The Church of Us vs. Them with David E. Fitch / Transcript

Note: Can I Say This at Church is produced for audio listening. If able, I strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which has inflection, emotion, sarcasm where applicable, and emphasis for points that may not come across well in written word. This transcript is generated using a combination of my ears and software, and may contain errors. Please check the episode for clarity before quoting in print.


Intro

Hey, friends, welcome back. It's another week, we did it. I usually steer away from politics and any conversation like that, because it is so charged. And we're already talking about faith, I would rather not talk about two charged topics, but the guest at hand that you will hear in a moment, wrote a book that just intersects it too beautifully. And I think for those listening, I'm going to go ahead, and you don't know what day this is. But, you know, tomorrow will be September 5, and I'm gonna go ahead and send out David's book, to the level of Patreon supporters that get books, I think this book is fantastic. And I can't wait for you all to get it. And so if you are not a Patreon supporter, there's some big things happening there, click the button and do it appreciate every single…every, every, every single one of you there the adequate words, to express how true that is, this show continues to grow at a pace that blows my mind. And without y'all that's just not, it's just not a thing that could happen. You know, another thing that you could do, if you can't do that, because I know not everybody can is you could just click the button, you know, an in iTunes, your podcast app of choice. And you could just rate the show, type in a little comment there and say, you know, Seth is awful at this, or I really enjoyed this. Or you can say whatever you want. Just say something, I read those. And some of them I love, some of them made me laugh. Others I won’t to talk about. So one of my favorite songs, I listened to it frequently, quite frequently, actually, is from Gungor, and it's called us for them. And I love that play on words. And there is a lyric in there towards the end, you know, that says, you know,

prepare the way of the Lord wielding mercy like a sword. You know, every mountain topple be made low, he holds the earth like dust and his judgment, his love. His judgment is love.

And then it says

we will not fight their wars, we will not fall in line because if it's us, for them, it's us for them. We reject the binary either or like it's just us for them.

And so David's book is titled on the church of us versus them. And I think that that is so often the rhetoric that permeates every single conversation, be it religious or non religious, it's just always my side versus your side, somebody must lose. There's no discernment, there's no patience. There's just finger pointing. And I am as guilty as the next person.

I love this conversation. I love this book. I'm sending it to some of you. And if you're not on that list, get the book. It is very It is very good. And so here we go. No more belaboring the point. Here is the conversation that I have with David E. Fitch about freedom from a faith that feeds on making enemies.

Seth

David E. Fitch and I'm partial to the “E” also have any mines Edward I don't know what yours is. But Welcome to the show. Man. I'm excited. You're here.

David

Good to be here. And I won't tell you what my e is because I don't want anyone to make fun of me on the airwaves…but it’s Elmer

Seth

That's but you said you. Are you making that up? Or that's the real name?

David

No, that is my real middle name. And it's a sacred name in our family. It links back to my grandfather.

Seth

Yeah, I'm I am similar with mine

David

It's got huge lineage in my family.

Seth

I'm with you. Both of my names are grandparents further up down the line. So I'm with you and we've done the same thing with my son like he's in his middle name is named after grandfather and you know, etc. So yeah, no, I definitely. Why would I make fun of your name? Like you had any choice? And but Oh, that would do that.

David

I'm not saying it'll be you. But it would get back to me somehow.

No, I named my son, Elmer. Elmer Max Fitch. And my wife said, well, we'll go with the Elmer but nobody can actually call him Elmer. The only person that can know about Elmer is you and me. And so that's kind of the way you know, his first name is Elmer. But nobody calls him Elmer. And want anybody to know, his first name is Elmer, can you imagine this?

Seth

Well, he will now

David

Hopefully this won’t get back to him

Seth

My favorite conversations are the ones that I laugh a lot. And we're already doing that. So we're well on our way to making this a good one. What would you want people to know about you, David? Like, what is kind of your story? Like what makes you…you?

David

Well, I know most people know me, because I'm a theologian, and I've written books. But the real story is, I was a struggling guy coming out of seminary that got a job as a stockbroker. Rose to the heights of Wall Street, you know with some well off people, I did, okay, in other words, in like, six years, and then I had I tell people.

