Sunday, February 24, 2008

Defending the Faithless?

I used to believe in "defending the faith once delivered to the saints." I am finding more often that I need to defend those who stand outside my faith system against those who are within it. Do you find that you sometimes need to defend the "faithless" against the "faithful?"

23 comments:

Agent B said...

Yes. I'm seeing that come up in my life more & more.

Kieran Conroy said...

When/if I officially start my own ministry, I will most likely include "defending the faithless since 2000!!" as a tagline.

Another might be "Christianity- handle with care" and "Do not stick in eye!" (ok, that was an awful Matthew 7:3 pun, sorry :P)

In all seriousness, a difficult but very real experience, for everyone tonight. I'll be praying for all of us this week.

carl said...

what does "defending the faith once delivered to the saints" mean?

cern said...

Yes, I do find I have to defend Christians against those who have been hurt by other Christians behaving badly. It's needed rather a lot.

Yeah, I'm taking this from the other angle. But as a Pagan I'd find it hard to take it from the same angle. :D

BB

Mike

I am the Eggman said...

I dig the post. I have found recently that I am far more empathetic towards those outside the Institutional Church. I have witnessed far to much carelessness on the part of the church toward those outside of it's walls. The church ought to light the path to faith, but instead it often lays out obstacles and landmines. I see our roll as the removers of those obstacles or the guides to a different path.

Thanks for the great post.

seithman said...

Like Cern, I often find myself reminding some Pagans that not all Christians are the monsters that have hurt them in the past. Which is a shame, because some of you guys really are great.

-- Jarred.

Webb said...

I've said for years that the church pushes more people away from Jesus than it leads to Him. Really, when one considers how badly the Church has failed at its mission over the centuries, it is a testament to the incredible power of the Holy Spirit to draw men to God. If God were taken out of the equation, Christianity wouldn't have made into the 4th century.

Kieran Conroy said...

I radically believe that, whenever people are being hurt or persecuted, Jesus is there already. And that we're called to be there with them, to follow our Lord to stand for and with those who are made "least" by anyone- even the church.

I spent a Samhein with a pagan community in NJ... suggested they do their ritual outside, because the night was so beautiful... they told me, however that they were afraid of being seen and labeled as satanists, kicked out of the camp they've used for years simply for practicing their faith. I felt, for the first time in my life what the first Christians must have experienced. That moment was profoundly holy to me, opened my eyes in Empathy.

The odd thing is, I always thought myself the furtherest thing from a missionary. But more and more lately I've been finding people wanting to talk about Jesus because of my lived example, imperfect as it is. I'm not sure what that means, but if I have the chance to show another, truer face of the Christian God, I consider us all richly blessed.

Talked to an Evangelical army chaplain today who drove Jewish students across the Iraqi desert so they could attend a synagogue service before an engagement. That, imho is the Love of Christ.

seithman said...

Kieran: That is an absolutely awesome thing for your chaplain friend to do. I wish they were all like that.

Sadly, my cousin is married to a Navy chaplain who...well, let's just say he isn't nearly as understanding. In fact, I've had to endure listening to him at various family functions complain about those "uppity Wiccans" who he's expected to accommodate as a part of his chaplaincy.

-- Jarred.

Kieran Conroy said...

Seithman- I'm really sorry to hear about your situation- and I'm sure its not always so perfect. Was just watching a sneak peak of Constantine's Sword, which looks into the recent scandel at the Air Force academy where a Jewish student was being HEAVILY pressured by a chaplaincy which had basically entered into a full partnership with a local church, gross ethical violations.

As my friend put it, while he believes in spreading the Gospel he sees the chaplaincy as a challenging but sacred trust- people of many faiths are depending on your in some of the toughest situations on earth, and you never know who you will be called to serve. By working to defend the rights and sancitity of ALL people's trust in the military chaplaincy, he is creating an environment where all faiths are more safe- including his own. He's been awed to see how working as a diverse team has taught them so much, and change people's lives.

Wiccans still have some of the toughtest pressure, the first Arlington Cemetary pentagram gravestone was finally approved after a multi-year battle when the family should have been left to mourn their fallen hero. A good friend's godmother, one removed in the lineage of Gardiner was able to offer prayers at the funeral, and he tells me it was beautiful- if far too delayed.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey B Bud,

Good to see you here. I can not help but think this is a growing trend as church culture and national culture move further apart. Are we destined to offend because we grow more misunderstood?

Pastor Phil said...

Kieran,

Nice tagline!

Pastor Phil said...

Carl,

It is a quote from the book of Jude which is used in counter-cult ministry, and apologetics to describe the work of defending the doctrinal content of orthodoxy, and keeping the church free from false doctrine. Though I feel the faith should be "defended" I also feel that while evangelicals have majored in defending the faith they have often offended "the faithless."

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Mike Cernie bro!

A Pagan defending Christians hurt by Christians? Who woulda thought!?

Pastor Phil said...

Eggman,

Thanks for a great response as well! May your empathy grow even greater!

Pastor Phil said...

Jarred,

Thanks. Some of you Pagans are great people as well. No, not some - MOST.

Pastor Phil said...

Webb,

Hope all is well in Nashville.

How true. God has to do the end run around us to reach people far to often, and here we've asked to be a part of His work of grace. Perhaps it is a work of grace and a miracle, because He has to work in spite of our help.

Pastor Phil said...

Kieran,

Thanks for the Samhain, and Army Chaplain stories. Good poignant stuff.

Pastor Phil said...

Jarred,

"Uppity Wiccans?" Dang, who's getting uppity here?

Pastor Phil said...

Kieran,

The pentagram used for the gravestones in Arlington were designed by a lady here in Salem who was a major part of that battle over the may years. Perhaps you will get a chance to meet her soon.

Kieran Conroy said...

Wow, small world. I would certainly love to see that happen!

Kieran

Adam Gonnerman said...

Yes, it happens with me from time to time.

LizzBeth said...

"Really, when one considers how badly the Church has failed at its mission over the centuries, it is a testament to the incredible power of the Holy Spirit to draw men to God. If God were taken out of the equation, Christianity wouldn't have made into the 4th century."

Okay, sooo the many failures of the Church are evidence that the Holy Spirit lives. AND the successes of the Church are evidence that the Holy Spirit lives. So, what exactly would make you think the Spirit doesn't live?
Everyone in the entire world, except you, leaving the church? Just curious.