Here is a beautiful story I found at Sarcastic Lutheran about a community of believers bringing the Eucharist to a sister who had been denied the opportunity to participate in communion at her parents church.
Category Archives: Church
Quite a while ago Grace from the Emerging Grace blog posted a group of posters in response to some less than grateful posters created by some people who vehemently oppose the emerging church movement. I downloaded the set and I now use them as my screen saver at home and at work. An expanded set of posters can be found at Grace’s current blog Kingdom Grace. ( I stumbled upon this expanded set just now as I was writing this post)
I was sitting in my office over lunch just taking a few moments to meditate on a passage of scripture. I look up from the page and watched as this set of posters flashed across my computer screen. I was struck by the beauty of these images and the values that they embodied. I believe that these images give us a glimpse in to the heart of the emerging church.
Over the course of few posts I would like to use some of these images to take a look at what I see as the heart of the emerging church of which I now consider my self a part of.
Non-conformity and the willingness to challenge traditional expressions of church were two of the first things to draw me to the emerging church conversation. I have never been one to do something just because “everyone else was doing it”, and I have never believed in doing things a certain way just because “thats the way we have always done it.” Thats just not in my nature. I have always thought that Why was an important question to ask.
I believe that it from these two aspects of the emerging church which all the others flow. With out the willingness to break from the herd and forge a new way forward, or the willingness to question the traditional expressions of church there could be no positive change. The church would be stuck in the past as our world changes rapidly around us.
We see these two values modeled by Jesus during his incarnation. All through out the gospels he went against the conventional religious teaching of the day. Jesus never did things the way that the religious leaders of the day thought that he should. In fact it was his unwillingness to conform, and his constant challenging of the religious establishment that got him killed.
I take a lot of flack sometimes for my perspective on many things. Just today I was drawn into a conversation I didn’t want to have and was called a “Greek loving apostate who was going to hell.” just because I don’t believe that the King James is the only true Bible. At times it can be discouraging to say the least but then I remember that Jesus once told his disciples that “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” I find comfort in that statement, because if you look at who was persecuted Jesus while he was on earth it was the religious establishment of his day.
So to all you fellow questioners and non-conformists Don’t give up! I believe we are on the right track
Here are some statements that I have heard lately that really concern me. Some of them about left me speechless which is hard to do. (Just ask my wife)
“We need to be good stewards and be concerned about the environment. But we have to remember that ultimately the Lord is coming back and he’s going to destroy it all any way.”
“I think that dropping the bomb on Hiroshima actually saved a lot of lives” When I mentioned that the United States was the only country to ever use a nuclear bomb.
“The Bible is full of wars” Used in the context of defending the war in Iraq
“More people die of cold than the heat. So if global warming is really happening. I think it would be a good thing.”
When asked if Jesus would torture terrorists – “He wouldn’t. He would just kill them”
These are just a few that stuck in my mind. There have been plenty of others that I just can’t recall.
The problem for me is that all of these statements have come out of the mouths of fellow believers that I know and respect. People that I know love God deeply, and try to love their neighbor as themselves.
I am finding my self increasingly at odds with many of the believers I am in contact with on a daily basis. I’ve been told I sound “un-American”. I have been lambasted for daring to question if the American brand of capitalism is the most biblical economic system., or questioning if Wal-Mart is a good company.
- Has anyone else had similar interactions?
- Do you have any concerning statements to add?
- Does anyone else notice an increasing polarization among believers?
- If so what do you see as the root cause of this polarization?
7catz over at I Don’t Know Yet tagged me with this Meme.
1. Post to your blog on the subject “A Manifesto for Church”, outlining your thoughts on what an ideal church would/should be like. Posts can be as detailed or as short as you like.
2. Include a copy of these rules.
4. Put a link to your post in the comments to this post.
5. Tag at least 4 other people.
6. What happened to rule 3?
3. Ah, here it is
When I was tagged for this meme, a rush of things came to mind about what I think an “ideal” church should be. I even started writing them out. As I read over some of the other posts on the topic, I was struck by how similar many of the posts were. There seems to be a growing number of people who are tired of “church as usual” and long for something deeper yet simpler. Church with out the programs, with out the masks, A church were we can be active participants, not just spectators. A Church where we all have a voice, not just the few deemed “spiritual” enough by the leadership or the people who are clean enough on the outside to project the desired image.
Should is a big word, and I don’t even want to attempt to say what an “Ideal” church should be. What a church should or shouldn’t be will vary greatly depending on the make up of the members, the community the church is in, and an endless list of other factors. I decided to post what the Ideal church for my family and me looks like at this moment.
Sunday Mornings at the local State Park
A time of family prayer
A couple devotions with the boys, and good discussion afterwards. It amazes me how much they get it
A short time of Bible Study or discussion with Jenny.
Maybe some hotdogs or brats on the grill and a nice hike.
Extreme teeter tottering with my boys
Tuesdays with another couple God placed in our lives
My wife and I have been going through some tough times in our relationship, and God has blessed us by giving us some great friends who have jumped at the chance to come up under Jenny and I and disciple us and help us to strengthen our marriage.