I got saved, saved for real the second time. And that's when I began a journey of studying for a PhD and running a business and leading a church and trying to sort out life in the big city, if I can put that way. And so I didn't come at being an academic by choosing to be an academic. I actually went through all kinds of stuff, searching, struggling, going through a PhD, leaving the church, writing a book. And then I was asked to take an academic position. I think I want people to know, I'm a pastor, and I've gone through…I've gone through stuff, that non righteous people that grew up living a perfect life have gone through. Does that make sense?

Seth

Yeah, although, I mean, I can half relate to that being in finance. I didn't know you were in the financial world. I like that. Because I often tell people if I could actually make the amount of money that I need to make, and do this full time. And so if you're listening, somebody make that happen. I would I get so much fulfillment out of doing this, I read so many new ideas. And so I am envious, that you did it, you know that you've done it. Not that I don't like banking? I do like it. But I love this, if that makes sense…

David 8:04

Well, I wouldn't say I've done it, I'm, you know, Stanley Hauerwas starts off the first line of his autobiography, by saying “I did not intend to be Stanley Hauerwas”.

I did not intend, really, for my life to develop the way it did. It was just like submitting faithfully to what God had for me. And if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have done it differently. But actually, God works in through all things to achieve and accomplish His purposes. So that's the way it turned out. And probably who knows if you stay faithful day in day out to your job and this work? Who knows? guys can take you. That's a message for anybody, not just this old guy talking on a podcast.

Seth

But yeah, who does know? I mean, if you'd asked me five years ago, if I would be sitting right here at this moment, I would have been like, Yeah, probably not. Nobody cares what this idiot has to say. And I would still think that that's probably true. But I think people care for a genuine conversations, which leads me to what you've written. So the book that you have most recently written, I think came out in what is it July? Is that when it came out?

David

Yeah.

Seth

And so I apologize. I think I've had it since then. And I’ve just been so…because July, the summer months for me, I’ve got three small kids that are consuming, like consuming is not the applicable adjective... like it just sucks the life out of everything. But it's fun. They're all under the age of 10. And it is consuming.

David

Wow.

Seth

So I read your book a while back, and then I refreshed on it a little bit before talking to you today. And I absolutely liked this book. And so when you say the church of us versus them, I wanted to start with that, like, who is us? Who is them?

David

Yeah, well, it starts with the church, it just starts with a general description of churches, United States of America, and how we started defining ourselves; self understanding who we are by who we're not. And so church has kind of develop this mentality, this competitive mentality, this us versus them mentality, even within the church. So, you know, John MacArthur might define him, and who he is over against the charismatics, or over against the social justice people, etc, etc. And that kind of mentality kind of spreads the progressives against the conservatives, the arming LGBTQ against the non affirming, and we have all these us versus them, definitions of who we are as Christians, but it doesn't stop there, it actually becomes the DNA of how we relate to the world.

And so we can't get we define ourselves over against this person or that person. It's kind of like a disease. It's kind of like an idiological way of being that is infested how we gather as a people. And my argument or my plea, in the church of us versus them is, no, this is not who and who Jesus is, this is not the people of God in Christ. This is not who were called to be. Let's get out of this ideological existence. So we can be the people of God for the world, and for his mission in the world.

Seth

Well, I mean, getting John MacArthur, he keeps switching to them, because he just gets mad at say, Well, I'm not that old, I'm almost I'm an upper mid 30s, there we go. Um, but in my just limited history, like, he just yells at somebody different every couple years, he finds a new them, which seems like a lot of energy wasted, like, you should really just target somebody. And if you're going to act that way, you know, beat them into submission, I guess, if that's the mindset, but he seems to jump around from who is the them, which seems just like a lot of wasted energy.

David

And people are going to accuse me of like, defining myself over against John MacArthur. And there's always those feeling, he, you know, double negative things that happen, we can't get out of the spiral. But just looking at Dr. MacArthur and what goes on, it kind of illustrates the principle of the way ideology works. If you have to define yourself and who you are, and rally a crowd, by gathering them against an object or an enemy, I described this in, I think, the first couple of chapters of the book, then once that runs out, you've got to find a new enemy, because that energy doesn't have anything substantive out of which to live life, and it will run out, the enemy will kind of have a shelf life, and then you'll have to invent a whole new enemy to keep the machine going.

