Originally Published at the wiblog (old blog) on June 28th.
You’ve likely heard that hymn, right?
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking.
I’m thinking about it today because there has been some growing upheaval in my world and I’m trying to negotiate it all. It isn’t that my faith is being tested really, which is why this hymn’s appropriate, my solid rock is firm, it’s just that, unfortunately the sweetest frame of my church and church leaders has had my trust in it rather badly dented and, quite frankly, it has me quietly withdrawing from much that goes on there, and even occasionally going elsewhere to worship.
Can you imagine the internal conflict that goes with that? It challenges all sorts of beliefs and paradigms I’ve had be those before coming to Sydney or after, and while I’m not in any way dragging down the church as a whole, or even really the genuine intentions of the leadership, but it has become increasingly challenging for me to have knowledge of what goes on behind closed doors which causes me to lose my trust in that which I hear from the pulpit. (Now, as I’m aware that there are those of you who actually know the congregation of which I speak, I want to categorically state that I’m in no way making accusation of any kind of scandalous impropriety in any of the leaders etc.)
In broad strokes, the area in which I’m finding the most conflict is this. We are an apostolic church with a vision to influence the city we’re in (and by extension the world) for Christ. We want for people to see the great change in their personal worlds, to give them the opportunity to meet Christ and find his plan/path/vision for their life and to see their lives radically changed with the peace, love, and hope that comes with faith in God. Sounds good, right?
They’re all noble goals, to be sure, and I believe them to be good and great and possible but I’m getting increasingly wary of following a massive vision handed down by a leader and the posse of people gathered up behind him. I’m cautious about only hearing the voice of Christ through one man’s vision, I’m questioning the ethos behind the vision becoming more important than the people who are passionate about bringing it about and who’ve given time, energy, money and in some cases their lives, to the service of God through that vision only to be discarded when the vision became about the next generation.
We’re undergoing change, we’re a huge ship being steered into a new course, a new younger, hipper, course and in that process a whole bunch of sterling individuals have found themselves surplus to requirement. The means for effecting this change has been, to put it baldly, pitifully managed. It seems to me that I’m seeing a culture develop where people are disposable and when I’m hearing things to cover those injustices, that sound like “it’s not comfortable, but I believe that “Ps _____” hears from God so we’ll go with it” I get all KINDS of itchy. Yes, I’m sure he hears from God, but I do too. So do you, but to put one’s head up above the parapet to voice any contrary thought or idea is to have the leadership lose faith in you and to fall out of favour and to find yourself leaving the in-crowd for the fringe.
I love the leaders here, I have been loved by the leaders here but I fear that love to be conditional upon my wholehearted support of where we’re going and how we get there and I cannot give it.
And this breaks my heart.