Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Biblical Church Part 3: Order

Order:  You be the Judge!

The second perceptible trait is order.  Words inspire pictures, and the picture that always comes to mind with me is a military troop formation.  In my mind’s eye, I can see soldiers standing in duty uniform doing the drills to ensure uniform width and distance, then standing at attention.  But this is not every ones vision. This term is a lot like liberty. We understand what we can do with liberty or what we cannot do with order, but we never stop to consider the antithesis!
In liberty, we understand we have the ability to live according to the dictates of our conscience and beliefs, but somehow, stopping to think about what we should do with liberty is never considered.  Thomas Jefferson best stated:  

   . . .  liberty can consist only in the power ofdoing what we ought to will, and in not being constrained to do what we oughtnot to will. 

Liberty shouldn't mean libertine.  The thing we should do and be with liberty is model an example.  Modeling example behavior means to inspire others to be the best that they can be in their particular choice of life.  That behavior serves as a role model for the less spiritually or financially fortunate. Whether we want to admit it or not, people look at us and expect to see something different, not the same as everyone else.  And any extreme examples on either side will not attract people, but detract them and repel people.  Think about this:  
 When was the last time you saw an Amish missionary?

Let us look at order:

The antithesis of order is proficiency which is then followed by creativity.  Allow me to paint a mental picture of Order. Imagine a television commercial for office equipment where a group of people in old-fashioned office attire, in a grey dusty room are all moving in unison, with dull, dry insipid faces.  Perhaps like the old movie Brazil or a stereotypical image of the governmental offices in the old Soviet Union. But order is so much more than this.  In the time of the Japanese samurai, they would study flower arranging and calligraphy, which took time, effort and order to create.  Consider the musician that has spent hours learning music theory, technique and chord structure.  All of this takes discipline and order.  It takes hours of practice to play another composers score with ease.  But what happens when this is accomplished?  Out of this order and discipline comes the ability to mix, meld, blend and improvise to make more harmony. It is not destruction but construction!
 I have an acquaintance that plays guitar. He doesn’t like structured music. He just likes to "Jam". I respect that, but believe that there is more to music and for that matter the church!

  Have you ever tried to build something? Whether it is a bird house, install a faucet or fix a fence.  There is a certain amount of order and structure in how things are put together to make them function. This is also true with standard practices in construction and repair work.  Even from menial tasks there is organization that ultimately results in creativity and proficiency.  Ever stop to consider that not just music, but many trades and even degrees are called “arts”?

When we speak of order in the church, the stereotype is often of an antiquated, quiet and even stogy church service that is so insipid it could put you to sleep.  This is one common stereotype.  With the reawakening of the church to the Pentecostal movement Joel 2:28  and Acts 2:4, 39  

we were introduced to another stereotype.  This was with people running and rolling in the aisles,   praying ecstatically and loudly with the Spirit and with understanding   (see Romans 8:26  and Jude 20-22).
Some church movements had no respect for an order of service or a preaching minister. The outsiders view was a cacophony of noises, emotion and pandemonium.
But, somewhere in between these two extremes we see a proper balance in the church.   Many opponents of Eastern philosophy speak of the duality of the Yin – Yang symbol as being bad and evil.  An interesting counter point is that they believe in a proper balance in all things.  This was the founding tenant behind Buddhism.  I do not believe in the Hindu and Eastern religions, but we must concede the point that a proper balance is needed in all things Ecclesiastes 7: 16-17 Ecclesiastes 3
Interestingly, Asian culture used this idea in medicine as well as philosophy!

I noted on several occasions that Pentecostal Bishops would remark that even the old time Pentecostals would become offended if the order of service varied from what was expected.  They would state “… if we forget this… then some think  ‘God didn’t move’..”   One minister compared our order of service to the Catholic and Orthodox church:  IE do not tamper with it!!

Its amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Until next time:

Your Brother in Christ
And  Senpai in Karate 

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