Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dear Yenta

Reading Gary Shavey's blog on the recent Revolution Conference (of which I knew nothing) led me on a link-clicking trail of breadcrumbs to find out who this Spencer Burke character was. I found his latest post on the eZine of sorts that he founded: The Ooze. Spencer's big beef was.....well, actually, let's set that aside. In his article, I really felt like Burke's focus was a little off. Allow me an explanation.

Years ago, I took issue with the methodology of eHarmony.com, an internet dating site. I was frustrated by their commercials that seemed to reveal a common-interest method of introducing people to one another. Furthermore, Focus on the Family backed them wholeheartedly. I felt almost slighted. I don't think that people should be married based simply on their common appreciation for good war movies or Italian food. My wife and I, to be honest, share very few common interests. And indeed, it feels that we are often polar opposites in our personalities. I feel that God puts people together like this to create a balanced, more able whole out of the two halves. I can really only speak for us, but this is not a story that I haven't heard from other couples, and I think it also provides the two with a chance to better express love in the form of self-sacrifice. While eHarmony's actual methods are not in question (I don't particularly know what they are, in fact), my biggest problem with Spencer Burke's article was that I felt that he treated the Church this way.

While, in the midst of church-hunting (your prayer is greatly appreciated that we would adamantly seek Christ and his glory and his guidance), I feel that there is something as yet unknown to me to be gained from being with aesthetically like-minded people (perhaps the unknown is merely an ease of transition into the local church), our like-mindedness often only goes as far as the Gospel. And I don't think that this is, of necessity, a failure. The glorious calico of the Church finds its beauty in the ability of the Spirit to bring unity where unity is important, and to bring grace, love, and appreciation where it is not. We don't need a hundred of me every day anymore than we need a hundred of you. One of each will do, as that's all God has seen fit to create.

2 Comments:

and Blogger spencer addressed the Senate...

Whipple,

Interesting thoughts. The article tries to respond to the cultural context we find ourselves in today and contrast the church structure we are using.

I wonder how your interpretation would have been influenced if you posted 100 years earlier? Arranged marriages, women without rights, love and compatibility non-factors...

My hope is that we can free the gospel of cultural baggage in every age

10:31 AM, November 17, 2006  
and Blogger Whipple addressed the Senate...

Well, my internet wouldn't have worked properly I would imagine...

No, seriously, the analogy itself would have broken down, but I still think that, in being part of a local church, we lose something when we all agree on the stylistic approach of the local body. My aim is not to promote dissonance, but to view present dissonance opportunistically as a way to find grace and unity with each other.

Furthermore, I don't think compatibility should be an all-consuming issue for the mature Christian. Something I have recently felt the Spirit impressing upon me is that it is unfair of me to seek out a perfectly fitting niche in a local body, without getting to know the people (which often involves sacrifice and compromise). I don't think that unconditional love takes compatibility into account.

4:32 PM, November 18, 2006  

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