Definition of why
1. : for what cause, reason, or purpose <why did you do it?>
I have always found it fascinating how much such a simple question can have such a huge effect in our lives. As children it burns within us. As we learn and try to make sense of this world, it rises from us time and time again. Much to the annoyance of those around us. But as we grow older we begin to resist it more and more. On the one hand we resist it being directed at us. After all, who really enjoys having to justify and explain their actions. Especially if those actions are wrong. And on the other we become afraid of speaking it when it should be spoken. Because it can have very serious consequences. It can end relationships. Affect our status with those around us. Affect our livelihoods. At its worst it can threaten people’s lives. And the lives of those they care about.
Right now there are people on this world who live amidst great injustice; that know that to ask this question openly would threaten their lives and the lives of those around them. And sadly, there is nothing new about that.
There is a pervasive notion that to question is equal to dissent. In organizations, workplaces and sadly also in church. People who tend to ask this question tend to be labeled as troublemakers/rebels/rogues. And in one way or another are ‘dealt with’. Pushed aside. Ignored into submission. Sent away. In this sense the issue boils down to another word people have a hard time embracing. Accountability.
I have come to realize more and more that one of the marks of an effective leader, leadership in general. Is willingness to submit to accountability, to the people under that leadership. Submission to God is easy, or rather, it is easy to proclaim. But when it comes to dealing with the people who are affected by decisions made within the church body. Very few people in leadership positions embrace the same level of accountability as they are called to have to God.
“Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?”
Proverbs 27:23-24 ESV
Everything is further complicated by the fact that as believers, and as a body, we have to make decisions while being Spirit-led. And sadly not many people understand what that means. Worse still, it is something that can very easily be abused, and used to justify any decision without having to truly explain anything to anyone. We are called to test and weigh any and every word from the Spirit, and seek guidance, from other believers as well. That doesn’t extend to just the individual, but it applies to entire ministries and churches also. Because it is in that process that discernment of what the Spirit is doing is found.
The problem, which I am very guilty of as well, is a third word we dont like to think about either. Complacency. We are far too often content to go through the motions. Put in our allotted time in ‘church’ during the week and then move on to ‘our lives’. Those same lives which Christ died and paid for, and redeemed. They are still ‘ours’. And far too easily we can justify not pressing deeper. We are busy after all, or serve enough, or simply dont truly care enough to do any more than what we do.
And that is not the heart of Christ. Not once are we called to do just enough. To act just within our comfort level. There are seasons of activity and seasons of calm. Seasons to fight and seasons in which to rest. But there is no pause or break or vacation from the call to draw closer to God.
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:11-12 ESV
So what can we do. The answer I found is rather simple. Though it can be very difficult to apply. Communication. Once communication breaks between leadership and the body troubles begin. Far too often there are systems in place to limit communication as well. And to ask a simple question like ‘Why’ to me doesn’t show dissent. But a desire to restore communication and have a dialogue in which real issues can actually be addressed.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”
1 Corinthians 12:12 ESV
Being a leader doesn’t make any one person more; and being led doesnt make any one person less. We are all one in Christ. And the Christian walk is not just an individual call, its also a corporate call for the body of Christ as his Church as well. And it is something we are called to do together.
We were invited to a dinner earlier this year at the house of church friends. They have been following our progress and from time to time prodded our posts with questions and counterviews. Needless to say the invitation made some of us less than comfortable. But we still went. Through our conversation we were able to learn more about where each of us came from and our path through the Church. Eventually the converstaion led to a question being asked of each of us. What is it that you want to do. It wasn’t a question which was easy to answer. And if I remember correctly ultimately all of us had varying answers centered around our personal experiences and desire to pursue ministry within our own paths. But it has left me thinking since then about why we started this blog in the first place.
Overall it was a lovely evening. We don’t receive many invitations like it. But on my drive home it felt very clear to me the purpose of it all. Mutual understanding through fellowship. It would be naive to claim the problems facing the Church are new problems. And that we are the only ones that have suffered because of it. They are not, and we haven’t been. Nor do we claim that we will solve them all for everyone. We are not seeking our own church or denomination. Nor to bash any one person or church. Our goal is simply to provide a platform where any one person, regardless of age, race or denomination can feel free to ask a simple question as Why, and be able to have a dialogue that will lead to growth and fellowship. And eventually change.
I love how you emphasize the importance of relationships and the necessity of the ability for one to be able to freely ask questions that are within your heart without any negative responses. This is something I struggled with because I am typically the one to ask deep questions and I felt as if certain ministries would get offended if I asked a question that they could not easily answer (I tend to think very deeply). Thank you for the acknowledgement and encouragement.
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I’m glad it was helpful. This is a deep issue all us here have struggled with. And its one that I feel ends up causing more problems for the body of a church as it is allowed to go on. And it drives us to end up feeling isolated when we see issues that need to be addressed but no one is willing to listen. But we are not alone, not really. And my hope is that more people realize that there is a need and an obligation to ask the deep questions. Because at the end of the day we need that depth in our faith.