by Kim Engelmann
“Confess your sins, one to another that you may be healed.”
“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Our current culture is autonomous and individualistic as well as de-humanizing. This makes transparency difficult. In order to feel safe in the current climate, I must create a kind of false persona that fits with a de-humanized world. I find that a shallow façade works well. By using it I can function efficiently and productively in an environment I do not trust, one that does not value or even have time for who I truly am. If I were to be transparent and let others ‘in,’ I might get hurt, abused, abandoned, or simply be misunderstood.
The early church in Acts was a refuge for the broken in the midst of a world gone wrong. Early documents tell us that Christians took the widows, orphans, and children into their community—people that no one else cared about. Scripture also tells us that the people in that early church had all things in common. An authentic community is one that places a high value on honesty and transparency in a context of high grace. Alcoholics Anonymous is a community that does this very well— it is a context where words like ‘inventory’ and ‘rigorous honesty’ are lived out in each meeting. For the church to live out its mission, it needs to reclaim and nurture a context of high grace and high transparency— these go hand in hand.
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I Don’t Want God to Love Me: I want him to tell me what to do and then leave me alone. by Taylor Gahm
Minding the Gap by Matt Russell
What does it mean for you to live transparently?
Have you ever experienced a church where there was transparent community?
If not, was there a person at church with whom you could share honestly and openly?
Is it essential that we learn to live transparently in the church? Why?
What needs to happen in order to make our churches less like a bastion for the righteous and more like a hospital for sinners?
What might have to change?
What might need to stay the same?
we cannot hide from you.
All of our righteousness is as filthy rags.
Our pretense and our false persona melt before your gaze.
You see us as we are, and yet you are still in with loving us.
What an insane, holy miracle!
Show us how to stay open and honest in a hostile world,
much the way you did when you lived here with us.
Help us to know that when we are transparent
it calls others to do the same.
In this authenticity we are healed.