Kevin started a discussion on a group of people that he has affectionately named the Rantin’ Remnant (RR). These people are called such because they are, in their speech, correct about why many churches have become sterile and yet do nothing to change it. They seem to not be ready to actually be what they say that the church was intended to be. In the discussion Jenny asked me a question. “What are the real reasons that the RR people you know are not connected to a community”?
It’s a good question with a list as an answer, so instead of trying to comment my answer, I thought I would dedicate an entire post to it. Before I go into my list let me say that not every RR fits in this list, just the ones I know personally. My assumption, although possibly false, is that this list probably fits most cases of the RR epidemic.
First here is a list of the reasons that I have been given by various members of the RR. They offer these because they, on the surface, feel valid. After careful consideration most people will discover that they are in fact not valid, at least not if you are really passionate about something such as the RR seem to be.
- Frustrated / Discouraged / Overwhelmed – In this reason they make the assumption that every church is flawed because they have had bad experiences. I have had my share of bad experiences within the church so I can understand this and often empathize with people who offer this reason.
- Fear – It’s hard to be vulnerable when you have been hurt in the past. With this reason the person is saying that they would love to be a part of a real biblical community but they can’t risk the emotional scars that inevitably come when it all falls apart.
- God 0 This one is my favorite. The claim is that there are no available biblical communities that God has told me to be a part of. Some even go further and claim that God has specifically told them to leave every community they have had some affiliation.
Many have given me the above reasons without considering that I wasn’t born yesterday and in fact have a little experience with their lives. Here are some of the real reasons why the RR that I know are not connected to a community.
- Pride – They think they are the only ones who really get it. If a community doesn’t do it the way they have concluded that it should be done then it’s time to move on because they are wrong. The very nature of a community means that there are going to be disagreements but it is that diversity (not division) that makes it strong. These are the ones who usually use the “God”? excuse.
- Selfishness – It’s not that there isn’t community; it’s that it’s not focused on them. If it was always about their values, their struggles and their current crisis then they would be at every gathering.
- Laziness – As Jenny pointed out in her comment, creating community is hard. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I think some would rather act enraged than actually do the hard work of changing it. If you show me a self-sacrificing community I will show you people who…sacrifice.
- Priorities – When topics of a spiritual nature come up the rant begins but only when it comes up. It’s a pretend soap box. They get on it and rant and then move on to more important areas in their lives. Sometimes they just claim they are too busy but the final outcome is the same. They claim to hate the state of the church but only when it’s the topic of the moment. All I am saying is that it doesn’t keep them up at night.
So these are the few that I have witnessed in my discussions with the RR I know and I recognize that these may not be true of them all. My prayer is that if you are one of the RR that you will see the tremendous potential for community that is wasted when we draw near to one another with our mouths but our hearts and lives are far away.