Over the past several weeks, the young adult group has been working through the book of Job. This process has been long and has been making me think about our understanding of God. In several verses, Job is in a conversation with his friends. In this conversation, Job is defending himself against his friends who believe that only bad things happen to bad people. We know today that is not true. Yet this conversation led me to think about our church’s view of God – how our tradition has helped shape our view. But when our view starts to become attacked by another one, we hold so tightly to it that we forget that we are still learning about what it means to be Christian, even today.
When I was in college, in one of my classes we read a book called ‘Christ in Emerging Culture’. The authors talk about four perspectives of the church: church as garden, park, glen, and meadow. Each of these has a different variation of preserved or evolving message and methods. To preserve is to keep with the set view of God and church, while also rejecting anything new that might come along. To evolve is to try and move with the time, while also understanding that one’s view of God and church may be changed along the way. The thing is, however, all of these perspectives see some form of result in the church, but only one is constantly moving forward. In only one do we see the most results and the most Christ-likeness. One is the worldview of the church and another is the way the church needs to be. The other two are just floating in between.
Job’s friends were in the garden form of the church, their message and method of faith was always preserved. While Job can be seen as in the meadow version of the church, where the message and method are constantly evolving. Only one of these groups of people is seen as in the right. Only one is seen as blameless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil. The other shuns the evil in the blameless and upright man and it makes you think. Where is our church in all of this? Are we in the garden shunning the blameless? Or are we in the meadow, constantly allowing our view of church and God to evolve?
~ Pastor Jillian