scripture and an unwavering loyalty to any kind of authority that demands a conformity of thought. Often this group of people don’t realise that there are many people like themselves who live within the community of the church with integrity, but who are living through and with the same tensions.

The great challenge for the church in mission and worship today is to read beyond the techno gismo culture of the 21st century and  understand the longing for relationships  that are reflected in the so called,” Google Culture”.  

The Church needs to in the words of Jesus “stop straining out gnats” and begin to connect with the real issues that are at the heart of the human condition. The longing for community, the need to be forgiven, coupled with a passion for equality and fairness.  These are the drivers at the heart of the gospel, which speak to the loneliness and alienation that has become the hallmark of our western civilisation. It also means that we need to think more deeply about what it means to live in tension. 

Discovering faith in Jesus Christ is seldom an instant encounter, many talk of it as a journey. This journey will involve us all asking questions and receiving partial answers and perhaps from time to time living with conflicting answers. While living through this kind of journey one can feel a certain amount of stress. However perhaps we need to understand the difference between being in stress and under stress. The former is to experience the healthy stress that holds a bridge up the later is to understand the effects of being continually under stress until you reach breaking point.

I think we should regard what I have just described as being the healthy stress that holds the bridge up. I would like to see within all our churches a greater willingness to explore what it means to live in godly tension. 

As we approach Pentecost and the teaching surrounding the Spirit bringing us into all truth, could it be that we could travel in expectancy, longing for the day when all mystery will be revealed perhaps to even to reveal a great mystery.  However according to Corinthians chapter thirteen, then we shall be known as we are known. Then we will no longer see through the glass darkly. Until then it is the work of the Holy Spirit to shape us into the likeness of God our Father’s identity.