And you know, we have a president in office right now, who basically lives this way every day. But it's very signifying as to kind of the bad habits we've gotten into, as far as the church and its formation as a people in the world.

Seth 13:17

So I usually intentionally do not talk politics, but I don't see a way to talk about this conversation, without government and politics like forefront. And so I just want to, I just wanna get a few things out of the way, I'm not a fan of the President. And those that know me know that. And so anything I say, to talk badly about our government is really from a heart of, I really wish that it would work, because I live here, and I needed to work. And my kids live here. And I need it to work. And so does everybody listening, and anyone that you share it with?

One of the things that annoys me and I, I argue all the time, David, about how we are not a Christian nation, how we've never been one. And it's, I find myself when I do that, though, I oftentimes feel like I'm creating a new us versus them. And it's not progressive versus that's not what I'm trying to say. I feel like it's those that know, history and those that don't. So how would you recommend someone have a conversation of an us versus them specifically, when it comes to like politics, as we're entering into the primary season? You know, in at recording, you know, the senator, what is it Gillibrand, I think that's who it is, you just dropped out of the race. And so that will continue to go. And as minds coalesce, the US is and then dems are going to get bigger, be that the church? Or be that the party of choice? So how do you enter into a conversation with someone, and even find a level playing field to begin a conversation in actual authentic by purpose,

David

What ideology does is, it creates a cause, and creates promises around that cause that are impossible to be fulfilled. And then it aligns, it kind of builds your identity around being against this enemy in this fraud. And what happens is you never…it takes you out of the actual discerning process of any real issue on the ground. This is what is so damaging about ideology, we extract beliefs or discernment’s out of their context out of actual discipleship, people's lives, and we turn them into a banner, I call it a banner, and then rally people using the banner against an enemy. And we never get to actually discerning anything, we do this in sexuality, right? We are either affirming or not affirming. And we go into these big culture wars, and rallying people to become so emotional, our identity gets so tied into it, we actually never get to actually talking to anybody was gauging all, as far as I know, engaged in sexuality issues of multiple complexities. But we never actually talked about or get to discerning these in these places of safety, under the redeeming work of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ.

No, we never get to that we just stay above it all in these arguments for against now, this is what happens with politics. We create this imaginary christian nation as a cause to get behind. But nobody really believes forget all this legislation put it in, and all these supreme court justices putting it all of a sudden, we're going to have a nation that looks more Christian, actually, that kind of I've shown the book how that works against the idea of more Christian.

So what we do is we just get the strategy and I want to say no, let's actually work on the ground locally, on the issues that are so important politically, that we have to work out, you know, whether it be taxes, whether it be legislation for how we take care of our health care problems, or whatever it might be, let's start working it on the ground in groups of people. You know, that's what the word ecclesia, the Greek word, that Paul the Apostle used for church that came off the set to agent that referred to the people of Israel, but actually it was, it was actually a word that meant the political organizing locally, of every Greek, little state or city or village or town. And what Paul was saying is the church does the work of organizing people for God's kingdom in Christ, even though those people don't know they're under his rule yet. We're going to discern it here first. And then we're going to proclaim the good news to other people. And I just, I don't know if that was too long, and explanation, but I've what I'm really trying to say is let's start local. And let's stay on the ground and discern these issues locally. Whether it be Who should I vote for, whether it be how do we deal with taxes? Whether it be how do we deal with the injustices of racism in this town, or whatever it might be? Let's let's deal with it locally. And then let's work out solutions together as a people got then let's take him to the town hall village meeting. And let's take him to the state. You know, Canada's national health care system started in the in a small city in Saskatchewan, Canada, under the leadership of a Baptist pastor named Tommy Douglas. And the revolution began, it didn't start in Ottawa, House of Parliament started in a little town with a guy named Tommy Douglas.