Wednesday mornings with my Friend Rob
Good conversation. Good coffee & Great Bagels.
A place were I can be open, Where I can challenge and be challenged.
Friday Night Bible Study.
Good Friends, Relaxed atmosphere, Laughter, Openness.
Active engagement with The Word of God.
“Come follow me” Jesus said “and I will make you fishers of men”
In Part one I dealt with the fact that fishing involved a whole community, and in part two I looked at the training and preparation (discipleship) that was needed to become a professional fisherman.
In this post I just wanted to touch briefly on the need to occasionally mend the nets.
After repeated use nets would wear out. From time to time the nets needed to be unfolded and examined thoroughly, they needed to be inspected for holes, and weaknesses that had developed, and mended accordingly.
I believe that is what the questions being asked by those who consider themselves part of the Emerging Church (or conversation) is all about. Many people (myself included) see that the church has gone to long with out inspecting the nets. We see that a good thorough re-evaluation of what it means to follow Christ and share the Gospel is overdue.
For the critics of the Emerging Church who say that many within the movement are going to far and abandoning the true Christian faith I just ask that you vave some patience and wait and see if God is behind it all
34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
“Come follow me” Jesus said “and I will make you fishers of men”
Part One was subtitled “Community” I wrote about that when Jesus said that he would make Simon and Andrew fishers of men, he wasn’t talking about a weekend fishing trip, but rather about a full time endeavor that took a whole community working together with a common purpose, and that God transforms communities through communities of Christians living transformed lives in the community.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
Most men in Jesus’ day learned their trade from their father. It would have taken years of preparation to become a skilled fisherman. They would have had to learn many things before they were ready to venture out on their own, How to tie knots, what knot to use when and why, how to use the fishing nets, what nets to use in what situation, how to identify different species of fish, etc. They would even have to learn to predict the weather.
None of these things could be learned over night, they were learned over time. An apprentice fisherman would have spent years learning from his father, or another experienced fisherman. The apprentice wasn’t simply handed a net or a pole and left to their own devices, they were shown how to use them.
Yet that is what happens to many new believers. They are told that they are sinners and that they need a savior, they are told they need to repent of their sins, they are told that they need to put their faith in Christ. Then they are handed a fishing pole or a net (The Bible, prayer, church, etc.) and left to figure out how to use them by themselves.
Discipleship is important, It is important for new believers to be taught the doctrines of the Christian faith. But in addition to being taught the truths of Scripture, new believers need some one to come along side of them to teach them how to live those truths out, and it can’t happen only on Sunday morning, it must happen in the context of day to day life
- Discipleship is learning. Its an educational process. That means that disciple-making involves teaching.
- But this is not learning/teaching in the conventional sense. Jesus made disciples while walking, boating, and eating. It happened in the homes of sinners, in grave yards, and in gardens. He made disciples by telling stories, healing the sick, and casting out demons. Discipleship is intentional and strategic, but happens in the context of real life – including, but not limited to, a classroom.
I decided to repost a 3 part series from my old blog. I ran accross them recently, and thought they were worth reposting.
My wife and I attend a Bible study on Thursday night, our memory verse over the last few weeks has been Mathew 4:19 Come follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men. Of course I have heard and read this verse countless times, but this last Thursday that verse really came alive for me. It got me thinking what exactly is involved in being fishers of men?
This post is part one of at least a three part series.
Jesus wasn’t talking about wasn’t a person with a fishing pole spending a Saturday sitting by the shore. Jesus used the words to call Simon and Andrew, two commercial fishermen. The type of fishing Jesus was talking about was not something that could be done alone it took a group of people working as a team. Depending on the method used there might have been as many as three fishing boat crews involved to bring in a single catch.
After the catch was brought to shore the work was far from over. The fish had to be sorted, preserved in salt, and prepared for transport. Also there were boat builders, blacksmiths who made the metal weights for the nets, etc This took not only fisherman but a whole community working together with a common purpose. Every one did their part their were no passive spectators (pew sitters). Everyone participated as well as benefitted from the industry.
God transforms communities through communities of Christians living transformed lives in the community. As Christians we are all called to participate in God’s mission of restoration. This must be done in the context of day to day living. Fisherman worked long hard hours six days a week. Only on the Sabbath would they cease from their work.
I think for many Christians there is a disconnect between their spiritual life and their secular life. Sundays and maybe Wednesday evening are set aside for spiritual time, many will even add private time through out the week for prayer or morning devotions. The rest of their lives (work, taking the kids to the park, shopping, etc) are thought of as secular time.
If Christianity is to continue to have a positive effect on the culture in the coming years this way of thinking needs to change. Christians need to understand that just as the Father sent Jesus into the world, Jesus has sent us into the world. There is no such thing as a secular pursuit.
It is time for Christians to get out of the pews, get on our knees before God and ask forgiveness, and then get out into the street, and get to work.
I would appreciate any thoughts or comments.