I've always been close to this son and I think I know how he thinks and feels. I shared with Denise that in my opinion, Campus Crusade or The Navigators would do him far more harm than good.
I certainly think there are those Christians, or Christians who are at a certain place in their lives, for whom such organizations are helpful. I think the Navigators would never, hopefully, be repeating their behavior from my era . . . where submission to authority was the center-piece of their theology.
But if you are a deep-thinker, an observer of social phenomena in a critical-thinking way, and a non-conformist, you can be quickly disillusioned by such groups. When your spirituality becomes a function of rote memory and behavior mimicking, it quickly becomes so shallow that the slight breeze will send your faith off into the night like dandelion seeds.
So it got me thinking about the "third rail" of Christian experience. If the first rail is full commitment to the institutions of church, and/or para-church, and the second rail is total abandonment of all organized religion (still claiming to be a Christian, or not) then there might be a third rail.
The metaphor of the "third rail" of course implies danger, as in the electrified rail of a track. My ex-pastor strongly believed that if you were not fully involved (both feet) in a local church, but not just any church, one that fit within his narrow definition of "Biblical church" then, he questioned if you could be a Christian. I remember that during one of the first sermons, he was railing (pun intended) against the emerging church movement . . . non of those forms (such as the house church) were Biblical, in his view.
But I've been wondering of late if indeed a third rail is maybe a viable option for some. What I mean by this option, is minimal involvement.
I'm going to a new, "high church" (my words) now. Several weeks in a row I marked the visitor's card that I, a.) wanted to become a member, b.) wanted to be part of a small group, c.) wanted to know how I can volunteer to help. So far no one has contacted me. I'm thinking though, maybe that's a good thing.
While I could never see Ramsey fully involved with Campus Crusade, I.V. or the Navigators (or a campus Baptist church), I could see him going to a sponsored meeting or lecture on comparative philosophies. . . if it was of a topic that relevant to his life.
I also could see him attending, on occasion, a high church . . . even Catholic (but the form, which he is not familiar with might scare him off). But it would hard for me ever seeing him involved with the traditional church, not unless his spirit was completely broken . . . and he walked in zombie form with his hand held out (like from Huxley's Brave New World) saying, "soma . . . soma."
But this thinking flies in the face of the New Testament . . . doesn't it? What about all that talk of not failing to meet together as some have? What about all the NT talk of elders, deacons, preaching, teaching and etc?
Honestly, I would like to go back and try to read the New Testament soon . . . while trying to keep my cultural glasses off. I'm starting to think that there is a place of intense teaching (not brain washing) when someone first becomes a Christian . . . especially when they come out of a totally non-Christian culture as the people in the New Testament.
But then, I think there may be a time when lecturing week after week does more mind breaking than edifying or building up. Maybe this is what scripture is talking about that in Hebrews 5:11-14:
11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Okay, I want to think about this more. But maybe it is time in my life that I go to formal church, take the sacraments, focus on serving those in need but stay away from Bible studies and Sunday schools and definitely stay away from groups that practice intense conformity.
I know I'm not making a lot of sense right now.