Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fitting In: The Opponent of The Good Fight

Fitting in matters huge to be accepted in a church.
Fitting in = agreeing with traditional doctrine, accepted norms, and what people are comfortable with.

Ideally: Two people can have different views and work the mission (fight the good fight) together, loving each other still.
Reality: My views are either so far out there on Crack-Head Lane that I need to be Baker Acted, or fitting in DOES matter to the typical Christian.

Example: From day one of being a minister, the local church has tried to shut down progressive events that didn't fit the norm. My first event as a youth pastor was to hold a beach party, uniting 5 of the local youth groups for the first time in years.

We had about 100 young people playing volleyball, surfing, and cooking out. Well, a guy arrives, swearing at me and my group. “You f*ing people are stealing my G*dd*m kids.” We finally were able to get him to leave. I did not know who he was. Apparently, the other youth pastors did.

They jumped on their cell phones to their senior pastor immediately, loaded up their kids, and left us with burnt burgers and soggy buns. It turns out that this guy was some prominent local pastor and they didn’t want to be associated with us; a group out of the norm.

What do you do? Close youth group, or push forward? Submit to your mind (internal), or with warrior spirit (bushido; the way of the samurai) channel the emotions toward your next success!


So, we moved forward with some bars until 1:00 a.m. selling $10 raffle tickets to the drunks for a $6,000 convertible, getting up at 5 a.m. the next morning to give away 3 day/2 night vacations to give people a reason to attend service only to find that the local churches and community groups are blazing you for “merchandising the gospel”. What do you do?

Last example (I swear): You study out the Word and find what you feel is an absolute truth, but it could rock everyone around you. It is a word, a truth, so striking that it totally sets you free and floods your life with the fruits of the spirit.

BUT, its implications fly in the face of all traditionalism, all current structure of the modern churches. What do you do? Keep it a secret, or preach it in your pulpit, risking closing your church?

Preach it! Preach it loud! What do you do with the hate mail from local churches asking you to quit preaching it? Toss it! What do you do as people walk out the back door because you’ve “crossed the line”? Preach louder so they pick some more of it up before they get into the car!!

Warrior-spirit!! Bushido!! One who channels any emotion into action. One who knows how to do “whatever it takes” at any moment of the day or night for the ministry. One who knows nothing of complaining. One who risks being blacklisted from his fellows and intended spouse to do as one should.

One who risks all for All.

Not many people can relate.
They are used to ‘going’ to church, not 'being' the church.
They have no idea of the heartache, valor, and sacrifice that built it.

Rarely have the smelled the fecid decaying stench of people with leprosy whose very smell causes nausea. They smell the Febreeze on their early-morning carpets, with a hint of flavored coffee from the fellowship hall.

Rarely do they get attacked from the people they trust most, or sabotaged daily by their home church. They are used to nice fellowship groups with nice people with nice faces with nice hair with nice teachings; all to keep a happy balance.

Fit in or Fight the fight. Quite often, fighting the good fight stands as polar opposite of fitting in with the same group you are fighting for.

Are you willing to face that challenge?