Seth

Yeah, I remember I forget what book it was one of the first time I talked to a Benjamin Corey, I was reading a lot about, you know, back in like, you know, 17 1800s, like some of the church did some beautiful work, because they weren't really attached at the hip to making enemies or naming enemies, just actually maybe loving people, caring for people. And they did a lot. They start libraries start schools start churches start, you know, the Red Cross start Salvation Army. And I didn't know that about Canada. But that was back when the church, I think acted like one as opposed to a social club with money influence.

David

Yes, I think I give the example of how the civil rights movement didn't happen through Lyndon Baines Johnson and the administration in the White House, it happened. If you read Charles Marshes book, Beloved Community, all the history is kind of sketched out of the Jim Crow South and Nonviolent Coordinating Committee started to happen locally in various colleges, campuses, towns, villages, what they really were were prayer meetings, where people white and black, gathered together around tables, and started praying and upsetting the Jim Crow South. And from that came the civil rights movement.

We must understand, let's go local. So I'm saying, Let's because if we just get caught up in these ideological struggles about what does it mean to be a Christian nation, which really we don't, it really doesn't mean anything. We don't really know what it means. Like, what would it mean, for the United States to be a Christian nation? Can somebody please don't me that? I don't think we know. And I don't think it's possible to even you know, have a so called Christian nation at this point in time. No, what we need to do is go local, and spread the gospel, the justice of Jesus Christ, and every nook and cranny where we where we live and let God take care of how he's going to reign the world.

Seth

I agree, because I don't think we have a Christian nation because most Christians don't agree on simple things like say, the Bible, or so until there's that. I don't see how you could have a Christian nation, because that's, that's why we have all these different. Well, one of the reasons we have all these different denominations. One more thing on Christian nation, I've heard you either speak, or maybe I read it. But I've read a lot lately. But I've heard you talk about, you know, the pre and post World War Two, Germany and how it was the preeminent Christian nation, if there ever there was one, you've got all these Lutheran ministers, and kind of how that morphed into what it became. And a lot of that I remember when I when I saw it, I was like, this is I didn't have any of that context. I wonder if you could go into a bit of that here. Because I feel like I'm probably not the only one. Because I know in the school systems I went to we don't really talk about any things that aren't America. And so it's hard to make those correlations.

David

Yeah. Well, you know, the fact the matter was Germany, by legislation was Christian nation. Well, third Catholic, two thirds Lutheran, but it was all into the German church structure. We all pay taxes. So anyways, the real question, I mean, I'm still studying it to this day, I was happy to be in Berlin last summer stunned by just the history that that country is living and grieving over and repenting of, and how it all happened. But you know, all you have to do is study, Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the end, the German church movement and the Barman Declaration, to see how by the time the church woke up, it was too late. And it was in the church, the German church, and you know, I Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the things was, like, I don't know how famous this is, but when I read it, it became famous to me said the reason why seven thousand Lutheran pastors that have for one reason and can summarize their pensions.

So when money and power and everything gets loaded up into the structure, we end up succumbing. And I think the same power is going on today, with so many white evangelicals in the south. aligning themselves with a very non Christian, almost disgusting administration is mind boggling how the ideologies gotten ahold of us. So I think we need to study how and when things happened in Germany, there's a lot of people who poo poo that idea, oh, this is not Germany. But yet there are things to learn from what happened there. And how we became, I have this, these two lectures I'm I'm writing right now, in the process to deliver in California in February, where I say the problem isn't that we're on the wrong side of history. The problem is that we're on the wrong side of power. You know, the argument is get on the right side of history, and get ahead of things. Actually, every time we've been on the wrong side of power, things have gone very wrong. God works among the poor, the hurting, the broken, the marginalized, because his power doesn't operate the way the world's power does. And he changes things where his power spaces may open for. So anyways, all these things we can study through the German church problem. And you know, I'd start with Reggie Williams. Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus. Love that book, in terms of understanding how we can get so sucked up into white nationalism. And we're just not seeing this is not the gospel. This is not Jesus.

Seth

I don't know anything about that book. But I'm going to fix that today. So you talked, you talked there. And there's a reason I asked that question. I hope that you go there. And so that's why you're a person rational, and I am not. So you talked about, you know, the way that you know, we have a love affair with power, and evangelicalism. And I struggle with that word, I struggle to call myself an evangelical because it means so many other things that have nothing to do with the gospel. But that's a slightly different topic. But you’ve got a section in a chapter on let's make America Christian again, that's titled and the reason it's caught me as I went to Liberty, and so I'm very attuned to Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. And so you say Jerry Falwell, or Jim Wallace, what's the difference? So what is the difference for those that haven't read the book like what he's saying there?

