At Inland Church on Sunday we had our second annual Family Retreat gathering, where Lisa Bowman walked us through the responses to a survey she sent out to the IC family. I just want to say how good it is that we’re able to provide feedback (negative and positive) to the leadership, and to have a voice in the trajectory Inland has in the future. No other church I’ve been a part of has done this! And many churches are too big for this to happen in the same way. It allows me to feel more invested, and I hope that’s the case for others too.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the night, at least for me, was the discussion around the desire by one respondent to keep their faith while trying “to abandon the Christian culture that raised me.”
I’m pretty sure I didn’t write that, but I’m on a similar journey. From my perspective, there’s a subset of the media and Christian culture that have have entangled the relationship between conservative politics and religion. For people like me, who learned about Jesus, the Bible, Salvation, and what it means to be a Christian from inside this bubble, there’s not an easy path out. It’s been a yearlong process of re-evaluating what I learned and separating it from what’s actually in the Bible. All the while I need to balance that to what the progressive culture says I should believe about those same things. And, just to keep things exciting, there’s probably a Bible verse or 2 to support just about any position you can pick on any topic! In our conversation D.O. used the word “deconstruction” to describe that journey.
Side note: Exegesis and hermeneutics are great tools for weeding out bad interpretations of scripture, but that’s a topic for a different blog.
In my head, deconstruction is kinda like cleaning out my closet. There are 2 piles: keep and trash. The stuff that still fits, doesn’t have holes or stains, and is still in fashion goes back on a hanger or on the shelf. The stuff that doesn’t goes into the trash (sorry, there’s no option for donating in my analogy). In his wisdom, Rand pointed out in the meeting that we don’t need to be trashing all our discarded clothes/beliefs. It’s not as clean or easy or simple, but keeping those clothes/beliefs packed away somewhere as we continue to assess our faith and beliefs throughout our lives is a good practice.
God doesn’t change, but we do. Our culture, our life stages, our sinfulness will taint our ability to see Him accurately, and it’s our responsibility to accept change as a part of a healthy relationship with God.