Abductive Columns

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Religion or Christianity: My Hertitage Leaves Everyone An Example

Off and on, over and over, again and again—I’ve contemplated leaving my heritage. I’ve gone from Pharisee to recovering Pharisee to grace, from traditional to non-traditional; through the years I’ve studied myself out of the Campbellite propositions and doctrines. The congregation I assemble with is a Church of Christ but not of the traditional mainline Church of Christ so many have felt the sting of (they've had the distinction of being listed as a cult). In Huntington, West Virginia there is 7-8 Churches of Christ. Essentially all have dis-fellowshipped us. Cool! Praise God!

Through the years the mainline Church of Christ has left an odious aroma that’s anything but a sweet fragrance. This morning one of my partners-in-Christ gave me a letter written in rejection of his application as a substitute teacher in a Christian school. Why? Because of the trail the Churches of Christ have left in their wake. Exclusivity, a we're right—you’re wrong theology, and condemnation; either join us or you’ll become kindling for the fires of Hell. What a terrible legacy we’ve left. It will take generations to overcome our exclusivity, pride, arrogance and (a ton of) ignorance. Is it any wonder so many want to drop the name Church of Christ?

But there is an emerging. Many Churches of Christ joyfully reject legalism and embrace grace accepting all those attempting to live like Christ.



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7 Comments:

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous ron said...

If this is the way we treat brothers and sisters " in Christ ", really, what hope is there for those on the fringes...or out side the little circle of perfection.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger Larry said...

A healthy AMEN to this post!

Anyone nurtured in the traditional "my way or the highway" CoC will have a difficult time understanding the beautiful concept of grace.

I'm considered a rampant "change agent" by many of my brethren, but I consider this an honor; Jesus was surely the greatest change agent the world has ever seen.

Generally the younger generation in the CoC are not as gullible as the oldsters, and perhaps in time this new wave of believers in the grace of God will prevail.

 
At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I struggle with you attitude towad the other cofC congregations in Huntington, Fred. I fail to see the love of Christ. I know that it is human nature to feel anger and resentment for the way that Norway has been treated by the area congregations. None the less we are all SUPPOSED to be setting our eyes on Jesus and not on those around us. I am sure that John was disappointed, but maybe you should be frustrated with a school who denies a job to a man who loves the LOrd and is a good teacher.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger Fred Peatross said...

Obviously, I'm frustrated mostly with us. Yet my frustration goes beyond the local (Norway) church. I'm frustrated with my heritage--the decades of exclusivism has left others a concern that is threanting and real.

What is makes me sad is the "old" Church of Christ (that reeks with modernism) is not representative of what I believe or what many within my heritage believe.

Who can blame the denominations. We condemned them for years.

You're correct--look to Jesus. But this blog is read by many and I feel it is important to tell the real story...here.

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred,

I agree we all have skeletons in our closets that we would rather ignore than deal with. It was not that many years ago, when an African-American was not welcomed in a "white" congregation and visa versa. Do you not think that the Catholics are embarassed by the reaction of their leaders to the child molesting priests? Again I say that we should all be looking to Jesus to measure ourselves. When we look to Him, all the other things of the past do not matter. You might say that that is well and good but how do those from other churches deal with our history? We should be encouraging them to measure themselves up against Jesus. I too am frustrated by our heritage, but become much less so frustrated when I put my focus on Jesus. When my focus is on Him, the narrowmindedness of some in our brotherhood causes me to feel sorrow for them but to love them none the less. Isn't it funny how we cut those outside of our families more slack than those who belong to our family?

Lest you think that I cannot see your point, I do. But, in the spirit of Christ, was attempting to encourage you to focus on Jesus and let the chips fall where they may.

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger Fred Peatross said...

I am closer in my walk with Jesus than I have ever been and I pray tomorrow I'll be even closer.

I write about this incident as an example of the negative, sometimes cultish wake we've left behind us as we've plowed our way through the religious world with our "we're-right-your-wrong" theology. It states facts and the feeling I have toward the sum of our influence. It's a blog post-rant.

I'm a writer with a growing readership. Writers see things thru different lens than readers. Hence, the difference between my understanding of this and yours. You come from a reader's viewpont, I come from a writer's.

My blog receives a large number of hits each day and it is listed on the Church of Christ Blogdigger, an aggregate of blogs among the Church of Christ. This gives Abductive Columns a leavening influence among those who read--but this short post should not be critera for determining whether or not I'm focused on Jesus. I'm not walking around mad about this--I simply felt it was blog-worthy.

Hey, what this anonymous stuff?

 
At 3:08 PM, Blogger Jason Elder said...

Fred, first time to read your blog. Thanks for the honesty. I have had similar situations from other denoms, not CoC. I have the read the posts and I'm really interested in the fact that when someone bears their soul other believers almost down play the hurt and the pain. I've had that said and done to me so many times. The Scriptures do say "look unto the Lord," but at the same time we have to look at others and say, "Shame." I mean, so many times someone posts a reply or sends a card and leaves it in my box at my church office and says something and yet doesn't leave their name. Quiet frustrating because I want to have a dialogue and not multiple monolgoues.

Thanks for the honesty and for the fairness. I feel that you balance it with grace and truth.

 

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