Friday, October 28, 2011

A confession: I have veneer-ial dis-ease, I think I caught it at Church

I have a confession to make I have a Veneer-ial dis-ease.

No this does not have anything to do with the sexual mores of the Western Church at the moment. Well in actual fact it does really. AS I have continued to read about the monastic and new monastic movement and other books like Elaine Heath's 'The Mystic Way of Evangelism : A contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach.' I am aware that my christian life is very much like a veneer, it may look good to those who like the type of veneer I've tacked over who I am... But is there depth? Does it reach to the very depth of my being? I'm not sure... OK I confess I need to be converted more and more day by day in every way.

Sadly, I think I caught this veneer-ial dis-ease, this malaise of the soul, from Church, or at least we share the shame. I fear that it had reached in and infected us... People talk of the Christian faith in Africa as being like veneer "a mile wide by an inch thick". But I fear it is the case in the west as well. And this veneer-ial disease is affecting our ability to reproduce, it's causing infertility and effects our ability to find the intimacy in our communion with God and one another that we desperately seek. I hope it is not fatal.

Sadly I think I, and we the church, have sort for answers that reflect our context at the end of the modernist project. We've fallen into the lie of hyper-modernity and looked for an instant fix, a programme, a drug that can clear things up. In New Zealand just recently we've had several disasters that have shown how we as a society have become addicted to, every day miracles. The "Rena' ran into reef off Tauranga harbour and spilled oil in to the sea and there was an expectation that salvages would be able to sort it out over night like. However its taken time and we've come to appreciate the skills and dedication the engineers have as they have had to wrestle pumps and hoses down into the darkness and broken twisted metal of the ships hull. Likewise the Maui Gas line has a leak and businesses are suffering from lack of Natural Gas and were saying, 'why couldn't it get fixed like yesterday' in the end again engineers work round the clock to get it fixed. I don't have to mention Christchurch and the earthquakes there and the long wait to evaluate what can and cannot be saved.

Maybe for me and the church its part of the veneer-ial dis-ease. We want a patch a quick fix a download that will do the trick.

In a matrix like moment I feel like that just maybe the social theory of Jean Baudrillard may be right we've bought into a simulacra. A model, veneer where the reality behind it no longer exists. No not in a modernistic 'godless faith' kind of way. But that its only once we are embrace the invitation of 'welcome to the desert of the real we can go searching and seeking again the transforming presence of God and allow our beings to be transforrned and healed of Venner-ial disease.

I see hope in the echo of  a deep faith, a deep contemplation that allows one not only to encounter God at the core of our being, but also die to self and serve the hurting broken world around me/us. A concept of deep church I have only started to hear (A CS Lewis term).

This is not a jump to an answer it is a confession.

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