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Peter T Chattaway

Hipster Christianity

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And if we are to treat the disciplined as a tax collector, and we use Jesus and how he treated tax collectors as the example of how to treat a tax collector, where does that leave us? Didn't he hang out with the tax collectors?

Joe

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"Hang out with"? No.

Offer redemptive grace to, as an essential part of his ministry, to the point of inviting one of them to be his disciple? Yes.

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So in Matthew 18, Jesus tells us to treat those under church discipline like tax collectors. And he shows us how to treat tax collectors by inviting them to be his disciples, by eating with them, by loving them just the same.

I'm not sure this clever bit of prooftexting would pass the scholarly sniff test, but it's pretty brilliant on its own terms! However, I think someone else noted that the parable of the unmerciful servant, which is all about forgiveness, comes right after the church discipline passage in Mt. 18.

The church discipline process at MH didn't seem at all redemptive or restorative; nor did it seem to provide, for the poor chap being disciplined, any sense of what his penance would accomplish.

Yeah I had thought something similar about that Matthew 18, and how it all comes down to the context of how it was spoken. I just thought I would throw it up here because it did strike me as a fascinating comment.

Another thing I was thinking about the church's discipline process, is that it doesn't really leave much room for the restoration to happen naturally, in it's own time (or maybe better God's timing). I mean sometimes working through various issues, especially dealing with the hurts caused to others, and also caused by them, can take years for people with the help of God's spirit working to sort it all out. This idea of just going up to people and repenting isn't always that simple.

They seem to be trying to solve a problem that is very relational, between the person and himself, the person and God, and the person and those who were hurt........ into something that is more or less formula. Not to mention all of the other possible aspects to the situation. Like for instance, maybe some people need to repent to Andrew, because they saw what was happening, or about to happen, and didn't help him in it...... or possibly even encouraged him in it.

Who knows, maybe the fiance was originally the instigator and he was trying to pull back.

See that leads to something that people commenting on this do not seem to be touching on...... all of this response by the church isn't just bringing pain, condemnation, and shame on to Andrew, but I would suspect also his fiance, and those close to her. I mean it's all publically set up against Andrew, but the public that is involved in this knows darn well who the fiance is, and she basically did all of the same things that Andrew is accused of, being the original covering up of what they were doing, ect. Anybody that stops and thinks about the issue can see that she, although more behind the scenes, would be observing the whole fiasco, knowing, that people are connecting Andrew to her in their understanding of this.

Plus another big problem with the situation is that a couple who was preparing for marriage, has broken apart through him surely going to far with another girl.... but not "all of the way". Their relationship is probably not beyond restoration, but there is no indication that this is a large part of the Church's agenda.

Edited by Attica

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"Hang out with"? No.

Offer redemptive grace to, as an essential part of his ministry, to the point of inviting one of them to be his disciple? Yes.

Well. He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting. But hanging out with in the sense of enabling their sin, Um, not likely. Although Jesus did turn water into wine at a Jewish wedding feast where in all likelyhood there were some people who would have had a little to much of the drink. I mean, I know the liquour content of their wine wasn't as much as ours is...... but people could have just drank that much more.

Edited by Attica

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"Hang out with"? No.

Offer redemptive grace to, as an essential part of his ministry, to the point of inviting one of them to be his disciple? Yes.

Well. He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting. But hanging out with in the sense of enabling their sin, Um, not likely. Although Jesus did turn water into wine at a Jewish wedding feast where in all likelyhood there were some people who would have had a little to much of the drink. I mean, I know the liquour content of their wine wasn't as much as ours is...... but people could have just drank that much more.

I'm afraid to ask what you guys think hangin' out means or what you think I mean by hangin' out. But if someone is not ditchin' me, I'm not ditchin' them. I don't see how in the world anyone can be restored or asked to follow someone sans relationship. And if anyone thinks that's what 'church discipline' means, they can keep their church and their discipline and good luck with that. I'll just go hang out at Johnny's Cafe or Denny's instead. (HT to days LONG gone by)

Joe

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Bonus points for Johnny's Cafe!

To me, "hanging out" implies leisure time, and I think the time Jesus spent reaching out to sinners was far too important to be categorized as a mere leisure activity.

I've also heard people try to extend the metaphor even beyond Johnny's Cafe ... to suggest that Jesus would frequent the red light district, or go to bars ... just to find sinners to hang out with. Many Christian ministries today are doing just that. And if that's what they need to do in order to find sinners, then more power to 'em. But ...

