(Part Two of at least three or four……)
If, as stated here yesterday, true vision fosters or leads to or results in right conduct, then we need to evaluate the vision. We need to be certain the vision is true. I believe the vision in our churches, the vision presented by our elders and preachers, needs to be tweaked. Or, in some cases, probably overhauled.
It seems that the vision a lot of churches create for Christians is one of looking inward to the here and now, all but ignoring the future there and then. A concentration on the Bible as a pattern or blueprint for how things are to be done instead of as a collection of inspired pictures to communicate to us what happens when one encounters the living God keeps us focused on the rules. And those rules are more and more about what we do in our Sunday assemblies and less about what we do with the other six days of the week. Ironically, the Bible has much to say about daily living in the world and very little to say about organized corporate worship. The whole of Scripture supports those priorities. But , instead, we seem to care more about what happens during our one hour of worship time on Sunday mornings than we care about how we act at work, at the park, or in line at the bank.
We’ve allowed the Sunday morning assembly to define our Christianity. We judge faithfulness based on how many assemblies one attends each year. The phrase “She’s a faithful member…” means she’s there every time the doors are open. Nothing more, nothing less. We rate churches on the “doctrinally sound” scale based on what and how they do that Sunday morning time.
When we see the Church as Sunday morning only and we see our lives as Christians centered on being there those Sunday mornings, Church and the Christian life becomes just another compartment in our world. Just as what I do in church has nothing to do with whether I make a sale at work or not, what I do at the office has nothing to do anymore with my walk with Christ. It’s all separate. Neither necessarily informs the other. And neither is necessarily more important than the other. People at work don’t care whether I go to church or not, just as long as I perform my job effectively. And, increasingly, people at church don’t really care anymore about what I do at work or play, as long as I’m there and worshiping correctly on Sunday mornings. It’s completely secularized.
Church and Christianity seem to be just another part of our world when it truly is a completely different world altogether that informs how we live in this world. And until we can learn to see our world in the reality of the cross, see how the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ and the promises we have in that salvation act impact all of reality, our character won’t change and neither will our actions.
There needs to be a mindset developed in the Church that everything we do and say and think is directly controlled by our God. Our actions are determined beforehand by what God has done for us, is doing for us currently, and has promised to do for us tomorrow. It all has to be connected. There cannot be a thought that what one does at work has very little to do with one’s claim to be a follower of Christ. It has everything to do with it!
But where do we start? What do we do? How do we tweak or overhaul the vision?