Thursday, 9 December 2010

Breast-feeding in Church

The other evening I attended a talk by Mark Greene, it was organised by the Cymru Institute for Contemporary Christianity http://cicconline.org.uk/and was entitled: 'Of Logic, Logos and Me Plc’. It was a look at what powers and forces help shape our culture today.

I like Mark Greene and have enjoyed listening to him and reading his stuff before: so it was no surprise that the quality of insight and humour was all there (although there were a number of points with which i would want to have taken issue along the way). Perhaps it all stopped a little short and a little early ... because I had one burning question about breastfeeding in church that never got asked.



In one of his illustrations Mark spoke of how a favourite teddy or toy is often introduced by a mother when weening the child off breast milk. The idea is that an object is introduced as a temporary substitute for the relationship that is being broken. Mark argued persuasively that this is often what happens in the contemporary advertising industry ... it seeks to offer us (sell us) objects that substitute themselves as the antidote to our longings for love, affirmation purpose and contentment when really these are only discovered through an encounter with God and grace. Thus the industry keep us in a perpetual infantile stage of life ... always seeking a quick superficial satisfaction to perceived needs rather than attending to what is of greatest worth in us.

All this I agree with ... except it seems to me that so much of church life seems to mimic the advertising agencies ... substituting themselves, their programmes and their busyness, their celebrities and their products along with their often over-simplistic systems of theology as the ready made antidote to our deepest longings ... stifling the space and time that might otherwise be used to enable a real encounter with God.

So it was I wanted to ask:
Are our churches keeping us perpeutually infantile?
Is there too much breast feeding of disciples?
When are we ever going to come-of-age
and what will church look like if we do?

3 comments:

Dennis Brown said...

'Perpetually infantile'? Absolutely! Isn't the institutionalized church the greatest hinderance to the Kingdom of God coming forth? This very institution I once promoted as an evangelical pastor, but now realize it perpetuates a world system at enmity with God by it's holidays, it's Christmas's, its New(?) Years, it's sensory-dominated or carnal focus. There is nothing new, no room for Spirit but lotsa same and churchianity has climbed upon the back of this system. It's leaders are promoting lies and traditions(eternal torment) and as I am experienced in my own life, judgment is coming to correct this. God is not kidding about His Kingdom and His passionate love will bring it forth. But judgment begins with the house of God. He will expose these errors for the good of the rest of the world.
www.isleofexile.blogspot.com

javalava said...

You ask, "Are our churches keeping us perpetually infantile?"

There are perhaps some narrow-minded pastors who would do that.  However, I suspect most pastors rejoice when any of their flock show signs of dissatisfaction with the "baby food" (i.e. the standard evangelical line needed for teaching new Christians) and start yearning for deeper discipleship.

If you happen to be part of a body that rigidly adheres to a narrower view, there are always other fellowships who would readily understand (having been through the same change themselves).

We need to be a little careful. This is what 1 Cor. 8:7-10 is all about. Not everyone will understand, but what you are feeling is not wrong.

Christ wants us to be mature in Him.  The first step in that process is admitting that we cannot know.  If we have a view of God's work that we can wrap our heads around, its almost certainly too simplistic!

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