iBlog: Me, Unorthodoxism and a dab of Authenticity


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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Me, Unorthodoxism and a dab of Authenticity

I took a message at work yesterday for a chap called Matt. This is how the conversation went
Me Tim from IMS called for you
Matt Urgh he would do!
Me Want his number?
Matt No!
Me His reference is [ref]
Matt Gurgh it would be wouldn’t it!
Me He wanted you to call before half five
Matt Cuh’ - He would do wouldn’t he!
Me His…
Matt Gruphgh!

Of course Matt was joking (both Matt and Tim are nice chaps – hence that conversation amusing me), but I sometimes think I’m like that with the Christians:
Me Urgh
Church New songs in church, buy our CD!
Me Grugh, they would do wouldn’t they
Church Reality…
Me Gurgph!
Church `Are you going to Soul Survivour this year?`
Me *Patronising stare*

Anyone who’s seen the fire brim over in Tom Rawles’ eyes at the mention of `Benvolio` or actually read three posts of my blog must now be aware that I’m no stranger to the devil’s advocate role of the culinary church critique.

But I think my dictum can be surmised by the concept that:
As much as I refuse to be governed by the mindset of being a sheep whose Sheppard is the church leadership or be party to the `Pretend Until Something Happens` philosophy that makes the insecurity of many people just disappear, I question the church around me and the wider ambience of what may be considered the compus mentus of the body of Christ.

Unorthodoxy is many things: intriguing (for some blog readers), lethal (in Stalinist Awesome regimes), genius (in art), idiotic (in beaurocricy), risky (in business), sometimes encouraged (in seeking God in Emerging Culture) and even conformist (in Emo/Alternative culture). One thing unorthodoxy never is, is a stranger to the individual with the freely thinking mind that knows when conformity is a virtue, and when the ambience of linearity is an impersonal and constricting burden.

I think a lot of people see me as a church saboteur, infiltrating the Russian Toxic Prayer Plant, laying the plastique explosives of a cynical first person narrative and escaping in a conveniently placed micro-light disguised as a biro for some adultery in an exotic European city, I rather see myself as more of a benign figure. An honest appraisal at least and a libertine at the undesirable most.

I’ve mentioned before that Adrian Plas said there’s a movement of honesty running through the church. Too many people are tired of hearing the `everything is fine so smile and buy our CD` attitude that has prevailed ever since the tambourine was smuggled into the hands of unapologetic worshippers. These feral Pentecostals, for all their flags and acoustic guitars know the value of the `joy of the Lord is my strength` - a philosophy that, to me, proves ever more brilliant and true as the years go by.

But I think many people and movements are just an ongoing attempt to mimic that euphoric shakin’-on-the-ground state of heart without knowing the meaning behind it. As such, they adopt a veneer that says all the right words, goes to all the right festivals and buys all the right CDs, tax disc holders and WWJD bracelets to embed themselves evr more deeply in the culture of churchtianity which removes them from this fundamental inspired `the joy of the Lord is my strength` ethos that becomes the textbook Christian. This façade of `we’re okay because we’re Christians`, for more than many people simply doesn’t work. It leaves people feeling destitute, depressed, dispassionate and demoralized (and ask anyone, I’m not a man who uses more ds than necessary!)

The reason for this fabricated faith not working is as self-evident as the farce that it so obviously is… Its mere nature is literally unauthentic (that’s: small A – unauthentic not unAuthentic).

So maybe for everything unorthodoxy is, and for all its various forms, in the context of churchtianity, unorthodoxy is healthy. So long as it’s outside the confines of the heretical, I should think that unorthodoxy in whatever form is vital to the ongoing assertion of priority in the life of a Christian.

I remember being a nipper and going out of my depth in the Swimming pool in sunny Yarmouth. (It was only about four months ago I learned to swim) I remembered what mummy taught me about just relaxing and the water would float you, so I did that and just sank. I thrashed about like an epileptic fly with a CNS disorder to stay afloat until (well, I can’t remember how the story ended with that – I just remember telling dad and trying to sound really hardcore later that day – either way, it must have had a happy ending because I’m not especially dead today).

Sometimes this is how I feel about the mainstream church’s conformity to their Spiritual and cultural yardstick. Everyone has their own issues, agendas, hang ups, obsessions etc, and to expect this pattern of Christianity to confirm to this is silly. If you can’t swim, then laying back on the water is a stupid thing to do, and may very well be pathetic enough to be included in a Lee Evan’s sketch. Authentic Faith and unorthodoxy, in the context of Churtianity and human nature are not mutually exclusive concepts.

I think I’ve talked a lot about a lot of stuff in this blog, but my point is this:
The best way to re-evaluate one’s position with regard to life the universe and everything is not by hiding in a durex pitying the poor destitute of the world. Neither is it by buying your way through the stock of SPCK. Self-perspective can’t be found by following the trend and swimming along with the status quo of Christiankind (Like Orwell hypothesized: `a minority of one doesn’t make you mad`).

With that in mind, the role unorthodoxy plays is to challenge accepted traits. To re-establish that which we all take for granted, and who knows, when the grounding is Biblical, come to more relevant and truthful conclusions – even if the expense is honesty, and the destruction of some well established church comforts.


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