Friday, May 23, 2008

Truth in relationship

Alan over at Assembling of the Church posted an excellent article entitled, Running from God.

I didn't grow up in church, but several years in ministry have taught me many of the same lessons about church that the young man in Alan's blog learned.

I particularly identify with this thought-"He was taught that questioning his leaders was the same as questioning God, and disagreeing with his leaders was the same as rebelling against God."

On Wednesday I spoke to a lady from the church we (Heather and I) helped start a few years ago. She was sharing with me about some struggles she's been having in her personal life and her relationship with a family member. During the course of our conversation, she said that she would never question God regarding her life circumstances. Yet, she was okay with telling me how she really felt. As we talked I began to see that for her, to ask God "why" would be unthinkable, as if questioning Him would invoke His wrath against her.

Where does this concept come from? To some degree I believe the church is to blame. During my time in this particular church I had many people come to me asking tough questions about leadership and the direction of the church. But none of these folks ever approached the pastor. I thought that was silly...until I started asking him questions. I wasn't badgering him, just asking the same basic questions the people had been asking me because I really didn't have any good explanations for their concerns. Apparently I was rather naive in my willingness to ask the questions because that's when the honeymoon ended.

I'm not looking to go into every aspect of that though. My point is this. If the leadership of your church isn't open to being questioned or simply asked why we do X,Y or Z. My question is, why?

Blessings,
Brandon

7 comments:

Alan Knox said...

Brandon,

Thanks for the link and for adding to my post. I don't think leaders understand what happens when they try to exercise authority over others. For the most part, I think they believe that it helps people to exercise authority over them. Unfortunately, I do not think it is helpful, but is a hindrance instead.

-Alan

Lew A said...

Hey Brandon,

As you probably know, over the past few years I've come to appreciate the "Why?"... I cannot think of any now, but I wonder if there is any biblical precedent to asking God, "Why?"... I'll have to look into it, unless you know.

God's Glory,
Lew

Brandon said...

Alan,
I think when leaders try to exercise authority over others it puts both the leader and the follower at a disadvantage. It seems like the leader always has to have it all together...and the follower continually looks at the leader as some kind of religious super hero.

It can be devastating for the follower to come to the realization that this is just a man...I've got that T-shirt!

Lew,
The example that comes to mind for me is from Mark 15:34 "...WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?". Asking God why didn't compromise who Jesus was and it didn't hurt His relationship with The Father.

What do you think?

Alan Knox said...

Brandon,

There are many "Why" questions in Scripture, especially in Job and Psalms. I think my favorite "Why" passage is in Jeremiah:

Righteous are you, O LORD, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? (Jeremiah 12:1 ESV)

-Alan

Brandon said...

Thanks Alan,
Those are really good references to the question "why" in scripture. I think it's so refreshing to know that God is big enough to allow us to question Him. Our questions don't threaten Him because He is perfect. I suppose that's why some leaders are threatened by being questioned. Perhaps there's a fear that we'll see the man "behind the veil".

Brandon

jumpin' jack said...

How about being angry at God? (Perish the thought in most church circles, eh?) Anger's a new one for me too, but I've learned that He can take it! HA! The Bible I'm reading these days (actually the same one I've been reading for a long time, but with better eyesight now {wink}) has lots of passages questioning God as well as anger. And I'd like to note that neither necessarily denotes what some might call immaturity. Go figure...

Brandon said...

Hey JJ!
Yeah that's right. If our relationship with God is an honest one then we have no choice but to be real with Him...He already knows how we feel anyway! I think this level of honesty is something God desires to have with us and it actually is a sign of growth and maturity.

I think this level of honesty can sometimes be threatening to those who do not yet understand God's desire for real relationships. I also think that we, the Church, should strive for these kinds of relationships with one another...although we humans can be a fickle bunch! :o)

Thanks for the comment, good to see you around!
Brandon