Time to Grow Up

I came across this at Mike Cope's blog the other day:

I've mentioned before the three views one can have of parents: a child's view (my parents are perfect and have no faults); an adolescent's view (my parents are embarrassing imbeciles); and a mature adult's view (my parents have strengths and faults).

Those are the same views one can have of a religious heritage.

It got me thinking of us ICOC & ex-ICOC folk.

It seems to me that it's time for us to grow up.

There are some out there who are still children. The ICOC was all good, nothing wrong. The past 3 years were from Satan, a distraction and it's time to get back to it. All of it - the discipling, the hierarchy, the evangelist control, the 'we're the kingdom' mindset, everything.

Others are like adolescents. There was never anything good in the ICOC. This is from folks who were immersed in it for years, but now it's the spawn of Satan. Everything that comes out of an ICOC church is evil, their motives are selfish, they are out for your money and anyone still involved is dumber than a box of rocks and duped.

Time for some of us to grow up. Our ICOC heritage is a blessing and a curse. Many were saved, the gospel was preached, many nations were reached, HOPEworldwide was formed, much good was done. But we must be honest, we were pretty stupid, arrogant, hurtful and even duped at times too. Let's learn from our mistakes and even laugh at our former foolishness, but please, let's not pretend it was only either a bed of roses or a torture chamber, OK?

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All right, I admit it, this is a little out of the blue. Most folks are beyond this now. But every now and then I still come accross someone in one camp or another, adn this made me think of them. It's like they are on some kind of personal crusade for or against the ICOC. I just think, "Huh?". Of course, this happens in all kinds of churches, Mike was refering to the same kind of thing in the 'traditional' COC's in his post.

I see you point, but let me point out something here.

The argument presented by Mike is similar to this one:

Some people claim that God is all powerful, all knowing, and all good. Other people claim that God does not exist at all. Now, it seems reasonable to accept a position somewhere in the middle. So, it is likely that God exists, but that he is only very powerful, very knowing, and very good.

In this example, an omnipotent God is placed at one extreme and the absence of God is placed at the other. Do you believe the middle position is the correct one?

I am not saying that a middle position is never true. Negoiating(sp) a fair price is a pretty good example. Conflict resolution often features a compromise, or middle way, of some sort.

The key is that if you must take a middle ground position, make sure you can support it independently of the fact that it is between the two extremes. The fact there is some good and some bad in the ICOC has nothing to do with how others see it. In fact, aside from being a logical fallacy, it is letting others holding extreme positions determine your position.

The ICOC has good in it for myself and others.

There are many stories, including my own, of overcoming personal difficulties. The ICOC highlighted and celebrated other cultures. The ICoC helped many to begin their journey with God. Some people have never had a bad experience within the ICoC and I do not begrduge them for their lack of pain.

The ICoC has bad in it for myself and others.

Some people never had a good ICoC experience and I do not begrudge them for their lack of joy. The theology that many learned was (and in many cases still is) work-oriented and leadership-focused. Every member or former member up until 2003 has a least one experience of feeling ashamed for not having a visitor for at least one event. There were prunings and restructurings that divided friends and even households. There was abuse in all levels of the heirarchy financially, spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.

If I had to put percentages on good/bad, I would say 20% good, 80% bad. My experiences are not the same as others, so I can accept others that may reverse my numbers. My situation presently puts me in a very good place that is healthy in many ways for my family, so I attend an ICoC congregation. Much of what I see as bad does not exist here.

Hopes that helps - sorry for the long comment.

Pinakidion - You're exactly right. The ICOC is different things to different people, we each see things differntly as we look back and no one perspective is more 'right' than the other.

Now that I think about it, the title says something I wasn't intending and the tone is not what I wanted either. Maybe I just need to delete this altogether, I don't know. I didn't mean to imply that it's time to get over it or move on. I guess I was saying that I'm ready to be at a place where we can look back and laugh at our foolishness and not just cringe at who we were. I'm ready to move on and both appreciate our history and to laugh at it.

I'm tired of the past being a source of embarasment and shame only, it was more than that. I want to be able to celebrate our heritiage where it is appropriate but without denying our failings.

