jeudi 10 novembre 2011

Surprised by Change!

I meant to post this since Yesterday but I couldn't find sufficient time to do it. I wrote this piece few months ago at one of the forums I moderate and I feel like share it again over here. See the content below.

I have had a pleasant time at Living Word Association this last Saturday. Christian Kajeneri and Manu led us in a nice worship and praise ambiance, Phizer gave us an interesting sermon and Levi surprised us with an amazing poem about Jesus. The poem was for me the highlight of the event. I love Jesus and I am always thrilled to hear someone describe Him with beautiful words. Unfortunately I am not a poet nor am I gifted in prose and eloquence. It seems to me that i might have had a charisma bypass sometime in my amnesic past. smile

The day that followed (Sunday), I was leading a retreat at the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International (FGBMFI) when I was surprised with an invitation. I was contacted by a certain youth leader from the ADPR Church to join their youth convention and fill in an open spot as the preacher of the day. Though surprised by the short noticed invitation, I accepted the invitation and I showed up at the "Ngurunziza Church" late in the afternoon (after the FGBMFI retreat). Ngurunziza is the Rwandan native expression rendered as Good News in English.

Since the organizer gave me a free pass and told me that due to the nature of the late invitation, I was free to choose my own topic. I thought for a while and I said to myself,
 'given that my brothers and Sisters from the ADPR Church love the grace of God and practice the law of God, why not make them change the order of interest and make them embrace the practice of grace and only leave them nostalgically love the law?'
That's how i chose my topic. It was set in my mind, i decided to preach John 1:17, 'For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.'

As soon as I arrived at the church, i couldn't believe what I was hearing. I kept listening attentively to the old Pastor who was speaking as i was being escorted at the vicinity of the pulpit. The pastor was an old man and he was saying things like this,

"I am not a conservator", "what makes you think that drinking alcohol is a sin?" "I can prove you from the Bible that drinking alcohol is not a sin" etc.
 As i took my seat i kept listening to what he was saying and i wondered, am I really at an ADPR gathering? For those who don't know about the ADPR churches, they are a traditional form of Pentecostalism. The prime emphasis of their theology can be resumed to this: "Holiness at all cost"! So hearing what i was hearing made me smile, probably because it came from an old ADPR pastor. Anyway, i decided to share my four
facets of grace mingled with personal testimonies and my audience composed mostly of young-adults seemed to take what i was saying with more openness. They laughed, they smiled, they applauded and that's all i can refer to to suggest that they at least weren't alienated to my message. Maybe the Pastor intervention before i stood at their chair made my message sound more conservative than that of their pastor. smile ... in a sense i am pleased that he preceded me.

At my return, I thought about the pastor's speech and many other teachings I have been hearing around protestant churches for the past years, and it makes me think of the reformation slogans,
 "ecclesia reformata, semper reformada: 'the church reformed, always reforming.'"
People are either rejecting their previous beliefs without necessarily abandoning their core faith or are putting their previous high status beliefs as secondary and are embracing new approaches - voir new views in their
Christianity. I am currently interested at the doctrinal Protestant mutation as well as their dancing around conservatism and Liberalism; traditionalism and modernism. It is quite interesting to observe the tap dancing. I have been enjoying the show and i am glad that my interest in Christianity has put me somehow in the from seat to witness some aspect of the church metamorphosis.

You probably know me, i do not hold the usual beliefs some of my dear protestant brothers and sisters holds as this can be readily be seen in my many debates, posts and discussions in this forum since 2008. I love meaningful changes and I do not mean by this post above that the changes are or were bad. I simply found
them to be just surprising and somehow unexpected to say the least. I am sure that some of those who are making changes still believes that they are radical. Actually almost every christian folks i met think that they are radical and the others are either less radical than them, or extremists or simply moderates. I like hearing that! It is funny!

This reminds me of a comment Adam Hamilton made in his book, 'Seeing Gray in a world of Black and White': "Someone more conservative than you thinks of you as a liberal; likewise, your liberal neighbor considers you a conservative." Anyway, I had a good weekend and my curiosity has just been elevated into a new high. I am seriously curious to see what is going to happen to our Rwandan churches within the coming 8 years. Are we going to recognize them anymore or are they gonna change so much and so fast as Kigali is changing that we will need then to hear their old sermons to remember what they used to believe? I wish we had some church sociologists working on that already.

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