Thoughts on the Way Home

Monday, July 07, 2014

Real Church - Dane Ortlund

A couple of excerpts from a good article by Dane Ortlund:
There's a strange idea I’m unlearning these days. Actually if I'm honest, I'm not yet unlearning it at all. But I'd like to. I need to.   
The strange idea is: church is for displaying the best about us, not revealing the worst about us. 
The result is: burdened, burned out, suffocating Christians and church leaders.
And this:
Someone gets wonderfully converted and we all rejoice, then promptly saddle them with spiritual disciplines to help them "grow." They’re not Christians two weeks before they feel like worse failures than they ever did as an unbeliever. Maybe they were dealing crack before conversion, but at least they didn’t feel hypocritical about it. 
What if we let a new convert breathe in some grace for a while? Until--I don't know--they die? 
What if the leaders in a church stepped off the cliff of face-saving into the mile-long freefall of humiliating honesty and found themselves floating into the delicious clouds of actual, real, for-sinners, grace?  
What if church discipline was used not to scare sinners but to kick out those who make sinners feel alienated, from God and from others? 
It is terrifying to confess sin. But so is going into surgery. Surely the life that follows surgery is better than the misery of living diseased? 
It feels like death to take the mask off. Not just pain, not merely embarrassment. Death. We feel as if we are shutting down in a profound, existential way. But perhaps it is just here that the odd theme running all through the New Testament about life through death will suddenly move from mental assent to felt experience.
Read the whole thing HERE.