Humans are a social being; we associate with like-minded folks for a sense of family, or for personal affirmation. And we achieve both ends by membership in various social and interest groups.
For many of us, such memberships happen in a haphazard process of random associations and personal affinities. Acquaintances we find attractive, or whose company we enjoy, introduce us to their friends—if we qualify. Acceptance makes us “somebody” in their group, and if their interests don’t clash too badly with our convictions, we begin identifying with them and their passions.
From stuff I’ve written for this blog, you no doubt realize how fed up I am with the effect that Kool-Aid drinking lemmings, whether Left, Right, Secular or Religious, have on culture. These joiners eagerly swallow the pablum influential people feed them, becoming willing, ideological clones who are ready to die for the cause … as long as it doesn’t interfere with watching their favorite sit-coms. Such group members reserve critical thought for “them,” i.e., those who fail to board their bandwagon, becoming intellectually lazy and compliant.
Tragically—from my perspective anyway—members of Christendom conform to my stereotypical, joiner’s snapshot all-too well. We(yes, I include myself) stumble along with our denomination, fellowship, movement, or whatever we like to call our religious group, automatically conforming to group norms and dogma, though we have not the foggiest idea of where many of them came from. “It’s what we do,” is our mantra. But that’s a bum rap for Evangelicals; ours is, “It’s Biblical.”
My critique of organized religion places me in an interesting—though not untenable— position. I fall into pop-culture’s category of “Evangelical Christian Fundamentalist,” because the I believe the Lord said to: share my faith(evangelical), in Christ(Christian), with respect for the Bible’s inerrancy(fundamentalist).
I actually have thought-out reasons for attending “church.” The Bible warns me to avoid forsaking the assembling of believers, though to my mind, that doesn’t necessarily include trivial socializing that includes, but is not limited to, discussing the weather, hunting, politics, and others’ personal affairs. When that useless prattle goes on around me, I concentrate on God, and my own struggles in growing toward Him.
I’m afraid some of the folks see me as standoffish, or elitist, not realizing that if they would only fellowship in God’s word, I’d be all over it. There is a significant minority of attendees, however, who share my priorities, and we learn from one another—hopefully—how to get it right.
If I had to name the denomination with which I align myself, it would have to be the Church of Tuppence—you know—”Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them.” (Matt 18:20)