Monday, September 3, 2012

Reconciling with James Baldwin: My Discontent with the “System” of the Church

by Brian Foulks
R3 Contributor

I have grown discontent with the “system” of church. This is not to cast dispersion upon the biblical understanding of church but to identify the mis-education that have befalling the church. It has embraced a prideful stance of bigotry, hatred, racism and sexism disguised in Christian jargon and labeled as religious zeal and piety. It has managed to produce a hate based upon personal dislikes that are not comparable to the hatred that is described by God. Ambiguous theological concepts of the reformers became standard epitaphs that are centered upon inhuman practices of its founders. Though the concepts may be biblically correct the perspectives are humanly divisive. So what it produces is a sacred white boy club that other ethnicities and women have no real chance to ever find solace without conforming to those tenets-at least in those spaces, if at all.

This is not a safe haven speech for egalitarianism but a stark view of the theological perspectives that supposedly galvanized the Christian church when in actuality it was the impetus for the system of church. A high level of importance was placed upon transference of information-evangelism, but little was placed upon building community. (This is why John Calvin and Martin Luther can be embraced though they had pure hatred for one another but James Cone is viewed as a hater because he admonishes the need for the oppress community to strive. Also why Jonathan Edwards can own slaves and still be deemed the greatest pastor /preacher ever in America but Jeremiah Wright, a Marine veteran and pastor, is demonized by the media regardless of the fact that he established many major programs in a poverty stricken community.) It is important to understand that building community or a kingdom is only possible if there is shared information. The information cannot become a substitute for community. So sharing just for the sake of sharing becomes an aimless tool used to build the system for growth instead of building a people for community. The system of church has become just that- shared information. The power of the church is slowly dying and people are finding discontent with the institutionalized, systematized, programmatic process that disconnects with those who ask the church to defend itself in the name of truth.
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