Yesterday I was quite horrified when I read an article on CNN about a couple who allowed their daughter to die from diabetes, because they were convinced God would heal her. I came to the conclusion that they were wacky Christians, and wondered why it is that it’s always the weird Christians or the fundamentalists that make the rest of us seem a little odd to the rest of the world. One, however, has to be open minded when reading media reports, because, as we know, the whole context of a situation is not always reported, and they can be biased. Before I continue you might want to read the article here, if you have not done so already.
In some way I guess this couple really thought they were living in faith, as they were utterly convinced that their daughter was going to be healed and raised from the dead. Both of them were convinced this would happen. Me, I would have given up after a while and gone to a doctor. Maybe some would say, then, that I have little faith? However, from reading the article it is clear that their belief system was a little eccentric.
What has really had me thinking over the past day though is that the family did not belong to any “organized religion or faith group”. They used to go to a pentecostal church, but moved to Wisconsin to open a coffee shop and started a prayer group there. They were seen as being “religious isolationists” The local police chief was quoted as saying: “They have gone out on their own,” he said. “… They have a very narrow view of Scripture and I would say not many people hold to that narrow of view.”
The coffee shop and prayer group made me read a little harder! 😉 Some people who are leaving institutionalized church (IC) are gathering in or opening third spaces such as coffee houses, book shops etc; as well as a host of other things. Due to this couples deemed isolation it has made me think about accountability and affiliation when it comes to emerging /missional “plants”. More and more are leaving church and gathering in smaller communities. Generally those gathering do not have a narrow view of scripture, as this couple have, and most gatherings are running successfully – however you deem that success to be. However, I guess many IC’s would consider these communities to be isolationist.
I think church has become too much like a business and rather legalistic. However, do you think new gatherings outside of IC should have more accountability or affiliation, if so in what form, and where would it come from? I’m curious as to what your thoughts are.