David

I'm an Anabaptist most people know I'm a NEO Anabaptist. I have learned from Stanley Hauerwas and many other Neo Anabaptists. It just, I tell people, Stanley Hauerwas, you know, was the means by which I became a Christian again, he got me into understanding the Bible. One of the one of the things anabaptism is we realize that God's power in in through Jesus Christ, and I do believe its power. But it is just so different. Usurping force, violent power of the world, and by violence, I just don't mean physical violence, or shooting somebody with a gun. Although that is a very visceral manifestation of the same dynamic. I mean, all forms of force all forms of coercion, all forms of me over you getting you to do something that I want you to do in the name of an agenda or some purpose that I have decided or become part of.

So anyways, the whole point here is, is that there's two kinds of power. Another distinction in theological world is preservatory power. Luther call that the left hand of the government and the right hand is redemptive power. What I'm trying to say here is, is that we need to understand that Jim Wallace, who was an Anabaptist, suddenly started writing books like God's Politics, and we've got to do things through the government. And yet he had this he had a Biblically, I think he called it the Isaiah platform. And that book, and he's got a very Biblically are well argued, biblical ethic that he wants the government to enforce. Very similar to Jerry Falwell, of course, and the Moral Majority, although both have they both had very different senses of what what what that ethic and the emphasis within that should be, they both took the same means, which is let's get the government to do the bidding of God.

And what I want to say is, government can do some things. But it's very limited. So go ahead and vote and go ahead and work for government. But it's going to be very limited, the redemptive work of what God wants to do in our culture can come only in in through the church through the power, and the presence of God through Jesus Christ. That may sound very individualistic, because that's the way evangelicals have already said it. I believe it's very social. I think God wants to work in in through the neighborhoods, and the places of worldly power, for his purposes, through his presence, and to the way he works in the world. Does that make sense? Can you clarify for me everything I just said?

Seth

(Laughter) just read the book. There we go.

David

laughter……

That's why I see Jim Wallace and Jerry Falwell as two sides of the same coin.

Seth

Yeah.

David

Employing worldly power to accomplish their biblical agendas, even though their Biblical agendas are quite different.

Seth

I don't think there's a way to read the Bible. I think it's really hard to read the Bible and not read looking for the God that you're trying to find. And I don't know that I'm saying that well, and but then you take that as ammunition. And so I want to backtrack back to the beginning of the book, you talk about people using the Bible is a blunt instrument. And that phrasing is used often. And so I'd like to turn the question a bit, how would you invite us You said, you know, you're a pastor. And I mean, obviously, you're training pastors while you're an academic. And so in your experience, how would you train pastors to instead of using the Bible as a blunt instrument, to use it as a precise one? Because I think there is a purpose for how Scripture can sometimes cut down what doesn't need to be there. So how would we instead frame using Scripture and using Scripture is a bad way to say that, you know, letting Scripture use us as a precise instrument, as opposed to just a God hates gays? God only likes Republicans, you know, or whatever the blunt, whatever the blunt thing is,

David

Yeah, well, we have to deconstruct.

I'm going to use a couple of big words here.

Seth

Perfect.

David

I'm going to deconstruct epistemology, the way we know something. We have said, The Bible is inerrant, every word is God breathed. perspicuous is a word the reformers have used, it is eminently clear, all I have to do is my homework, and I get to the right, meaning. But we individualized that; the fact of the matter is that worked in Christendom, Euro-Christendom where there was already a consensus on what all the texts means.

Now go to your average church meeting or go to a pick a commentary off your library wall, and you'll find four or five meanings for every text, for every verse. Well, how do we deal with that? You know, so the first thing I think, when we, when we meet over an issue, it's a communal work of God, by His Holy Spirit; Acts chapter 15 I think it is, you know, they got together, they asked, what does this mean, they will search the Scriptures. They said, We are seeing the Holy Spirit at work in Gentile believers. What does this mean? And then what are the demands, and then they say it See, it is good, thenI believe James wrote that, that note, it seems good to us and the Holy Spirit to do A, B and C. You know, that's the process of how we gather together to interpret Scripture on things that we don't agree on.

