Heretic, the one word that you never want to be associated with you as a Christian or ministry worker. OR IS IT?

Rather, maybe we need more heretics. Those challenging the status quo in Church. Just maybe we need to think more unorthodox thoughts when it comes to ministry. (Notice I said ministry, not theology; though there is a conversation there).

Of course, most people call others heretics when someone else’s views don’t align with theirs. Meaning, they think that they have a corner on the “right theology”, and the “right way to do ministry”, and of course everyone else is just wrong. I even have some friends I think who wish they could still burn heretics at the stake today…just to teach them a lesson and prove a point.

I know this is a serious word and I’m somewhat playing with it. But maybe Seth Godin is right, maybe we have been entrapped by the status quo, and been caught up in the trappings of Church culture, politics, hierarchy, etc. Godin’s idea of heretic goes beyond Church, but involves corporations, non-profits, politics and more.

Heretic & Ministry
But what I’m interested in is the idea of the heretic in ministry.

For argument sake, I’m not talking about heretic when it comes to theology. I’m not debating the orthodox views of the faith (virgin birth, death, resurrection, etc.), though I know people disagree on those. I’m interested in the role of the heretic who challenges the trappings of the Church. The facade, roles, hierarchical authority that is built over 1000’s of years of faith.

Is it possible that the Church culture has enslaved us, and keeps us from actually doing what our faith asks of us? So rather than living out our faith and theology, we are captured by the status quo. Reminds me very much of being caught in The Matrix and deciding which pill to swallow.

Godin says:

Challenging the status quo requires a committment, both public and private. It involves reaching out to others and putting yourideas on the line. (Or pinning your Ninety-five Theses to the church door). (pp. 49)

and later in the book, Godin says:

Religion and faith are often confused. Someone who opposes faith is called an atheist and widely reviled. But we don’t have a common word for someone who opposes a particular religion.

Heretic will have to do.

If faith is the foundation of a belief system, then religion is the facade and the landscaping. It’s easy to get caught up in the foibles of a corporate culture and the systems that have been built over time, but they have nothing at all to do with the faith that built the system in the first place.

Change is made by people, by leaders who are proud to be called heretics because their faith is never in question. (pp. 84)

Thinking Heretical Thoughts on Ministry
In the next several posts I would like to challenge, raise questions, debate some areas of Church ministry that need some unorthodox thinking in them. Maybe we need more heretics in our midst to help us re-think/re-imagine how the Church could be.

These are areas that I have struggled with a long time as I know many of you have, many of you are beginning to, and others will just think, well, that’s heretical thinking. I’m simply bringing them up to raise discussion and conversation, not because I have all the answers to these. That’s why I want your input.

  1. The Sermon: Primarily in its current form (1 person; usually a male; talking at people for 45 mins).
  2. Church Leadership: Primarily as it pertains to top-down, hierarchical, male driven committees.
  3. Worship (music): Primarily as it pertains to “the rock star”, performers on stage.
  4. Communication: Primarily in its top-down, non-inclusive/non-participatory of the Church body.

There are more, but those 4 are enough for me to look at.  If you have others that you think should be on the list, add them in the comment section and we can explore them together.

What would you add?