Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Reverse Pharisaism

"After years of mediocre churches we were thrilled to find a church that was DIFFERENT. A church where EVERYONE was accepted. We cannot attend BCC if Bill West is the head pastor. I refuse to attend a church where it takes everything in me to not fall asleep and where I am constantly checking the time on my cell phone."

Heh. Apparently EVERYONE is accepted, except for Bill West. ;-)

Seriously, though, in just the short 3.5 days of the myriad conversations about this mess, maybe ignited by Dr. Foster's own sarcastic, hyperbolic description of the elders' preferred direction for the church (at the first Red Caboose meeting), I have heard more times than I'd like this notion that those who support the decision of the elders/staff want a lame, boring, traditional, and even legalistic church.
Um, exsqueeze me? Uh-baking powder?

The irony -- dare I say the "contradiction"? -- in some of these comments is that on the one hand they praise the tolerance and inclusive nature of BCC and on the other hand make clear their distaste for so-called "churchy people."
As if such people would have been attracted to BCC in the first place. As if any people like that would have stuck around in the church long enough to get appointed by Dr. Foster to the elder board. Let's be reasonable, folks.

It smacks of reverse Pharisaism to me. "I thank you Lord that I'm not like that religious person over there."

Three truths needed here:

1) Healthy (and biblical!) churches need disciples in all phases of the journey. Neglecting the mature and maturing believers in favor of the Primacy of the Seeker is just as bad as neglecting the seeker for a case of stale religiosity.

2) Pre-Christians, new Christians, and "baby" Christians cannot grow spiritually without the help, encouragement, teaching, and mentoring of established and mature Christians. You may not want those folks around harshing your vibe; but you do need them. (Just like they need you! That's called "being the Church.")

3) Lastly, it would be very convenient for one side of the conflict if the vision of BCC, as presented in the Core Values and the Statement of Faith, made it clear that the church is for seekers only. But it clearly does not.



At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Lu said...

Rock on. ... or is that Preach on. :)

I'm not a part of BCC -- got sucked into the drama by the news and stumbled upon your blog. But I've been a part of many a-church in my 40 years of living. My church home in LA is called Mosaic; we had a situation somewhat similar in that the elders had to get involved and in the attitude of the staffer asked to leave, but not similar in the details. But oh it rang familiar bells. You are blogging about it in a godly and God-honoring way, in my opinion.

But my point here is not that.

My point here is to agree heartily with you on your point of this post. Being a part of a community that "does church" differently can be a point of both great pride and grandious pride. I came to Nashville to plant a Mosaic here and often heard the exact comments you site as reasons/justifications for Mosaic Nashville, from both my teammates and those whom we reached in the city. It grieved me, the pride I heard in these comments, in the deliverer's tone and attitude. I came to the realization back in '96 when Mosaic LA was going through our staff-firing struggle that it is a rare church that does not struggle or suffer from some community sin. The sin of Mosaic is pride. Has been since the early 60s -- perhaps earlier. And, sadly, still is, though many of us "old timers" are much more corporately humble than we once were. But many of us are still guilty of a reverse-pharisee view of church/community.

I pray blessings for you and all at BCC. And I pray for humility; before BCC is humbled by God (which I find is often called 'humiliation'). The latter costs dearly and hurts like... well, you know.

Blessings to you, bro. And that's for your faithful blogging here to help us outsiders catch a glimpse of the God-stuff inside BCC.


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