Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 31: The Heart People

Not everyone accepts the "this is the way we do it" explanation. Some say, "But WHY is this the way we do it? There is no reason under the sun that we need to wear black shoes to church! Does the Bible SAY we need to wear black shoes to church?" These kind of people are not generally looked at with appreciation and respect among their Mennonite peers. While non-Mennonites view their disallusionment with more of a "This is not what we were looking for after all, we'll keep on searching" attitude, those thinkers within the church view it more as a reason to speak up and take up a new side!

These people form the "Heart Side". They are thoroughly sick of rules and living by the letter of the law. They argue that it's too easy to look good on the outside - follow all the standards to a T - but on the inside be full of sin. They push for a turning back to the Bible and examining what it has to say with honesty, openness and a willingness to change the things that have "always been done that way" if they are found uneccesary. Their focus is on the inside, the heart. "What's in the heart is what counts" is their mantra.

The problem is, their lack of teaching in the Art of Thinking often comes back to bite them! In their fierce scorn of standards and all the politics that go with them, they often choose to throw it all out. Too often they throw out more than they bargained for! Instead of asking thoughtful questions like "Why do we want to change?" or "Where will this track end?" They allow their reactions to drive their decisions and before they know it, they look around and wonder how did we get way out here??


Anonymous said...

Bethany, I just wanted to let you know I'm really enjoying this series. I'm not usually a commenter, but I've been reading your blog for probably the past year. I lost my Mom unexpectedly this year too, just a few months after you did. I think this dichotomy is present, to some extent, in most congregations. I was raised in a mainline Presbyterian congregation and stayed with it till about 4 years ago. There were changes over the years, but I was pleased in adulthood to find a congregation that was focused on scriptural based sermons rather than just current events with a scripture thrown in to make it look "churchy." I am, by nature, a thinker. I MUST know why for just about everything. Drove my Dad crazy when he tried to help me with geometry and other higher maths. Those just came naturally to him, but I needed to know how and why. Seems there is a fine line for all Christians between tradition and "keeping fresh." I don't know all that much about Mennonites, but some of the basics. I'm sure when those standards were established, there was a why. It probably made sense in the context of the time they were written. Perhaps black shoes were the most basic and functional, easily accessible for all congregants and least likely to stir up unwanted focus on fashion. Same for solid color dresses. Just throwing those standards out, even though they have no direct biblical basis, can easily lead to the total abandonment of any standards of dress we see in our churches. I'm in a much more conservative evangelical Presbyterian denomination now, but the teenage girls still strive to dress like their peers. Even the ones who are homeschooled, or go to church based schools. The reality is, following some simple standards can help develop the skills needed to follow the bigger, harder standards that really are Bible based. I can imagine that for a totally unchurched person, there is some initial comfort in having all of those standards. As they learn more, and the current congregants are not able to explain the basis for some of those standards, it could surely get confusing and overwhelming. Thanks for your writing I'm looking forward to hearing about the group you have chosen. Humans seem to have a habit of over correcting, causing even bigger problems than the one they were trying to fix.

Anonymous said...

Paragraph 1, sentence 5: you have perfected the art of the understatement. :P

Bethany Eicher said...

Hey! You know me -- always trying to be nice! :D

Bethany Eicher said...

I love everything about this comment! :) I kept nodding my head all the way through...thank you so much for commenting! My sympathy on the loss of your mother. It's amazing how we find connections through experiences God brings our way. Blessings.

Tina said...

I was blessed by the first persons commentings (is that a word?:)). Very good!