Archive for April, 2013

“Trendianity”

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Someone shared with me Justin Lee’s blog on “Trendianity.”  ”Trendianity” possesses real force, one to watch for in churches.  His clever words ….

… the heart of Trendianity is an obsession with the things most important to me. Trendianity says that my priorities are also God’s priorities. It says that the most pressing issues for the faith are the trending hot-button political and social issues of my own time and culture. If I disapprove of Elvis’s hips, then so does Trendianity. If I have a strong opinion about my country’s economic policy, Trendianity is there to back me up. And if, in fighting for my political beliefs, I talk down to people or treat them poorly, Trendianity makes me feel justified. After all, surely the Golden Rule isn’t meant to apply to situations where I’m fighting for the Really Important Stuff. Right?

The thing is, followers of Trendianity consider themselves Christians. They’d say they’re among Jesus’ most devout followers. And sometimes they are! Even those of us who actively criticize Trendianity don’t always avoid its seductive draw. We’re following Jesus faithfully when something shiny catches our gaze, and before we know it, we’ve gotten sidetracked following a false Christ who promises to save us from the People We Don’t Like Very Much. It may look like Jesus from a distance, but that’s not Jesus.

The Biblical Jesus was famously countercultural. He defied the sexism and racism of his day. He befriended the outcasts and ate with the sinners. When the religious leaders in his culture were focused on legalistic rules, he broke them. When his contemporaries were focusing on political controversies with Rome, he ignored them to feed and heal people. Jesus was not the Messiah his culture expected. The faith he demonstrated was one of overwhelming grace beyond all cultural boundaries.

By contrast, Trendianity is hopelessly tied to the culture. We laugh or cringe at the silly things its followers said and did in generations past, but we’re sure that no one will think that about us. No, Trendianity assures us, our issues really are the most important ones. We’ve finally gotten it right. God really is more concerned with passing this piece of legislation than with all that humility stuff. It says so in the Bible.

Well, maybe not in the Bible, but it was in a trendy religious magazine I read, and that’s almost as good.

 

Thoughts on Church In Camden

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Beautiful morning Easter.  Incredible.  Waking at 3:00 AM to be at church by 4:30 AM.  Not normal.  But no traffic!

Church in Camden at Sacred Heart Easter morning.  The morning still sits there a few days later.

I am deeply tired of church as proclamation, church as shrill righteousness …a concoction more acidic than life giving. And I likewise tire of shallow church, churches where we resolutely refuse the freeing sacrifice that is a life of faith …. long obedience in one direction.

I loved the honesty of Sacred Heart in Camden. A place clearly, that Easter morning, where hope knows suffering, a Christianity not about effortless perfection but about costly forgiveness as Samuel Wells would phrase it.  That is honesty!  It spoke to the waves of patient growth we witness in this congregation.

We are all broken,  We all experience loneliness.  We all hope!   It was all there Easter morning.