Thursday, December 23, 2004

Foundationalism limits family growth

I have found that the foundations I built my thoughts upon (or local church upon, or current theology upon, or...) don't leave room for addition. Much like me home.

My "church" can't grow to include different forms, peoples, ideas, methods, etc. because we are building on the foundation that we struggled to "pour" at the beginning. So we built and built, always upwards (or renovating the lower stories). We got so high that any more additional floors would be too much, the center of gravity too high. It would take all our effort to keep the grotesquely tall structure from toppling... (small voice, "what DO you do with your time, then?")

And heaven knows we don't want to topple like that mega-church down the road! They run around from fallen piece to fallen piece convincing themselves they are still a huge, glorious [sic] structure. "Look at all these pieces!! We are obviously significant in the Kingdom!"

Then I wondered about the poor. They don't have a room. "Homeless" is now a double-entendre. My foundation doesn’t allow for this new, “liberal” expression of faith! We tried adding on before (remember that “handicap” ministry . . . whatever happened to that?) but it didn’t survive the climate.


What if we built on pillars? Then we could add, no? I could add the newly encountered Eastern Orthodox pillar to my Western, Evangelical pillar. I could have all three Western pillars: liberal action, pentecostal mystery, and conservative rationality. NOT some lame combination that ends up looking like something coming out of a Fear Factor blender. Incomplete but full-functioning pillars. With traversions. Rope bridges, hallways, swings. Unique connections to unique pillars.

Pillars big enough to build on. Build habits of love, habitats of connection, houses of worship and peace (as opposed to standing in a field of close proximity telephone polls, barely balancing on any one of them).


perigrinatio said...

'What I believe' is a process rather than a finality." --Emma Goldman

I saw this quote and thought of you. You have taught me this. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

To me, beliefs can be a process. they can often be changing, re-defining, re-discovering. Fluid, in the sense that they must be gracious to others’ beliefs. But – I also believe that I can (and need to) have a solid foundation from which to build my beliefs. What if our foundation itself is big enough – and then would not become top heavy and topple with growth? And I wonder, too, about the mega-church down the road. Who is to say they are falling to pieces? Can those pieces not be fully and significantly used in the Kingdom? Personally, I like the picture of a foundation better than pillars. It is difficult, messy, un-unified, scattered to balance on a bunch of pillars (no matter how big they are). Cuz if each person had 20 pillars – how many of those would match up with their neighbors’ 20 pillars? How could you stand on those individual pillars all at the same time? I think we would be constantly missing each other on the bridges and swings. I think, too, that you cannot have the pillars without the foundation. Maybe what the focus should be on is “what is our foundation?” rather than “should we toss out our foundation for pillars?” hope I didn’t push too much. It totally seems as if I categorically disagreed with everything you said. Well – one good thing is.. I have read some way cool scripture tonight… here are some of my faves.

Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: 1Tim 3

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1Tim 6