The "hung out with sinners" meme comes almost entirely from Jesus' dinner at Matthew's house, which appears in all three of the Synoptics (Mk. 2, Mt. 9, Lk. 5). If we read the texts carefully, we see that Jesus didn't have to go seek out sinners ... rather, they came to Matthew's house to seek him out. Mark even says the tax collectors and sinners were among Jesus' followers.

So if we have to hunt sinners down in order to hang out with them, rather than being able to make sinners want to hang out with us ... is there something Jesus knew or did that we are not knowing or doing?

He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting.

FWIW, he also ate with a Pharisee (Luke 7).

Edited by mrmando

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I have some further thoughts on this issue here, for those interested: http://t.co/p6dJ0br2

Wow. Thanks very much for sharing.

So ... um ... you all know that before he got involved with Pixar, Brad Bird made a wonderful animated kids' movie called The Iron Giant. But what's on my mind right now is The Giant Irony.

Doesn't abusive, nonredemptive, unforgiving church discipline look a lot like "religion" in the worst, pejorative, Archie Comics/Jeff Bethke sense of the term?

If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?

And if Jesus came to abolish "religion" ... where might you suggest that he begin?

Edited by mrmando

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I have some further thoughts on this issue here, for those interested: http://t.co/p6dJ0br2

Wow. Thanks very much for sharing.

So ... um ... you all know that before he got involved with Pixar, Brad Bird made a wonderful animated kids' movie called The Iron Giant. But what's on my mind right now is The Giant Irony.

Doesn't abusive, nonredemptive, unforgiving church discipline look a lot like "religion" in the worst, pejorative, Archie Comics/Jeff Bethke sense of the term?

If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?

And if Jesus came to abolish "religion" ... where might you suggest that he begin?

I agree Stephen. That was a very good article and I enjoyed reading about your journey described in it. To my mind it's a journey out of darkness. :)

mrmando, what your saying here is some good stuff. I'd say that when someone doesn't understand how gracious and merciful God's character is they might change the forms of their Christianity, to what they consider a "non religious" form...... but the core problem is still there.

Edited by Attica

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"Hang out with"? No.

Offer redemptive grace to, as an essential part of his ministry, to the point of inviting one of them to be his disciple? Yes.

Well. He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting. But hanging out with in the sense of enabling their sin, Um, not likely. Although Jesus did turn water into wine at a Jewish wedding feast where in all likelyhood there were some people who would have had a little to much of the drink. I mean, I know the liquour content of their wine wasn't as much as ours is...... but people could have just drank that much more.

I'm afraid to ask what you guys think hangin' out means or what you think I mean by hangin' out. But if someone is not ditchin' me, I'm not ditchin' them. I don't see how in the world anyone can be restored or asked to follow someone sans relationship. And if anyone thinks that's what 'church discipline' means, they can keep their church and their discipline and good luck with that. I'll just go hang out at Johnny's Cafe or Denny's instead. (HT to days LONG gone by)

Joe

I agree with what your saying in principle about not ditchin' people, but sometimes there is a time to move on. It's all about healthy boundaries, in which parameters are different with each person. An example which fits in with my understanding of hanging out.... I've gone to blues bars ect. and had a beer with my friends one time I even ended up talking about Christ, but I'm certainly not going to go have a beer with someone who is struggling with alcoholism. I have some old High School friends who like to smoke pot, who I hang out and chat with on various different occassion, and have a great time with, but I'm probably not going to hang out with them when they smoke joints and watch movies in their house.

Your absolutely right though that people cannot be impacted without relationship. I've observed the concept of shunning where it has even gone farther than this. Ya know shunning a Christian because they wear jeans and not dresses, or wear makeup, or dance. It can get really nuts, and it's dark. I have friends who have grown up in this kind of crap, and I can tell you for certain that they've all had to go through some sort of healing.

Edited by Attica

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The "hung out with sinners" meme comes almost entirely from Jesus' dinner at Matthew's house, which appears in all three of the Synoptics (Mk. 2, Mt. 9, Lk. 5). If we read the texts carefully, we see that Jesus didn't have to go seek out sinners ... rather, they came to Matthew's house to seek him out. Mark even says the tax collectors and sinners were among Jesus' followers.

So if we have to hunt sinners down in order to hang out with them, rather than being able to make sinners want to hang out with us ... is there something Jesus knew or did that we are not knowing or doing?

Celebrity? ;-)

Yes. Jesus also seemed to have a knack for being where people were going to be hanging out already. He did a lot of "going to" to make himself available to be approached, no doubt. His story doesn't seem to keep him stationary and everyone came to him on the mountain top.

