Friday, July 08, 2005

Too little, Too late

This will be far too sporadic, short, unthoughtout, and logically flawed, but I don't have internet access in my village and I think i have some kind of intestinal worm or bacteria. This also is far to late as it is in response to jonny's post several weeks ago, but I don't really care.

This is about the discussions we like to have about "the failure of the church."

First I would like to contradict everything that follows and say "yes, of course your right, Jonny, the church has failed and failed huge and most everything in life I hate is its fault."

But I wonder what we mean when we say the church has failed. I have two problems with statements of these sorts. The first is that despite our attempts to reject pragmatic and capitalist mindsets we still freely fall into their traps. In a post where we write that capitialism/mcworld might not be all its cracked up to be, we speak from behind its own muzzle. How are we able to do things like measure the success of the church? Will the church not have failed if there wasn't aids in africa, does the church count as a success if rwanda, sudan, DRC, cambodia, you name it, doesn't happen or at least Christian do something about it? Did mother tereasa, dorthy day, martyered central american priests, nameless christian in nameless godforsaken war/poverty zone really do anything which can be measured? Does it matter if they did? Did Jesus do anything other than walk around, feed some guys, hug some lepers, and get killed? Couldn't Jesus have been a lot more effective? The problem is that our lives as Christians are to be lived in such a manner that the success of them cannot be measured. This is why people hate pacifism. In a capitalistic paradigm it almost always looks like a failure. Failure can always be measured (well almost, and perhaps a lot of failure isn't as much failure as it seems), but how can Christian success be measured? Surely we wouldn't suggest in souls saved, mouths fed, small one room concrete houses built? If christian success can be measured in these terms then, is it a failure to care for the mentally handicapped? To love and hold the hand of a person that may never "change" (as in stop being mentally handicapped) or "accomplish great tasks" for thier whole life is in these terms a collasal waste of time and failure, is it not?

Secondly, I also feel like our cynicism misses the beauty of this. Of course the church has failed. The whole story of the church is one of beautiful terrible failure. People trying so hard or not trying so hard that they end up with collasal failure. I thought that our shared love of life, grace, the bible, and Magnolia, would remind us of this. We all well know that all the bible hot shots, were for the most part terrible failures trying to serve god, but instead killing, destroying, and ruining everything. Maybe I have the rich white luxury of saying this, but I think that in a way its beautiful. This is the story of the church, human kind, myself, trying poorly, failing badly, drinking a big tall glass of grace.

This said, I'm not saying I'm glad Christians colonized Africa, and yes I think the church should be doing more, that christians are complacent, trapped in materialism, nihilism, racism, capitalism, socialism, whatever else ism you want to throw around. But to speak of the failure of the church ignores the fact that this may not be something we can really know, nor something we can do anything about. What we can do is something with what we know or think we know. And maybe to do that invovles speaking to the glaring errors of the past. Or maybe it just means living truthfully together in such a manner that we can truly love our neighbor as ourselves. Living truthfully doesn't mean that we aren't going to completely stop lying, beating our wives, bombing nameless humans of other races for corporate gain. It means we are going to try, it means we are trying. And trying means failing as well as succeeding. And that's were grace comes in. And grace, as we all know is the most beautiful nectar of berry flavored dreams.

But you knew all that.

As a side note for those of you fools who don't think being late is a virtue, my brother normally commutes to London on one of the buses that was bombed and would have been on it at the time of the bombing but he was late that day and so took a different bus. So next time I am late remember that one day it will probably save my life. and not yours

Also I apologize for not having much time to post here on the site. I love you humans and I love you stongly.


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