Archive for July, 2012

culture and the church

the traditional position held by the church in our contemporary american culture is interesting to me. i grew up in a church that had been around for a very long time, a swedish baptist church in a small iowa farming town in the gently rolling hills of northern crawford county (kudos to those of you who got that reference). to me, it was how things were done. nobody i knew disliked church, pretty much everybody went to a church and that’s just how things were done. i know that it isn’t like that everywhere, and there’s actually a pretty huge variety in churches. it seems odd to me that the church could grow to be a social institution and really become chiefly social, and then go from that point to being something that people dislike. the early church was pretty controversial and whatnot, but they got attention for taking care of the poor and building each other up and whatnot. granted, many centuries have passed and things tend to change over that amount of time, but i wonder how much of the change that happened is the surrounding culture and how much of it is the church. i don’t think the church is doing everything wrong, but we’re certainly doing some things wrong, and im not entirely sure what all of those things are.

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a new post

i was gone for quite a while there. things sort of died off a bit, i got a little self-conscious after my post about idols. i realized i kept looking back at the stats on my blog to see how many people had been reading it, and decided i wasn’t comfortable with page views being my motivation to write this stuff down. i’ll probably be writing less often now, and we’ll see how that all works out. i hope to have something more to talk about in the next couple days, something worth reading and contemplating, but for now i just thought i’d offer this explanation for my hiatus. 

also, life has been busy. im set to graduate in august now, but still working on a paper for my professor. my little brother tom got married (congrats), and i have started swimming quite a bit at the gym. so with other things taking up bits of my time, i just haven’t really gotten around to writing on here. 

also i hope to write more about things that aren’t related to my dealings with God and whatnot. there’s always more on my mind than just that. i’ll be back with more soon, stick around.

moralism

i struggle with knowing how to deal with moralism. i tend to construct boundaries and rules and whatnot around myself very naturally. in a way, this isn’t really bad. we should build moral boundaries for ourselves according to what we know is good and just and righteous. the problem comes when we start relying more on our little safety nets and behavioral guidelines than we do on God, or when we start finding our security in how well we follow the morals we believe are correct. to me, that’s where the problem arises. if i am following God, should i not be good? and if i am not good, i have violated my moral code. if i am following God, i should grow in holiness and righteousness and become more aligned with what he wants me to be, so i should better fit his standards. but if i’m trying to meet his standards, i’m missing the point. i haven’t figured out how to handle this properly yet. im turning faith into a set of rules. instead of trusting in God and letting him shape me, i’m shaping myself to an image that i think looks like what God wants me to be. it’s a frustrating problem. anyone else struggle with this? how do you keep God before your morality? how do you keep from making your faith into a set of DOs and DONTs?