I happen to believe leisure time is the most important time to be around people. Guards are down and real relationship foundations and trust get built when someone doesn't think they are your pet project and outside a "Christian" setting. Doesn't mean you hide who you are or try to fit in by joining questionable behaviour. I have a hard time believing the gospel accounts are exhaustive enough that there was no leisure time for Jesus to spend with the disciples and others he came across and that it wasn't important. It is not difficult for me to imagine many of the parables being derived from some activity they could witness or maybe some discussion they had during their leisure time. I am also not entirely sure some of the stories themselves were not actually when one could consider leisure time. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. I've never read or studied from that perspective before, but it might make for an interesting study.

So Jesus goes to a tax collector's house to hang out (and obviously "hang out" has more meaning to me than you). And then he tells his followers that if someone refuses to hear the whole church (did they really think in terms of "church" at this time?), they should treat them as a tax collector.

Regardless of what we define as leisure time or how accurate our version of hanging out is to what Jesus did. I think Jesus actions are pretty clear. However you think Jesus treated tax collectors and pagans, that is how we should treat the disciplined. We should be someone not only to hang out with, but to also listen and be heard. We should be approachable. I don't see some "cut them off and turn our backs to them" kind of approach in any of Jesus' dealings with people. No "de-friending".

This:

"If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?"

But then this, too?:

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you."

"But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."

Joe

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I happen to believe leisure time is the most important time to be around people. Guards are down and real relationship foundations and trust get built when someone doesn't think they are your pet project and outside a "Christian" setting. Doesn't mean you hide who you are or try to fit in by joining questionable behaviour. I have a hard time believing the gospel accounts are exhaustive enough that there was no leisure time for Jesus to spend with the disciples and others he came across and that it wasn't important.

That works for me. :D

Edited by Attica

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Who knows, maybe the fiance was originally the instigator and he was trying to pull back.

See that leads to something that people commenting on this do not seem to be touching on...... all of this response by the church isn't just bringing pain, condemnation, and shame on to Andrew, but I would suspect also his fiance, and those close to her. I mean it's all publically set up against Andrew, but the public that is involved in this knows darn well who the fiance is, and she basically did all of the same things that Andrew is accused of, being the original covering up of what they were doing, ect. Anybody that stops and thinks about the issue can see that she, although more behind the scenes, would be observing the whole fiasco, knowing, that people are connecting Andrew to her in their understanding of this.

Well, the problem is, she is viewed as a victim of Andrews. They teach that the woman is the weaker vessel and so even if she was the instigator, it was all his fault for not "leading her to righteousness".

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So Jesus goes to a tax collector's house to hang out (and obviously "hang out" has more meaning to me than you).

Interesting ... to me the term "hang out" has a slightly negative connotation ... just a step away from "loiter." To you it apparently means something quite different.

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Interesting ... to me the term "hang out" has a slightly negative connotation ... just a step away from "loiter." To you it apparently means something quite different.

Hang out is something I do. Loiter is something someone else does.

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This:

"If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?"

But then this, too?:

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you."

"But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."

Let's just say the question of what constitutes proper religious authority in Christianity has gotten awfully murky since the Reformation, and even murkier in the case of independent, nondenominational Protestant churches. We can say that "sola Scriptura" is the authority, but even so, the double-edged sword of scripture has to be wielded by somebody; it won't wield itself. And like any good double-edged sword, it cuts both ways, particularly in the present case at MHC, where a good argument can be made that the actions undertaken against Stephen's brother in the name of "church discipline" go well beyond scriptural boundaries.

Edited by mrmando

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Hang out is something I do. Loiter is something someone else does.

Heh. I don't do either.

Seriously, if "hanging out" means constructive engagement and relationship-building ... over a meal, a game of darts, or whatever ... then I'm cool with it, and in that sense it's entirely accurate to say Jesus hung out with tax collectors. Of course he also liked to hang out with other rabbis and debate the law.

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Hang out is something I do. Loiter is something someone else does.

Heh. I don't do either.

Seriously, if "hanging out" means constructive engagement and relationship-building ... over a meal, a game of darts, or whatever ... then I'm cool with it, and in that sense it's entirely accurate to say Jesus hung out with tax collectors. Of course he also liked to hang out with other rabbis and debate the law.

That would be my understanding of "hanging out".

Edited by Attica

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Who knows, maybe the fiance was originally the instigator and he was trying to pull back.

