The advent in the free flow of information has allowed a situation in which groups and individuals become part of the public domain. I am no longer Brian Merritt the person in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I become the highly insensitive words: A Brand. My ministry is no longer a group of people meeting in the projects of the Westside, but the representation of something greater and much more two dimensional. I love the fact that I communicate across the country exciting things Mercy Junction does. Yet, when those who do not know the people I love attack I turn into the things I hate the worst.
The internet is not only a place of information, but also a place of propaganda. A place where sensationalists (me included) turn the information we find on church into it’s lowest common denominator. We think ourselves Martin Luther nailing a 95 thesis when all we are doing is making people into church related National Enquirer stories. “Have you heard?” “I can’t believe!” “They outta be ashamed!” “It used to be so much better…” We are all called to better than this type of faith.
I do understand that the nature of my faith is prone to irritate, agitate and just generally enrage some people. I wish I could say that I was fine with the attacks, threats and judgment but I am human. I am human: fallible, sinful and loved. I am a people pleaser who struggles against trying to make people love me. Yet, I come back again and again to the essential tenant of my faith. Something that has never failed me. My faith is not personal, but communal. I am being saved through the communities of Christ that live, die and are resurrected with Christ. Are they following the creeds to perfection? Thank God No! Do they strive to follow the great ends of the Church? Absolutely!
I love the people of faith who represent Christ to me. They are saving me. Sometimes they are imperfect, (okay all the times). They are poor, anarchists, atheists, activists, desperate, hungry and full of the Spirit. A Spirit that I cannot contain. I have given away the illusion of control and theological purity for something far more sustainable to my faith. I want to have life and have it in more abundance.