And so when we had a couple of people, wonderful people disagree with our church, and how we were affirming women in ministry, we all got to get there. All those who were committed to this issue. Some were even offended that we would open up the discussion again, of women ministry. But we first deconstructed what Scripture is, we all bring agendas here. We're submitting them to the work of the Holy Spirit, then we're going to look at verses and submit one to another and listen carefully and we're going to pray. And we're going to open space for God to speak. And we're going to hear all side. And we'll listen to the teachers. But we're also listening to pastors and the evangelists and the other gifted people in our midst.

And you know, after like seven weeks of going through the texts, and listening to one another, and we all came to some conclusions, we wrote some conclusions on the big whiteboard, or what we call it that we had, we didn't have everybody agree, like we take a one to five assessment. Where you? 1: Satan's working this affirmation that cannot agree…. 5: I agree wholeheartedly, 4: I have some reservations…but I could follow this.

We had no threes twos or ones, we had all fives and three fours, but even the ones who couldn't completely agree said, I can trust what the Holy Spirit is doing in this church, where he's leading us through the teaching, and submitting to Scripture on this issue. So everybody, everybody was met, in one way or another and came to a coalescence as to where God was taking us in relation to this issue. I wish we could do that kind of thing. It takes some training, we had to train people how to submit to one another and reading scripture. But I wish we could do that in regard to sexuality. I wish we could do that, with regard to all the all the problems we have in our towns and villages and families, even over issues of finances. You know, let's listen to Scripture, listen to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, submit to one another and then say, it seems good to us and the Holy Spirit that He is leading us to do this.

Seth 34:05

So I want to push on that a little bit. Because the way that my brain works, I can see…so say, I'm out here in Central Virginia, and the people that I'm involved with whatever the community is, however many hundreds or thousands of us are, I come to a submission to one another that this is the way that scripture is viewed. And then someone and say, I don't know, let's say somewhere in Iowa, I don't even know what town in Iowa, that’s sad, whatever, a town in a different state that they come to the opposing view. So then how did those two sects come together and figure out how to lower the banner, or to use a descriptor that you use, when they don't agree? Like how did those two after they've come to a massive consensus between the two, which is amazing if it happens, because people are letting go of power, which is one of the most Christ like things I think you can do. And it's hard to do. So how do you do it when you know, across our country or across the ocean, the two opposing sides come into clash, like just in the past few years, and you've got, you know, the Methodist Church on homosexuality, but you also have the Methodist Church on women in ministry. And I believe like the Mennonite Church is coming up for a vote on that in the next little bit. And the the covenant was called evangelical covenant church is coming up for it again, and I think they just decided to table it, because nobody could figure out how to talk about it. So what happens for those that do talk about it, you know, they made a decision. And it disagrees with another massive body that has also figured out how to submit one another. And they've made a decision. How do you know he wants us to?

David

in regard to denominational structures? You know, I probably shouldn't try to give a single answer to all the problems that we have, across all denominations. But if I were a denominational President, I would charge all the issues that we cannot agree on, I would give the local churches power to discern this locally and give some freedom in the various churches to discern things locally.

But we will find out where God is working and where he's leading and where he's not. The fruit will become apparent. But I think the real revolution and things that shaped our churches start locally. I think the problem with United Methodist is they tried to enforce a single unilateral decision from the top down across multiple contextual boundaries. I don't even think American white people in the United Methodist Church understood that when the Africans were saying the word sexuality, they did not mean the same thing that Americans mean, when they say sexuality.

I could go off on a riff on that. But the fact is, power structures of denominations trying to enforce a singular decision top down through a vote is a recipe for disaster because it employs worldly power, not the power of the Holy Spirit. I think we need to start locally, give it 10 to 15 years and a consensus…

Host note:

Time out real quick. So you'll notice there and the audio just went crazy. I don't know what happened to the internet. I'm going to blame it on nobody. So what we did is I decided to go old school when him got David's phone number. So I apologize for this brief interruption. Here we go. We'll do the rest. A little bit more old school. Back to it.

