Element Three- Redefined Reality

Through the isolation of our lives and the adoption of specialized language, we begin the process of redefining reality.  Nothing is as it seemed before.  What was once a sleepless night is now “torment”.  What was once a low day or a bout of depression is now “oppression”.  What was once an argument with a family member is now an “attack”.  We define people by their saved-ness or lost-ness.  We qualify believers by our definition of what it means to be “apostolic”.  People we knew and loved and freely accepted into our lives before are now defined by their sin; they are drunkards, they are sexually immoral.

And even more radically, we alter our sense of reality by the application of our particular mores and taboos, both Scriptural and traditional, to a frightening degree.  So, we can’t comfortably speak of television unless we do so in a completely negative sense…even though it’s likely that the vast majority of all UPC homes have them.  Our television taboo redefines reality for us to such an extent that any acknowledgment of television is couched in a slew of disclaimers.  And this in 2016.

We also redefine reality by refusing to speak of or acknowledge things, that while true, don’t portray us in the most positive light.  So, we’ll not broach the subject of depression among pastors’ spouses because it contradicts our Pentecostal reality.  We can’t acknowledge that one of the reasons we place such emphasis on evangelism is to balance the outflow of those leaving the church.  We won’t acknowledge this because it is offensive to our Pentecostal reality.  We can’t acknowledge the incredible loss of UPCI youth…and that those losses occur regardless of youth programs or the conservatism of congregations.  And we refuse to acknowledge it because it offends our sense of Pentecostal reality.

We’ll do this…redefine reality…until all that we really acknowledge as significant, true, and valuable are those things that reinforce our beliefs and practices.

Tomorrow…wrapping it up.

  1. This is very good medicine, Bro!

  2. Craig says:

    The last part about refusing to acknowledge reality is so, so, so true and such a hinderance to the movement. We bury our heads in the sand about how many youth we are losing, across the board, to the detriment of actually reaching our youth. If we acknowledge that we are losing the youth, then we have to radically alter how we approach and minister to the youth and heaven forfend we take such drastic steps. We’ve become so wrapped up in the correctness of our doctrine to never stop to ask if that doctrine is actually taking root. OK, I’m done ranting.

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