Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Star Wars Church versus Star Trek Church

I've been hanging out with an old buddy lately.
I'll call him 'Captain Jean Luc Picard'
Jean Luc is a pot smoker and is into porn.

I like hanging out with Jean Luc.  
I feel like I can be totally honest and be myself without having to worry about Jean Luc feeling shocked or uncomfortable or challenging his world view.  
But what I really enjoy about his company is that I never have to worry about being judged for anything that I may say or do.
Jean Luc unconditionally accepts me.

I think that it is a shame that this is a rare thing.
I suspect that it would be rare for a lot of people everywhere.
I've been in faith communities for my whole life.
Many of them claim to accept everyone 'where they are'
I don't find that this is always true.  And I suspect that this (more than pedophile priests) is why faith communities get accused of hypocrisy.
I don't often find unconditional acceptance in faith communities, it seems like I have to leave the faith community to get it.  The down side is that me and Picard tend to morally stagnate outside of the challenges of a faith community. (by morally stagnate I don't mean that we start doing 'bad' things, I mean we stop doing selfless things)

I have another friend, I'll call him Boba Fett.
Boba Fett was going out with a Leah for about a year and was not happy.
So he decided to break up with her by saying something to the effect of,
'You're just not the kind of person that I could ever love'
I asked Mr. Fett, 'what the HELL is wrong with you?'
There is being honest and then there is being heartless.
There were a million other ways to break up with Leah without going Deathstar on her.
It's called tact.  Christians call it 'telling the truth in love'
It's a cool theory,  I don't know how well it works in practice (not because of the theory, I think people are the weak link here).
The funny thing is that as soon as Boba Fett left Leah's apartment he remembered that he left his grappling hook on the table, he went back to the door to go get it (it was a very important grappling hook) but he could hear Leah sobbing through the walls of the apartment.
So he decided to let it go.
Good choice.
Later Boba confided to me that the fact that I questioned his decision about how he broke up with Leah really struck him.
He said that none of his other bounty hunter friends would ever call him out on anything of his action that may have been questionable.
He was convicted and valued my accountability.

I want to be a part of a faith community where I can be totally and unconditionally accepted.
I was at a church in California a while back and I was served barbecue  ribs by heroine addicts.
The principle of this church was that we heal from our wounds, not by focusing ourselves, but by healing others.
I can dig that.
I've seen a lot of churches that invites people into their community... BUT THERE IS A CONDITION.
If you are a pot smoker, then you have to admit that it is wrong  and you have to be taking steps towards 'recovery'
You can be a tranny-stripper, but it has to be a part of your past testimony.
R.C. Sproul thinks that God's 'holiness' is his premier trait, more than his love.
I think R.C. Sproul is a condescending tool and should get spanked by Joel Olsteen's pimp.
Ravi Zacharias says, 'Jesus did not come to make bad people good, he came to make dead people live.'

no one is perfect
But there are sins that are acceptable in a church, that won't go confronted.
things that are under the radar like gossip, self righteousness, envy, wrath, gay bashing, gluttony, greed, lust (I don't mean porn, I mean the husband that doesn't care if his wife has an orgasm as long as he is satisfied), democrat bashing, vanity and laziness.
It all boils down to selfishness.
I saw a defensive Christian bumper sticker that said, 'not perfect, just forgiven'
I gotta say, some people that are 'just forgiven' can be really unforgiving.
(in their defense, churches are filled with people that are hurting (some of them know it and some of them don't), and people that are hurting tend to hurt those around them)

Dinesh D'Souza said that, "Coerced virtue can never be true virtue, it can only have the outward semblance of virtue."
Pretending to be holy for conditional acceptance is worse than hypocritical it is living in isolation.
I've heard the argument that if you have church members running around doing what ever they wanted then it would cease to be a church.
I don't think unconditional acceptance is the same as endorsement.
And a faith based community ought to have faith that their community of faith is going to thrive.

I think that Jean Luc will have problems if he expects unconditional acceptance as his condition to accept others.  Remember no one is perfect, some are just forgiven.
I think that if you want unconditional acceptance it will be easier if you are unconditionally accepting of others.
I think that, like virtue, acceptance cannot be regulated.  
I think that the only way to know if someone, or a faith community, will accept you is to be yourself and trust them and give them an opportunity to accept or reject you.
It is scary, no one wants to expose themselves to rejection.  It takes faith and the alternative is pseudo-righteous isolation or selfish stagnation.

I think that people like Boba Fett do need to be challenged to be a better bounty hunter, but it has to be requested.  You cannot force accountability, it has to be done in cooperation with someone you trust that unconditionally accepts you.