Ecclesiastical Angst

March 24, 2016 — 1 Corinthians 14:13–19

Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Five words of instruction are worth an infinite number of unintelligible speech. Do we ever jump quickly to spiritual jargon rather than using our minds to delve into the depths of the mind of God?

Sometimes I wonder if our knowledge puffs us up when it comes to doing the right thing from situation to situation. I wonder if we are afraid of not knowing what to say — if that means we aren’t good believers because we don’t have the answers. Sometimes I feel like we are so focused on studying up on Bible verses so we can give an account, that we forget to practice by entering into situations where the opportunity might actually come about.

I fear that modern evangelicalism is tricking itself into loving the Lord their God with all their mind. They build colleges, and museums, and radio stations, and publishing houses all devoted to teaching people about the Bible, and yet shun those of us who have very deep and real questions about the way we do things. People like me fear that questions will get me banned from the fold. I inquire therefore I am. But sometimes I feel like we put our doctrinal purity before people.

Please hear me out. I am not saying we forego truth, and relativize what the Bible is actually saying. I just wonder if our right answers are turning into words of a tongue. Yes, I know this doesn’t really come from this passage at all. I know I am going way off track of thinking about what the Scripture is saying, but all I can think about right now is how we don’t say very many words that are focused on instruction. Sometimes they just feel like making sure they don’t say anything other than what is the right answer.

And I know that makes me look like a relativist who doesn’t actually care about the truth. I know it makes me look like a wimp who gets his feelings hurt too easily. But I just care. I care very deeply about my faith and about my family. I care deeply that I am an evangelical and evangelicals are being cast in a light that makes us look very ugly. I care that I can’t be catholic because their theology is errant in certain ways. I care that it is more important to us to make sure we don’t get confused with people who have wrong theology than it is to eat with those people.

Once again I am ecclesiastically angsty.

I have a passion deep within me for a love for Christ to bloom in believers. I see so many people who are finding that having all the right answers to life’s problems hasn’t delivered them from feeling like life is boring or pointless. I see person after person who has never been told that their faith doesn’t need to rely on their faithfulness because it relies on Christ’s.

With everything that has been going on in the US lately between elections, terrorism, foreign relations, court cases, etc, I have been seeing so much hopelessness. People are tired of working hard to live out what it means to be a good Christian. They are weary and heavy burdened by the weight of living lives that are pleasing to God. I just want to plead with everyone that that life has been lived all ready. Christ lived that life! We don’t have to live it. We are just called to die in Him that we might live in Him.

My thoughts are wondering today, and I know that this is one of those emotional appeal blogs. Today is Maundy Thursday. It was on this day that Jesus took His best friends and ate with them. He taught them about love on this day, before it really set in what He was teaching them. He washed their feet today. He loved them so much that He was doing this one last meaningful act today. Tomorrow we will remember Christ’s death. I hope that we can avoid the pat answers tomorrow and dwell in the mystery of it all.

“What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul, what wondrous love is this oh my soul. What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul. To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.”

May this Easter weekend be a time for us to move past correct answers and right theology to our groom Christ. May our love not be motivated out of being supposed to love Him, but out of the union we have with Him. God bless all you who are reading today. I really love you all. Thanks for dealing with my ecclesiastical angst today.