criticism from the inside

I’ll admit it: I am a critic of the church. But its because I love the church. And note: I criticize it from the inside believing that the church can become what it is. But criticism should be heard from all quarters. So, I think it can withstand and endure the severest critiques. Chomsky is a case in point. He is a severe critic of the United States, a well-known dissident. He appreciates the incredible freedom Americans enjoy that has been achieved with tremendous struggle. But he critiques the country from the inside because it is obvious he loves the United States and democracy and wants to see it proper, not self-destruct. Another case in point is Romeo Dallaire. When I read his excellent book, Shake Hands With the Devil, I was inspired by his passion for justice, democracy, and peace. His criticism of the United Nations is severe, but it’s because he believes it should play an important role in the world, not because he wants to see it annihilated.

I was at a party last night, and had a conversation with a friend who also has teenagers, like me (not “teenagers like me”, but “teenagers, like me”… that comma makes a difference!). We were talking about our teenagers’ relationship with the church. The important difference between us and them is that we are willing to put up with a lot in order to get to a worthy goal. In other words, we are willing to put up with some theological nonsense, politics and religiosity, in order to server the church. My kids won’t! If they smell even a hint of manipulation, abuse, control, hypocrisy, propaganda, or half-truths and lies, the vote with their attitudes and level of involvement.

So, that’s why I criticize the church. It’s not because I want to see her destroyed, but because I believe that she can become what she is called to be in this world. This is going to be, I think, the main purpose of this blog.

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  • Jeff Roach

    I think we were all that way as teenagers and that is how youth gets the reputation for rebellion that it has. But since spiritual maturity is rarely found in people so young, what they are rebelling against isn’t anything that has much value in the first place.

    Religion, politics, and theology is completely useless without a deeper spiritual element and THAT is what we sensed as tenagers and rebelled against. That is how teenagers fit the role as the canary in the coalmine when they smell death and wasted life.

    But it could be that they can’t see the deeper spirituality because they aren’t mature enough to know its value and recognize it when they see it. Yet.

  • well said jeff… say, I’ll be here for you when YOU’RE kids are teenagers 8)

  • Brian M

    Hey! I’m on holidays, just at a computer this a.m. before going to a church service somewhere I’ve never been before: mixture of fear and interest…

    I’ve missed a ton of blogging, I can’t believe it! I’ll have to try and catch up later next week (still 1 glorious week on a river in PEI to go!)

    I think there’s something to be said for a teen’s desire for something real and avoiding all you described. But as we get more experience we realize there might be something of value in those old rocks worth mining for. It’s the love/hate relationship you’ve described before so well. We need to hold that tension of – o.k., I need to hold that tension of – what’s lovely and what’s frustrating and wrong and find the stuff worth holding on to.

    Catch up with you in a week!