Steven Cuss took to The Jesus Creed (Scot McKnight’s blog) to respond to Francis Chan about the church. This is all about a very valid and, I think, much needed conversation about the church.
When we criticize the church in America there can be many responses.
- Defensive – we are really, truly doing good things
- Could be worse – we have our problems, but we’re doing some good stuff
- Look at you – you’re making more mistakes than we are (or you have in the past)
- You’re too critical – you shouldn’t point out our problems because that’s negative
There are a few more, I suppose, but those will do.
The problem is that as long as we use these various responses, reform or correction will definitely not happen. Once we have responded, we have generally also minimized our need to act. We function a bit like a vehicle stuck in mud or sand. You can stomp the accelerator because you need to get moving, but all you do is rock a bit forward and then a bit back.
I think that often describes our churches. We don’t take the serious steps that are needed to really have an impact on our culture. We want to be a little bit different, mostly in the sense that we attend church, but not be real salt, scattered through and changing everything.
Now not all criticism is useful. Not all criticism is valid. But a great deal is. The person who aims to change cannot pre-moderate his or her comments. If you are making a call for reform, and nobody is getting upset, you probably aren’t doing it right.
My blog header proclaims me a “passionate moderate” amongst other things. I think moderation is a good thing if you’ve found the right range of options and the right position. But sometimes the right thing is what everyone else regards as an extreme. I’d really like to find that “moderate” position at the center of God’s will.
How about you?