A Lover’s Quarrel: Shooting Our Wounded

Garrett’s ninth wish for the Churches of Christ is —

Let us cease shooting our own wounded

We sometimes reject our sisters and brothers in Christ when they need us most. It may be when they are going through a divorce, or when once divorced, they plan to marry. …

We’ve been known to shoot our missionaries in the field if they become “liberal” or depart from the party line through exposure to the larger Christian world, leaving them to get home the best they can. …

We haven’t been pastoral to our troubled people. A preacher with gnawing doubts has to keep to himself.  …

Our Lord sought to redeem the wounded rather than to condemn them. We was compassionate and merciful towards the ostracized of society. He even died for them. We must learn to be like them.

Ahh … you see, our understanding of Jesus is highly distorted. Jesus ate with prostitutes and other sinners. We tell them they’d be more comfortable somewhere else — meaning, we’d be more comfortable if they’d leave. 

This comes from several things. It comes from centering our faith on Acts rather than the Gospels. It comes from beginning with a legalistic paradigm. It comes from seeing ritual and liturgy as the center of Christianity. It comes from seeing our mission as adherence to a pattern of worship and organization rather than mission to those in need. It comes from finding our identity in our practices rather than in our Savior.

The tragedy of this is that it justifies some very un-Christian behavior justified by a feeling of superiority derived from knowing all the rules.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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2 Responses to A Lover’s Quarrel: Shooting Our Wounded

  1. Todd says:

    And sadly these failings highlight the fatal flaw in restorationism. To restore the New Testament pattern we had to define it in terms of what the Church was to be. We got so bogged down in the arguments over structure that we forgot function. Even our greatest evangelistic pushes had little to do with coming to Jesus and much to do with converting to the "Biblical" way things should be done.

    How can we be surprised that we missed the point so badly or that now that we are trying to restore the function of the Church that we meet such resistance from those who were converted to the form?

  2. Gary Cummings says:

    I do love Leroy. In the late 70’s I met him when I got out of the Navy and moved back to the Dallas area. I was an ex-member and ex-,minister of the churches of Christ (still am an ex), and was divorced from my first wife. She, raised in the Churches of Christ, abandoned our marriage in 1971, because I had left the Churches of Christ (her reason). I went to court a year later, after trying to reconcile, and studying the divorce issue while attending Brite Divinity School (Disciples of Christ). I filed for divorce against her and our divorce was final in 1972. Needless to say, the church of Christ ministers and teachers, and previous friends turned their guns on me-Big Time. Hey I was not the one who abandoned the marriage. I opposed a war, worked as a conscientious objector, had my eyes opned about the legalism of the Churches of Christ and left in 1971. My reward was abandonment by my then-wife, and disownment by any friends. Great compassion was shown her and none to me. My wounds have recovered as well as my shaken faith. I have the scars which are also healed, but they do ache from time to time.

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