Sunday, June 27, 2010

Negative Christianity

The ability to think about thinking represents a glorious achievement in life, but have you thought about the manner in which we learned to think, the public school system? Have you thought about how children are brought together, segregated by an arbitrary determinant -- age -- and then forced into a common mold? Ignoring the specificities of their abilities, desires, gifts, heritage, upbringing, physical talents to start, they go through the same classes and programs. Woe to those who break the mold.

Now that's an over-simplification. I left out the parents and teachers who care deeply and passionately and demonstrate their love by investing in each ward as an individual. But I left these exceptions to the system because I want to talk about systems at large. As the situation stands, public education in general does little to reward passion, and encourages safe mediocrity instead.

Our current public education system developed during an age of factories. Students scurry through the halls on a conveyor belt schedule. If the social studies teacher in 3rd period screwed up the class, no matter, it's time for 4th period math to be squirted into the student. Like many a factory in America, the workers have just stopped caring about producing the best product possible. Do your bit and if you don't do your best, no big deal because there are enough cogs in the system for you to not take full responsibility for your product.

Is Christianity a rusting, moldy factory producing subpar widgets in a world where the most important product is information?

More precisely, instead of Christianity in general, I want to ask about the model of Christianity and the model of ministry it often operates on.

No, that's not quite right yet. Let me limit it yet more and talk about what I truly wish to write about: has the only model of Christianity I've known, the one I've seen duplicated in so many Christian organizations I've seen the rusty factory?

The rusty factory model of education does a decidedly mediocre job of producing entrepreneurial spirits who want to explore and venture forth to seize the world. The rusty factory model of spiritual development... what does it produce?

Sometimes it produces defective models like me.

But that's OK. I wouldn't want to be a product of a factory anyways. Through processes still mysterious to me, I managed to not only survive but begin to find a spirituality truly my own -- a negative spirituality. What the majority does would be death to my soul.

Where others teach that the self and the heart is evil, needs to die, I need to learn that the self is to be honored, loved and the heart with its products is to be guarded.
Where others teach the depravity of man, I need to repeat to myself the doctrine of the imago dei.
Where others teach helplessness, I need to discover resourcefulness, initiative, ambition and perseverance.
Where others think that I've strayed off the straight and narrow, I need to persevere and remember that I can't allow myself to be run back through the factory. If I did, what have I really learned from the first disaster?

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