the high risk of going to church

"Church Sharks" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Church Sharks” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Not all sharks are man eaters.

Neither are all churches.

But the risks are real.

Something is becoming more clear to me about what I care about and what I do. It’s about unity. I have a fundamental conviction that we are all united at an essential level. Even though we may manifest a diversity of differences, this does not mean we cannot gather in communities together.

People have the right to identify with a certain religion. But can people do that without the restrictions that their religion often imposes?

Can we be a part of a church community, or any community, without having to surrender our own autonomy and freedom?

My cartoons, I’m beginning to realize, mostly circle around this whole issue by challenging those things that undermine and offend our essential unity and try to rob us of our independence.

I suppose this is the age old question: How can I be free without violating the freedom of others?

This is the kind of struggle we happily engage at The Lasting Supper. Join us!

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5 Responses

  1. Pat Pope says:

    Sometimes, the violation of our freedom is our perception versus a reality. We decide whether someone actually is violating our freedom. Sometimes they are, and sometimes we feel that they are without realizing, they can only do that with our permission.

  2. Caryn LeMur says:

    Well… I guess I am a ‘done’, and quite happy on the beach.

    I think that church institutions are overlooking the power of the Internet. The ‘Fractionalization of the Internet’ means that I can go online to chat with a friend on gardening, another friend on Zen, another friend on Yoga, another friend on Jesus, and yet another friend on computer security principles.

    And, if I then need a face to face, I just walk to the corner country market, and chat away.

    Just here, on NP, we have discussed John Crossan, Lutheranism, Vineyard, Christianity in general, church culture, homosexuality and various stances churches have taken, songs we learned as children, as well as transsexualism…. to name the few that came to mind.

    Whew….

    I could not find a church where even 10 people would be interested in all those subjects. And, in the churches I attended in the past, a ‘word’ (ie, gossip) would have been reported to the leadership, and such a meeting would have been quickly taken over (by the leaders) or shut down.

    The Fractionalization of the Internet means that the ‘power’ of the gateway function (controlling or filtering function) of the church is shattered. It is gone. The power has passed to the individuals. We determine what to consider, view, and discuss.

    The Fractionalization of the Internet means that ‘status’ (who is held in esteem) has passed to the person that can reason, consider, and articulate their thoughts…. and often, articulate their humanness, questions, and doubts.

    The Fractionalization of the Internet means that ‘rank’ (who has power by hierarchical position, even if not held in esteem) – rank does not exist. Oh, an ‘admin’ can block you from their web page… but you can start your own web page within a few days… and be your own admin.

    The ‘sharks’ are still using the pre-Internet model when they believe they still have power, status, and/or rank. They view the Internet as one more tool – like a better microphone for the podium. They are certain they beach-goers must swim… or die without them.

    As one person told me, “But the institutional church is God’s chosen instrument!”

    I offer that the people are God’s chosen instrument. The sharks need to morph quickly… and become human.

  3. Dale Yancy says:

    The tension of church community or unity vs. freedom is only an issue to rich Christians who are not being persecuted. When you are part of the persecuted church, this in not much of an issue.

  4. maggie says:

    Oh yes!! Thanks for the intelligent spirituality.

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