Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dry Dock – Part 2

Two parts of the sailboat that are inspected by the marine surveyor are the keel and the rudder. Too often boat owners take these two items for granted—that is until there is a problem with either of them. Today we are going to look at the keel.

The keel is made of heavy materials to provide ballast to stabilize the boat (Wikipedia). A sailboat has a fairly high center of gravity. Above the waterline there is the upper part of the hull, the deck, the mast, all of the standing rigging (the cables that keep the mast upright and the running rigging ( the lines – put a “rope” on a boat and it is called a “line”—used to control the sails. All of this “stuff” makes the sailboat top-heavy. The keel is attached to the bottom of the boat and provides the ballast to keep the boat upright. The keel (or centerboard) also makes it possible for the sailboat to sail “up wind.” “No keel” = “You have to go where the wind and current take you.” Almost every sailboat that loses its keel while underway will capsize! For performance reasons (I will not go into the physics), some racing sailboats have keels that a not fixed. As the boat heels (tips to one side) the keel moves to give the boat the best possible weight distribution. These “moveable” keels are great—except a large percentage of them fail. That failure causes a catastrophic loss of the sailboat.

For the PCUSA (and every Christian church) Jesus is our keel. He is the one who provides our stability. Christ is the one who keeps the Christian and the church upright. Christ is the one who enables us to go against the winds of the culture. Our keel – Jesus Christ – can be taken for granted until it isn’t there.

A “denominational surveyor” would find that the rank-and-file of the PCUSA have a biblical, orthodox belief of Jesus. This belief is what allows the local church to survive troubled waters. The challenge for the PCUSA is that pastors, specialized clergy and denominational officials have significantly different views on Jesus than do “average” Presbyterians. To be sure, there are many pastors, specialized clergy and denominational officials that have an orthodox, biblical view of Jesus. Our problem is that we have moved to accommodate beliefs on Jesus that would have been considered “heretical” throughout all of the history of the church! In sailing terms we have a “swing” keel. Our “swing” keel has failed and is causing catastrophic damage to the good ship PCUSA.

In the PCUSA we appear to have a common language and belief system—the problem is that our “words” do not have the same meaning. This is especially true of our beliefs concerning Jesus. You and I have no idea what a person means when they say that they “believe in Jesus.” The PCUSA will not survive unless there is a fixed belief concerning Jesus—who he was and is, his birth, life, death, resurrection, divinity, etc.

Our keel needs to be fixed! Immediately!


At 7:00 PM , Blogger Dave Moody said...

Brilliant. I wasn't sure where the analogy was going, but you got me at, 'accomodate.' Mea Culpa.

Thanks for bringing things into sharper focus.

grace & peace,

At 9:28 AM , Anonymous will spotts said...

This is an excellent series of posts.


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