See that leads to something that people commenting on this do not seem to be touching on...... all of this response by the church isn't just bringing pain, condemnation, and shame on to Andrew, but I would suspect also his fiance, and those close to her. I mean it's all publically set up against Andrew, but the public that is involved in this knows darn well who the fiance is, and she basically did all of the same things that Andrew is accused of, being the original covering up of what they were doing, ect. Anybody that stops and thinks about the issue can see that she, although more behind the scenes, would be observing the whole fiasco, knowing, that people are connecting Andrew to her in their understanding of this.

Well, the problem is, she is viewed as a victim of Andrews. They teach that the woman is the weaker vessel and so even if she was the instigator, it was all his fault for not "leading her to righteousness".

Interesting. If I'm correctly understanding what your getting at. Maybe, when I wrote that comment I was filtering it through the perspective of how a female that say I associate with, would view the instance. Yet maybe in this case the girl, and others, are not seeing it that way, being that they are so brainwashed by Driscoll's teaching that she wouldn't be having some of the feelings or perspectives that I had touched on.

I say this with some reservation. It's just a question really. I mean who knows what's going on there. But this could be the kind of thinking that Driscoll's teachings lead to. It could even possibly lead to more of a "victim mentality" amongst women at times..... which also can have negative consequences.

Edited by Attica

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Let's just say the question of what constitutes proper religious authority in Christianity has gotten awfully murky since the Reformation, and even murkier in the case of independent, nondenominational Protestant churches.

You've been spying in on my conversations with my wife.

We can say that "sola Scriptura" is the authority, but even so, the double-edged sword of scripture has to be wielded by somebody; it won't wield itself. And like any good double-edged sword, it cuts both ways.

I don't know. I think the Word of God wields himself pretty well, striking us and we won't admit it. Think of the Black Knight in Monty Python. Barely a scratch!

Joe

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I have some further thoughts on this issue here, for those interested: http://t.co/p6dJ0br2

Wow. Thanks very much for sharing.

So ... um ... you all know that before he got involved with Pixar, Brad Bird made a wonderful animated kids' movie called The Iron Giant. But what's on my mind right now is The Giant Irony.

Doesn't abusive, nonredemptive, unforgiving church discipline look a lot like "religion" in the worst, pejorative, Archie Comics/Jeff Bethke sense of the term?

If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?

And if Jesus came to abolish "religion" ... where might you suggest that he begin?

You may both advance to the Bonus Round.

Edited by Overstreet

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I don't know. I think the Word of God wields himself pretty well, striking us and we won't admit it. Think of the Black Knight in Monty Python. Barely a scratch!

In church politics, people are forever deciding which parts of God's word should be wielded against whom. It's hard work to prevent one from getting one's own instincts and preconceptions confused with scripture, and then using them against other people. Maybe that's why some Protestants (Quakers, for example) have a headless model, where there's no heavy-handed authority figure as such.

Try debating Sola Scriptura with Peter sometime and you'll end up feeling like the Black Knight. Truth is, there's always a hermeneutic, always a theology, always someone's idea of how to interpret scripture. And probably the worst hermeneutic of all is the one that denies its own existence...

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I'll probably regret this...

mars.jpg

Context, if you need it.

Edited by mrmando

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Doesn't abusive, nonredemptive, unforgiving church discipline look a lot like "religion" in the worst, pejorative, Archie Comics/Jeff Bethke sense of the term?

I've been wondering if someone, somewhere would make this connection. How amusing that, so soon after Bethke's video came out (and so soon after Bethke was exposed as a Driscoll-ite), Bethke's church should make the news for being so, so, SO very "religious" (as Bethke defined the term).

Rules? Behaviour modification? Do, not done? Oh baby, and how.

Has anyone asked BETHKE to comment on this latest Mars Hill controversy?

Similarly it seems to allow for someone to be a Christian without being part of a particular Christian religion.

Big "yeah but" on the way from Peter here.

Eh?

Try debating Sola Scriptura with Peter sometime and you'll end up feeling like the Black Knight.

Really? It's not like I'd have to cut anyone's limbs off one-by-one. All it takes is one cut, but, admittedly, it's a biggie: noting that the doctrine of "sola scriptura" appears nowhere in the Bible and is, thus, by definition, non-biblical and self-defeating.

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Similarly it seems to allow for someone to be a Christian without being part of a particular Christian religion.

Big "yeah but" on the way from Peter here.

Eh?

What's the correct term for how the Orthodox Church, or the Roman Catholic Church, would refer to other branches of Christianity? "Not in full communion" or something along those lines ... that's what I was trying to get at.

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