Confessions of a Non-Harmonious ChristianFeb 23, 2022
There are endless discussions on the “problems with the church” and whether evangelicals, or Roman Catholics, or mainline denominations are “right”. Just google, “problems with the church” and you get 696 million results. Well, here’s one more from a personal perspective.
If I google, “Clifton Strengths” there are only just over 6 million results, and “personality tests”, 492 million results. Is there a connection between our differences and uniqueness and the “problem with the church”? Keep reading to decide for yourself!
I am an ENTP, and that is often described as a “Debater” and I must admit, there’s not a topic that I wouldn’t enter without quickly developing my own opinion. I’m a big fan of Clifton Strength Finders, and my top 5 of only 34 possible strengths for all 8 Billion of us are; Strategic, Includer, ideation, WOO, and Communication.
I hope to WOO (win others over) to my opinion. And I will attempt to communicate the why’s as we go. Proposing a few ideas, thinking strategically, and of course, including everyone!
Here’s my epiphany, and/or confession. I’m not harmonious. Yep, my 34th, dead last, strength is harmony, and I’m not going to “work” on my weakness. There it is, full confession, I will not work to increase my harmony. Not going to happen. And for me, relationships are through inclusion, not harmony.
And because of my strengths, I see the “problem with the church” as one of exclusivity based on harmony. And much of it comes from leadership that obtains their role in most of from their emphasis on Harmony. There’s even scripture to support this, the “…become all things to all people…” words from Paul. Those seem harmonious, until you realize there are also ENTP’s out there, who are also part of the “all people”.
We may feel excluded when our opinons are not in “harmony” with them. The leaders will often dismiss you as contentious and contrarian, simply because you tend to mess with their view of how things should be, or in some protestant churches, the word du jour the “Vision” from the “Vision Caster”.
If they have the “Vision” for you, you will have to accept it without question, or be dismissed as an outsider, and not welcome in their “club” which they call a “church”.
But the truth is, God values inclusion so much more than harmony. It is evident in Jesus himself. He was contentious and contrarian with the harmonious Jewish leaders. He purposely healed people on the Sabbath to upset their view of God, and it worked. They were so angry because Jesus demonstrated an inclusive life, that they wanted to kill him.
And do we have a church like that today? That’s my opinion. We divide over politics, social norms, behaviors, choices, and it is justified by this notion that we are to be harmonious, and the result is organizations that are not really churches, but more of a weird country club. Pay your dues, join us, don’t disagree with anything or we will ask you to leave.
This is the church Peter really did build. It’s the church of exclusivity. Although Paul appears to be harmonious earlier, he was actually the great includer. Paul, told Peter off when he was being a jerk. Unfortunately, Paul’s type of prophetic word in “our churches” or country clubs is often not welcome. The goal of harmony has replaced the modeled inclusion of Jesus and Paul.
Paul describes this faith journey as a mystery, so being a mystery there is room for people to “not know” everything, and should lead to more inclusivity. The fundamentals of what a church “should be” is to be loving, kind, and inclusive. And especially if we are going to be accurate with the scriptures and recognize the Holy Spirit’s work to gift people with prophetic word.
And prophetic word is communicating things that may not be harmonious in the name of including others. This blog post is dedicated to those frustrated prophets around the world, that would love to challenge the focus on harmony and return to the true strength of the kingdom of God, and that is one of inclusion.
If you wonder how I come to my opinions, it’s from reading the word of God one chapter a day for the last 8 years. If you would like to strengthen your understanding of what a church might be, and why people are intuitively leaving the church, start with understanding what the scriptures intended the church to be, and not what it happens to be “the church” in 2022.
You can discover more of my “One Chapter A Day” reading program here.
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