David

Dave Fitch here…

Seth

Here we go! We will finish it old school. So yeah, so to recap that, because some of the cut in and out. So basically, where you can agree, give the local church autonomy to make that decision for what works best in the community that they're in?

David

Yeah, yeah. And I wouldn't say autonomy. But I wouldn't call it autonomy, because we're all linked. But what it means is we're giving freedom to open space for those conversations and discernment locally, on the ground. Listen to people, listen to Scripture. If I were denominations, I'd give some, you know, some simple directive, some handouts, some directions, and study scripture together locally. And I do believe, I do believe when there's not consensus, I do believe over time, the fruit will be born and become clear and eventual consensus will happen.

I mean, isn't this the way? You know? I mean, I don't want to idealize or romanticize the great councils of the third and fourth and fifth century because there was actually a lot of Constantinian power being wielded around at Nicea and elsewhere. But you know, basically, things were happening on the ground in various regions of the church. And they came together to discern and ask what's happening over there? What's happening over here? And how does this make sense? And what can we learn from each other in terms of assembling a unifying document? And I think that's what we need to do again.

Seth

So I'm glad that you went there. For those that haven't bought David's book go and do so. Because this entire episode, we've bounced around themes that are in an appendix at the back at least, that's what I'm hearing, David. And if I mishearing that wrong, you just tell me, but most people don't read pass the last chapter. So you have to appendix is dependencies, whatever that word is? And so I'm going to read those out if that's alright, with you.

So you know, the first thing you talk about, you know, for tactics for engagement, you know, we're opening space, for the antagonisms is, tell a story about a real person, and then ask how do we discern this issue, which is what you know, you basically just broke down, make observations and ask questions that reveal the contradictions at work, which I really like, because that forces me to have to listen to you. Like I have here, what you saying? Because I have to ask questions about the contradiction, as opposed to saying… “You're, you're stupid, of course” you read it wrong. I mean, of course, you're from, you know, you're from you from wherever you're from. That's y'all are stupid over there”.

You know, and then, three, don't humiliate or defeat the other person, which is literally what I just did,

David

Laughter.

Seth

Four start in agreement, from what we have in common, and I think that is perfectly fine. What it was somebody I spoke with Bonnie Kristian, that said, you know, concentric circles, like we don't agree about a lot of dogma. But that dogma doesn't matter as much as what we do agree on. And that's Jesus. And so let's focus on that, and then branch out from there. And then lastly, you know, make a proposal in the spirit of mutual submission. And I just love those five things. And I wonder what the church would maybe look like, in the future if we actually did that. And so that leads me to my final question.

You know, I am a millennial. I'm one of the first of the generations of millennials, barely a millennial, but I relate a lot to them. And so people in my age demographic are, like, jettisoning as quickly as possible from the church, because I'm so sick and tired of it, just all of it capital “I” capital “T”, just all of it. Yeah. And so, for pastors listening, how can they use those five things I just very briefly read out to create a place or a new type of church, that will be something that both I and my children will exist in? Because I'm terrified that if I honestly am terrified that whatever version of the American church exists, it won't be that. I don't know what it will be. But I know if it looks like it does now, it will just get more and more unhealthy. So how can we take those five things and create a better, like a better church that millennials are happy to go to? Because to be frank, they are the biggest population in not only this country, most countries.

David

So yeah, yeah. Well, we're in a hell of a mess right now.

You know, for years, especially if you're a white, old guy, old, defined as 50 and over, you grew up in a time when white Christians were pretty much in charge, and even in charge in a way of the culture. And that's all like, flittering away, and those who are out of those time frames, but even those who've been raised by people who were used to that, we want to hold on, and we're used to just arguing and holding on to our power.

And when that's no longer there, we now we're in a space of mission, and we just have to operate totally differently. We can't assume anything, we can't actually assume there's any power to be granted. And so we must become organizers of the Kingdom. The way we organize, is by doing those things, you just like described in the appendix but really that run throughout the whole book. I've written this book to try to help people to understand the dynamics that are work it ideologically that come from, you know, Christendom wanting to hold on to its power, and it's not going to work. And so we have to give up the power. And we have to trust the power at work in Christ, wherever we gather in his name.

