Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Evangelical Performance Plan

As I move on and come to terms with past I am reminded of how it still is in the old camp. On my Facebook feed is a picture of some of my daughter's former friends holding a sign protesting human trafficking.  Or another post bragging about a summer trip to Haiti, the common theme here is pride and works are what lead you to salvation. There is nothing spectacular in leading a normal life and making a difference expecting nothing for it.

Since the theology is shallow and performance based you are on a treadmill or trying to climb a ladder to holiness. My wife I have talked about how we strategically volunteered whild there to get our names out so our kids were treated better by the leaders there. Since we weren't rich we had to try that much harder to be accepted there.

I caved in when I falsely convinced myself that my old church had changed from when I was a kid. I swore I would never let my daughter go through the same shit I did in the youth group. I befriended the youth pastor and tried to stay involved.  However, the problem ended up being my daughter's mentally ill small group leader. She used the same tactics of guilt and shame that were en vogue during my youth.

Guess what happened my daughter ended up having a falling out with her and came to the new church with us. This was a costly descision for her since she lost all of her friends bin then process.  I still kick myself to this day as I allowed this to happen to my daughter. At least I pulled my family out of ther and my boys won't have to go through any of this.

My daughter de-friended this kook on Facebook and she sent my daughter a guilt trip inducing message. She complained to her about not conforming like the other girls in the small group and how she basically expected something out of her time volunteering. Instead of loving and accepting the girls in her group ubder her charge, she projected her needbon to them. This further pointed out nobody there volunteers for the right reasons. They are slaves to Jesus and furthering his "gospel".

I went to book club with some Lutheran pastors recently and we discussed Forde's book Where God Meets Man. Discussed throughout is a theology of the ladder and how we try to climb up to heaven by works. Forde posits God meets us here on earth through the simple elements of water, wine and bread.  We are in the law all week long and it breaks us down and convicts us of our sin. Coming to a service with holy communion is where Christ becomes present on earth for us and sustains us to go out and survive another week.

This is much simpler and I realized I made everything surrounding belief too difficult.  I was right to reject the heresy being taught there. I also understand why people jettison belief altogether as it is healthier that living in this legalistic paradigm. I still don't know why I still believe and attend church,  I guess you could say it is the Holy Spirit.

When you can't blindly accept what others tell you life gets more complicated.  You have to chase all issues that bother you and read to find the truth on your own. The internet helps you find folks along the way who have dealt with the same issues and are in different places on their journey. This has been great for me so I don't feel so alone and gives me strength to plow forward.

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