Thursday, September 29, 2011

9.5 Metriopathic Theses for the Church

1. Church should be interesting. The Scriptures are interesting. God is interesting. When the assembly gathers for worship, preaching and worship should reflect this. Too little of it does.

2. The church should be safe. It is a refuge for those who are lost and abused, and it needs to be a safe place for those seeking solace, comfort, and care. It should especially be safe for those (like, for example, the LGBT community, minorities, and the poor) who find it difficult to find safe places in our culture.

3. The church should seem saintly not sinful. Often our sinfulness in the church is a barrier to those outside the church hearing the gospel and trusting in it. It is a travesty that we fight so much, and care so much about our own internal disputes that we do not often reflect the glory of God to the world.

4. Laity are the new monastics, and all the skepticism concerning monasticism in the reformation period applies equally to clergy today. Clergy, though simply one of the baptized, hold a sacred office in the church, and the spirit works that office for the upbuilding of the church. Elevation of the laity at the denigration of the minister of Word & Sacrament is damaging to the church.

5. More worship (and more sermons) should be clear, to the point, and focused. Too often we have not done the hard work of focusing our preaching and worship to the point where it resounds, clear and tonal, like a poem.

6. Churches should enforce the law more often. Too often we are the last refuge for those who wish to flout the law, such as predators, and in general people who lack boundaries and are antagonistic and know that churches are confused about what grace actually is, and how to be assertive while simultaneously being gracious.

7. That really is bread and wine you are eating in the Eucharist. Hopefully someone in your congregation made it and grew it.

8. That baptized person next to you in worship really is not yet a member of your own body, but will be, eschatologically, in the resurrection to life in Christ. But then they will be Jesus. And so will you. And Jesus will be in God. And beyond that I have no idea how to describe stuff that far beyond the beyond.

9. The church is a closed set, not a free for all. We have a canon, and a creed, a rule of faith, and dogma and doctrine that have developed over time, and there are ways of preaching, teaching, and living that are outside of this set. 

9.5 God is genuinely interested in what kind of music you listen to, because God is a fugue.

[I violate most if not all of these theses in my life and ministry, but nevertheless believe they are true and theologically faithful.]


  1. What does metriopathic mean?

  2. Middle way. You can search for metriopatheia on Wikipedia for a longer explanation.