Three streams in the Christianity

Wed 02 November 2005

Today Dave‘s sermon was mainly about the prophetic stream in the Christianity, but before that he was talking about three different streams of the ministry —I was quite pleasantly surprised that his three different streams of Christianity were apparently pretty similar to what I was thinking on the similar theme (although I had only two streams in my model).

The original idea comes from my reading of Floyd McClung’s “Father Makes Us One”—he mentions that many clashes in churches is caused by two different streams in the church: on the one hand there are missionary groups trying to primarily reach to unsaved and then there is the body of local Church itself, which is mainly focused on development of current Christians and the body of Christ. I think that this is very right, but I tried to extend this theory from just practical advice on how to avoid conflicts in the Church to more general theory of many conflicts in the Church as whole. On the one side there are whom I would call “pastors”—people who are deeply interested in building Church (particularly specific local congregation), they care for current Christians, cry with them somewhere in the corner struggling with their personal issues, they study (often poor) popular books on psychology, they support diversity a enjoy spritiual (and psychological) depths (in their best members they could be great mystics). And there are “missionaries”—they running out to the world catching unbelievers and dragging them to Christ, they expect everybody to be pagan and object of their missionary activities (just kidding :-)), they are usually congregated in different para-denominational organizations, they are deeply involved in the sprititual warfare, while the pastors may have tendency to be sometimes too liberal (in the theological meaning of the world), the biggest temptation for them is legalism and superficiality (they have usually tendency to be more interested in the business management and marketing of missionary work then in the mysticism). Of course, that these are just a caricatures made into the extremes, but I think that they may well illustrate my point.

I thought that I could go even further and deeper (you can see, that I have a tendency to be more “pastor” :-)), and that this dichotomy could be paralleled in the dichotomy between masculinity and feminity (we all, both men and women, have both qualities and each of has some combinations of them). Whereas pastor tends to have more developed feminine qualitites (Church as relationships among people and with God), missionaries are more on the masculinity side (Church as an army and organization), and the parallel could go even further. I believe that both types of Christians are absolutely necessary for healthy life of the Church, but it is clear to me that their coexistence has to lead to conflicts, which have to be acknowledged and solved, so that these two types of Christians could live together (Biblical note: it seems to me that these two types of personal traits could not be combined without problems into one person—Jesus could be an exception from this rule—because even God did not create one universal human man-woman, but Adam and Eve). Which lead again to the better vision of the need for unity of Church, and to see how much it is a pitty, that Christians are talking so little with one another (and yes, the situation is slightly better in Czechia than here in the States—thanks to Communists for that). Even worse, not only that we do not talk with one another but we are pretty busy creating artificial barries make such communication even more complicated (see my inability to go to the Lord’s supper at the Catholic conferences).

OK, so this was my idea about the two types of Christians, which Dave made even more complicated. I do not want to give up on the wonderful parallels with masculinity/feminity, but it is true that without including the third type of Christianity and Christians it is hard to deal with (for example) the Black Church, with the Christian activism; the pastors I saw in Roxbury are hugely different from the evangelical crowd I know best, and this different part is certainly a lot about active participation in turning your own community around (be in your church or not).

Of course, much more important then this dry theoretical catalogization of Christians was Dave’s call to the ministry of justice and care for the poor. There is really no way how to get around the fact, that substantial part of the Bible (including famous Micheas 6:8) put care for the poor and disfavored among the most important parts of faith (much more important then more religious activities). “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:26) Suddenly it seems to be more important then personal religiosity, prayers, sacraments, and many other things which are so important.

And yet, I do not know much how to begin this ministry. I know, I heard many times, that the Lord Jesus did not favor anybody, but does it mean, that I should give away all my money (or at least some money) to the random beggars I meet on the street? Probably not. Does it mean, that I should do something myself? Probably yes, but what? I am consoling myself, that we care for Andulka and participate in the Living Waters, but does it mean, that the poor care that much? I do not know. Should I rise my butt and go to help to some soap kitchen or something of that sort? I do not know. Probably, I will just keep this on a back burner (in the same way I deal with evangelization), and if I will meet an opportunity, then I will participate. However, what is the opportunity I am waiting for (“You will have always enough poor”)? I do not know.

Category: faith Tagged: ecumenism

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