Sunday, November 27, 2011

Values of the Church: Freedom Redux

Back to the topic of the church, at least of the mega variety. As I continue in this series, I'm going to touch on another aspect of freedom, not quite the same as the one I shared last time.

As I'm laying a foundation for the evaluation portion of the series, namely the values we should bring to the discussion, freedom is third in line behind love and unity. In the first post about freedom, I noted that our freedom in Christ is freedom from sin, and should be exercised humbly, for the good of others - especially the church. In this post, I'm going a bit of a different direction with freedom (exercising some freedom in doing so!) and talking about freedom in our relationship with God.

God created us each uniquely. I am wired to like certain things, to be passionate about certain things, and to connect to certain things. You are wired differently, even if you are wired similarly. That is to say, even if you also like Third Day you may not like The Princess Bride or softball, and so on. Eventually, our interests will diverge. Or, were we to like exactly the same things, to be moved by exactly the same things, the extent to which we are moved, or the importance we put on each thing will be different.

This is not a bad thing. As my wife says, if we're all the same life gets real boring, real quick. We are unique. This should be celebrated. How creative is God to create over 7 billion unique people? Pretty creative. Part of this creativity extends to our own expressions of worship, and our own preferences.

So how does this apply to the discussion? We need to value that insofar as we have freedom to worship God through our own unique tastes, preferences or styles, so do others. If I see a choir, for instance, as being a performance-oriented group and a worship band as being more interactive, I need to understand that others will flip those two perceptions around. If I think having a pastor who wears a suit shows respect for God, I need to also realize that a pastor who wears jeans whilst preaching can be expressing the important truth that, while we look at externals, God cares about who we are behind the apparel. In short, our freedom to worship is not to be kept only to ourselves; we all have the same freedom.

These values all interact with each other, and there are two more to come before we get to the evaluation/critique of the megachurch (and churches in general): selflessness and scripture. So if you are already reading ahead, you may want to hold your fire until we get through those values. But as I'm not one to limit conversation, have at it as you feel led:)

God bless,
Ron