Spiritual Ronin cont.
A friend of mine has just published a book on spiritual health and leadership. It comes from a well known publisher and is professionally impressive. The problem is, my friend who is an expert in things spiritual does not attend church and will not join a local body for all sorts of good reasons. He is part of a growing number of people I am aware of who are independent spiritual experts, self-employed contractors, retreat leaders, spiritual guides and Bible study leaders....many of whom stay unconnected and uncommitted to the local church.
Then, last night in Modesto, at the Annual Celebration of the Pacific Southwest Conference, Sherwood Carthens, pastor of Bayside South Covenant Church in South Sacramento preached a barnstorming sermon on Romans 12:2. His four points were: 1. We need a set of core values that don't change (the Jesus Creed), 2. We need to adopt God's radical plan for expansion in which no person is expendible, 3. We need to be committed to a ministry of radical reconciliation (II Cor 5:19-20). We cannot be content with anyone NOT being a part of the body 4. We need to live out a sincere belief that we are one family.
Sherwood drove home the point that we need to be moving into committed relationships in and through the local church; incarnational, messy, flawed as it is....is the plan.
I am sitting in a sanctuary right now with a bunch of other Covenant pastors. I need them and they need me. I need a group to whom I am accountable and committed. I can't run this race on my own, all alone, in my private interior world. I need to continue to learn to obey, to follow directions, even orders. Do you know how hard that is for me? I don't like "taking orders" or "taking direction". Instead, I like advice and suggestion from a peer, from an equal.
But that's not good enough, it's not deep enough, it's not biblical enough.