"Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that's distorted and false."--Brian McClaren
We all know that there aren't perfect churches. I don't believe that is what is behind the pursuit of a more authentic representation of the body of Christ.
How do we deal with the tensions that arise from our differences in beliefs? Is polarity necessary?
When I leave a belief system behind (a movement or denomination), my actions make a statement about my rejection of that belief system. Some people will allow you to make that change, while others require complete agreement with them in order to maintain relationship.
We have an old friend who got in touch with us recently. I'm wondering about the likelihood of re-establishing relationship with someone who believes we are deceived while at the same time we believe they are influenced by false teaching.
This is actually where many of our former relationships are at, but it causes the relationship to be at a shallow level which I find very unsatisfying.
And what about those within a system that is distorted and false? What is the margin of error? Like it or not, you will become influenced by whatever distorted teaching you are under. When there are things you disagree with, what is the tipping point of when you should leave?
Most people will put up with a great deal of falseness as long as they don't believe it is directly damaging to them. The good side of this is that it demonstrates commitment and a willingness to extend grace in the process of growth.
Very rarely is it possible for a "lay person" to bring change. It is usually an experience of frustration and futility. My opinion is that if you can't be at peace where you're at, it's probably best to find a way to be happy there or to leave.
We also have had people coming to us with concerns about what they are being taught at our former church. In the end, it's a very personal decision about how much distortion you are willing to put up with.
Having experienced the cost of "taking a stand for truth," I wouldn't want the responsibility of advising someone else to make that choice. Even after weighing the price, you can't know the true cost until you've experienced it. I think it's important for anyone who decides to leave to know that they are following God.
Our story was much more involved than just trying to be right. However, it required a difficult choice between the current status and what we believed. Following what we believed cost way more than I expected.
Although I'm grateful for all we've learned, and we could never go back, knowing what we know hasn't been particularly gratifying.
Yesterday, my husband said, "Knowing truth that no one else wants to hear really sucks." I have to agree.