Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the post that's not about my game development journey

If you are not interested in reading about what God has been doing in my life, and the journey he has me on, then you can skip this one. But of you want to know why I haven't written about the game project in a while, you might want to stick arround.

I am still not finished reading 'Jesus for President' by Shane Claiborne, Chris Haw and friends... but I am mighty close. It's a good book, and I recommend you read it if you get the chance. 

Anyways, today I spent a few hours visiting with a friend of mine, sharing with them what God has been showing and teaching me, exploring what it means to follow Christ, and the aspects of Church experience we have both been uncomfortable with, or have felt a need to challenge. The big one that came up was with regards to 'Church discipline', and where we feel our experiences have come up short, and in some cases felt counter to the teachings of Christ and the Bible.
I have been wresting through the issue for some time now, perhaps as far back as when I wasn't yet a teenager, and am baffled by the ways that we (I am including myself in this primarily because I consider myself to be a member of the Church, and it is the members, though not all of them, that have seemingly missed the point on this topic) have justified our actions towards our brothers and sisters, speaking hurtfully, rather than lovingly towards those who have gone through difficult times of personal failure. 

There is this section of scripture that I have read time and time again, and have not yet really seen it in practice (though I have tried to enact them, I can't say I have done a very good job of it) that speaks to this issue directly.
If a brother or sister sins (against you), go and point out (bring it to light) the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over (case closed, brother or sister restored).
But if they will not listen (and reject your words), take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' (as it is written in the law to do)
If they still refuse to listen (and reject your words), tell it to the church (the community of brothers and sisters); and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (with the love you invited them into the family with in the first place).
And we see examples of this at work in the early church letters (in Paul's writings to the Corinthians and Galatians, and in James writing). 

It seems strange to me that I haven't heard this taught, or put into practice, in all of my church experience (though I have read about it in books and listened to podcasts on the topic from churches and pastors I admire). Instead what I have seen has been what seems to be the polar opposite. Gossip, insulting or putting down those who have gone through personal failure, removing people from positions of service because of sin in their lives (usually sexual sin, most often repented of, and exposed for the purposes of getting help)... it just feels wrong, and from my reading and studying of scripture, it is shown to be wrong. 

Right now, my wife and I are searching for a Church home (not having rejected the church we were going to, only feeling the need to make a thoughtful decision about where we go), and it is this topic, Church Discipline, that I am searching for a good example. As I noted before, I have tried to put this teaching into action, but am just not sure I know how best to live it out. 

A good portion of my time has been spent searching and studying Theology (God and the Scriptures), and right now, the reality of my unemployment is leaving me with only more questions. 

Where is God leading me, and what am I to be doing in this season? 

A conversation I had with my wife today was searching this question out for the both of us. I don't want to be a part of the divisions that separate the Church from herself, and yet I feel like the ways that we live out (or more accurately, the ways that we don't) the teachings of Jesus are putting a wedge between me and the place I used to serve. 

I have had Church planting on my heart for over a year now and don't know what to do with it. I have been searching and studying what it means to follow Christ in the midst of (but not imitating) our culture, and am left with more questions than direction and purpose. 

Should I just keep trying to make a video game (to entertain people), or do I give that up in the hopes of investing into, and serving people. 

Is anyone interesting in hiring a Theologian? I don't want money to do with what I choose, only to have my bills paid... and that causes me to think about another question I am wrestling with... a question that will have to wait for another blog post.

Grace (the good gift(s) that come from [truly] knowing [heart to heart kind of knowing] God) and Peace (the kind that changes the world around you more than it gives you a good feeling) to you.

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