Sunday, January 09, 2005

tolerence, openness, and seeker churches

Today I was invited to lunch with a family who attends my church and plays in praise team with me (well, the parents do). The food was lovely, and it was really nice to have some multi-generational fellowship, and the conversation after dinner lasted several hours, and was really nice.

One thing that really got me thinking was this: Shane pointed out that "seeker-friendly" churches, such as ours, tend to talk a good game about being really tolerant of people and wanting to make everybody comfortable and welcome, while at the same time being entirely intolerant of many things connected with the traditional church (jargon, musical style, architecture, traditional liturgy, etc).

This is something that has troubled me a bit all along, but I'm not sure where the solution lies. I think what's actually going on is that those of us comfortable with the traditional church choose to dispense with those traditions in order to make something more accessible to people who have been hurt by the church in the past. This seems to be a noble goal, I mean, sort of related to what Paul said about not leading weaker Christians into sin. I think it goes awry, though, when zeal for inclusivity begins to seem like zeal against the historic church, and changing for change's sake. Not that I am accusing centrepointe, or any other seeker-friendly church of this problem, but I think it is a danger, if only in appearance and not reality.

This article from Larknews (another Christian Satire) makes my same point, only a bit more extreme. When does inclusivity become exclusive?

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