Sunday, May 26, 2013
Pulse: Sin & Faith (Guest Post by Kyle A. Kiekintveld)
The Church always considers itself in crisis, in need to address the differences between secular society and the Scripture, in the need make sense of war, poverty and the sorrow of the world, but one of the biggest issues facing the Church is not exclusive to the Church, it is best addressed by the parishioners. It is an idea as old as civilization, but greatly exacerbated by our culture of constant consumption of media, celebrity and social networking.
It is the concept that we are simple beings. It is the idea that we can see a little of someone, through reality television (which of course is as real as the WWE), we know someone through what they say on Facebook, through the gossip, through the their attendance (or lack of) at Church. We think people have the perfect marriage, the perfect children, just because of a few quick Facebook or Instagram pictures. We have arrogantly oversimplified life and experience that we feel with little information we can understand what another person has gone through, we can pass judgement on their worth.
Of course this has no Biblical basis and we are warned heavily against judging one another, but it is part of the human condition. It is heavily ingrained not only in our culture but our psychology as well. The benefits of making decisions and judgements on people are numerous, even when we know we must fight it.
2. In what (positive or negative) ways has our generation already engaged with this issue?
The Bible addresses this issue directly, most powerfully with the story of the Woman at the Well. In the midday heat while Jesus takes a break at Jacob’s Well, a Samaritan woman went to fetch water, and in typical Jesus fashion, Jesus broke a number of taboos, he spoke to her (who was to be despised because she was not just a woman but a Samaritan woman) and he asked her to fetch him a drink, which would have rendered the drink unclean. The woman was known to have multiple husbands and be living with a man she was not wed to (thus she fetched water at the hottest part of the day to avoid the judgment of others) still Jesus broke taboos to speak to her. He did not think twice to speak to the woman despite her immorality.
At the best of times Church can be an emotional and spiritually difficult place to attend but for those who are introverted, those who struggle with their own sins, to feel judged when they attend Church just created a barrier that can seem insurmountable. Yet despite of stagnant or even dwindling Church attendance Christian media is a successful and even growing industry. People still have faith but feel a disconnect with Church itself.
3. What can we do to improve our relationship with addressing this issue? Or can things be improved?
Fortunately all is not lost on this issue. Churches have numerous ways to combat this disconnect, from Podcasts of Sermons to Outreach Groups to House Churches. The latter two are perhaps the best responses the Church has. Both allow much more intimate worship than trying to blend into a crowd of dozens, hundreds or even thousands. These are not complete solutions to the problem, in the end we must remember even if we know the sin, the sinner is made in God’s beautiful and infinitely complex image.
Kyle A. Kiekintveld is a writer based out of Western Michigan, he is an avid beer, music, literature and video game aficionado. Despite his love for profanity, violent, violent video games and Harry Potter, Kyle is fairly certain Jesus would like him. He can be found on Twitter and Tumblr.