And so I'll summarize those tactics you just set off the appendix with the story of Jesus and the adulteress and, you know, in John chapter 8, the adulterous is put into kind of the middle of or before everybody as an object of distain, an enemy. And so often, pastors, churches, get caught up in in that that issue, we have an enemy and by the way, the world just presents us for these terms all the time, because this is the way the world operates. Apart from God, well, we don't want to do that. Nobody is an enemy. Enemies might be revealed, but we don't make enemies. And it's not our job to call out the enemy instead. You know.

So where was I? My son just walked? You said, you said,

Seth

you said enemies might be revealed, but we don't make enemies.

Hey Elmer how are you doing?

David

Laughter—-Don’t call him that…ha ha..he didn’t hear that.

speaks with Son! more laughter

Okay, anyways, let's get back on track here. Yeah, the adulterous is being made into an object of disdain the enemy when must overcome that, by, you know, whenever we're in the middle of these arguments, or tempted to enter into these antagonisms. Tell a real story about a real person or ask the person their story. And when the real facts come out, the issues come out. It's hard to make an enemy out of it person, but instead God wants to work in and through that person.

Jesus, you know, makes observations and starts with agreements, basically says, Okay, yeah, you are perfect. Yeah, I agree with the law. The law has become the theology of banner in this case. When the Pharisees asked Jesus, what shall we do stone her according to the law, and they're trying to turn the law into a banner and Jesus resists that. And he just says, frankly, does something to reveal the contradiction in their lives by finding a point of agreement? And he says something like, yeah, you who are perfect…throw the first stone. And then of course, they're able to see the contradiction. And they all start walking away. And that clear space for Jesus to be present to the adulterous and say you are forgiven. Say you are loved, and now go and work out your salvation go and send them. We the church need to be Jesus in clearing the antagonisms. Allowing them to fritter away because God can't work in in these antagonistic environments. Conflict is one thing, turning them into antagonism is another thing. And we must be present to one another. And the conflicts allow the antagonism to go away, clear space for God to work, reconciliation, and healing in and through Jesus Christ. That's my challenge. That's the call of the church to be this kind of people in our culture today. This is what God wants to do. He will raise up a new people, and millennials and everybody else that so aggravated pissed off and wants to walk away from church will be lining up to become part of this. This new movement of God in our culture, I believe.

Seth

Yeah, I hope so. Point people in the right place, David, where do they go? Where do they either yell at you if they disagree, so that we can find that common ground? Or we're hopefully that's not what happens? Where do they go to interact with you get the book, which I'm sure is available, everywhere that books are available. But where would you point people to?

David

I have a lively conversation that goes on on my Facebook page, David Fitch, Fitchest, at Facebook, you can't become my friend, because I don't have any space. And I won't go to a public page. But followers, just follow me. And you'll get in on all the conversations. I have a Twitter page, which is pretty active, @FITCHEST. And you can buy the book, of course at Amazon, in your local bookstore, or wherever you find books.

Seth

Perfect.

Thank you so much for coming on. And I've enjoyed it quite a bit.

David

Good to be with you, man. And I hope to meet you along the way there in Virginia Keep up the good work,

Seth

Will do

Outro

The appendix at the back there, right that we went over at the tale end it is simplistically hard. And it is something I've tried to model not only in the way that I did faith since reading this book, but in just the way that I do conversations, it is really helped me oftentimes see things from a different lens. And there have been a lot of things that have come into contact of my life lately that have done that have re-framed the way that I see the world. And it is uncomfortable. And I think that it is true. I think that I meet God there. And I think that I'm changing in ways that I wouldn't have thought prior. And so I hope that you got as much out of today's conversation as I did a very special thank you to Derek Meyers for your music for today's episode. You'll find links to all of his stuff in the show notes as well as everything that David and I spoke about. I cannot wait for next week. We're going to have a conversation about Henry now and and that is fantastic. I'm excited for that very excited.

I hope that you realize how beloved you are. Be blessed. Talk to you next week.