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2 Responses to “Why Institutions Matter – Pt. 7”

  1. John Nunnikhoven says:

    You said: “Imagine a world where faith communities administer the sacraments as a visible sign of the ought-is-can-will definition of reality. Imagine a world where faith communities take this so seriously that they discipline those who unfortunately choose to live outside of reality. Imagine that.”

    Imagine a world where our faith communities begin to live in the ought-is-can-will reality and then you can begin to imagine a world where the institutions also live in that world. By and large, our faith communities mimic the institutions because we think those represent the better way. It is time to turn the world right side up.

  2. Mike Metzger says:

    John: I like that! People often imagine that prophets or innovators turn institutions upside down. But if they are on the side of reality, they turn them right side up. In fact, something I wrote in this piece needs to be turned right side up. In actuality, no one truly lives outside of reality. Reality is reality. To the degree that one does, on time reality will bite. All one can do actually is distort reality as it says in Romans, “hold the truth in unrighteousness.” So I was incorrect in writing that people can live outside reality. Second, by “discipline” I mean church discipline as in Matthew 18 and excommunication. Faith communities built upon a therapeutic gospel (“we’re all wounded people”) and individualism (my “personal relationship with Jesus”) find discipline to be a difficult duty to perform. My guess is that their congregants tend to treat membership as a personal choice based on preferences (worship, sermon styles, youth program) or feeling that the church is a “safe” place. Either orientation is not conducive to discipline. An institutional approach–both to shalom and church–reinforces the need for discipline, including excommunication as a last resort to underscore that the institution trumps individualism.

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