Wow, I guess that quote touched a sensitive spot I didn't know was there. :-(

According to what I've read the ICOC has reached nations, saved souls, done benevolence and is responsible for peoples spiritual journeys. What happened to God? He sure is lucky to have us because He would have never been able to do without us.
When Mary reached the empty tomb she said, "They have taken away my Lord and I don't know where they have put him." That's the way I feel at times. I'm tired of trying to justify myself based on everything I've done.
It is not about me. It is all about God.
If I stepped on anyones toes I apologize, because I was aiming for the heart.

I can't speak to the challenges of the ICOC fellowship because I'm not close enough or familiar enough.

What I can say is that I'm encouraged by the steps being taken by some in my fellowship to try to heal some 100-year-old wounds between churches of Christ and independent Christian churches. I have no real hope that complete unity will be achieved in my generation, but I have great confidence that some meaningful steps have been taken and they will lead to God's pleasure.

And I'll be the first to admit if I was wrong about this when I'm ushered into the New Jerusalem among snorts, giggles and shaking heads ... but I believe that even stumbling and ineffective attempts at unity please God. The goal of unity was something Jesus was willing to pray for with the breaths He drew in his last hours of mortality ... so it's just GOT to be important.

Keith,

It was pretty cool to see that happen in Tulsa.

Doug - I understand what you are saying. It is good to be able to look back and see good things. It certainly seems that the past is universally treated as something to be ashamed of.

As a personal aside, I am not concerned about the tone at all - our society seems to value the delivery style above the content. If Jesus had worried about his tone as much as Americans do, He never would have called Peter, "Satan" or publicly called the Pharisees "whitewashed tombs".

My point was that the idea was quite valid. However, the method to reach the idea is not logical. Some consider logic as one tool of many to help them stay "clear minded so they can pray". I was trying to offer a different perspective on how I arrived at a similar perspective using a different argument.

Doug, I suppose I ought to explain my one word comment. After reading your returning comment, I am afraid it was taken wrong.

I was not trying to be curt or patronizing. I was actually saying, "OK..." Meaning that you had made a great point and that I agree with all of it. I could not add to it. And I will not "pretend it was only either a bed of roses or a torture chamber."

So, in a word, "OK..."

It was a good post.

I appreciate where you are coming from, Doug. I feel like these old topics or pre HCL, or even responses since then, are dead and dying. It seems as though these self perpetuating blog's and chats and emails are beating a dead horse, into goulash. It promotes the same type of errors the McKean Paradigm produced, which basically meant missing the elephant in the room. The love that we have for each other, encouraging, serving, mowing lawns, bring groceries, throwing anniversary parties, lending money with out expecting to get paid back, and so on and so on. Radical late night prayer meetings; breakfast bible studies at the local coffee shop (traditional not contemporary – which are alright too); expressing love toward each other, and letting repentance be repentance. There arguments about this stuff are balls and chains spiritually, and have very little value. If the belief system you are a part of is not condoned by you, then repent and find one that is (even if you need to start your own) BUT, you will never, ever, ever find perfection in a church. The Church isn't for the people; the people are for the church. The Church is parts of a body, period, and the McKean paradigm is just as transparent as is the coC's "Authorized" doctrine. And the same could be said for the Christian Churches in other areas. But for some reason, we need to find these self inflicted humanistic barriers in order to help define ourselves in order to overcome spiritual insecurities that could easily be overcome through a mature faith and a contrite spirit. And the bible makes it totally clear how to obtain both a mature faith and a contrite spirit.



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  • I appreciate where you are coming from, Doug. I feel like these old topics or pre HCL, or even responses since then, are dead and dying. It seems as though these self perpetuating blog's and chats and emails are beatin...

    P. Allan Frederick
    Time to Grow Up
  • Doug, I suppose I ought to explain my one word comment. After reading your returning comment, I am afraid it was taken wrong. I was not trying to be curt or patronizing. I was actually saying, "OK..." Meaning that you h...

    Jeff Morris
    Time to Grow Up
  • Doug - I understand what you are saying. It is good to be able to look back and see good things. It certainly seems that the past is universally treated as something to be ashamed of. As a personal aside, I am not conce...

    pinakidion
    Time to Grow Up
  • Keith, It was pretty cool to see that happen in Tulsa. ...

  • I can't speak to the challenges of the ICOC fellowship because I'm not close enough or familiar enough. What I can say is that I'm encouraged by the steps being taken by some in my fellowship to try to heal some 100-yea...

    Keith Brenton
    Time to Grow Up
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