Response To Frank Viola On “Why I Left The Institutional Church” on The OOZE

Frank Viola, co-author of Pagan Christianity, just posted an article on the OOZE.

Long story short, I tire of our aversion to historical process, and more specifically to the frailness of human beings. Of course it’s hard to be Christ-like; who will help us find our way?

Riding on the back of millenia of gifts poured into him, and us (including the scriptures that define his faith), Viola defines why he can no longer abide the institutional church. I find the arguments weak – in light of history.

I too despise the barnacles we gather as we move through time. Reform comes from within, in my mind, best and most beautiful. I do honor the runningprophet’s role (see below), and would sometimes take that role if my world allowed it. However, I simply can’t abide the call to others to consider the same – the gift of the Church is that it takes on the flavors of history and culture – the curse is the same.

Cheers to our ongoing reformation.

Here was my simple response:

Dorothy has seen the wizard, and she has 4 possible choices:

1. Run away, completely. (the faithleaver)

2. Run away, but stay in the orbit of the idea. (the runningprophet)

3. Stand still, and do nothing. (the silentbystander)

4. Run to the wizard, see yourself as part of the “we,” and help fix a gift that could be beautiful once again (the hopegiver)

I’ve come to believe that God is not afraid of historical process nor human process; we however, are deeply suspect of both.

Over the course of thousands of years, the containers have been many, and have often shaped the content of our beliefs as the Church. Guilt by association can follow, and a desire to distance ourselves rises to the surface in the face of the inadequacies marring the landscape of an otherwise helpful scene.

Frank, you’ve chosen the path of 2., and I wish you all the best. Tell us who we are, who the world sees us to be. But for the love of all things holy, allow the Church to be human, and to move through time and culture as sojourners.

I however, choose the path of 4. I see the whole shebang as the “we,” and I’ll work within as long as I have breath.

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