Tag Archives: church

Where is up now?

One of the major shake-ups in the last reformation of the church was the new knowledge about the earth and sun.   Scripture indicated that the sun moved and the earth stood still and could not be moved. When it was discovered that the earth literally revolved around the sun questions arose about the believability of scripture.   It was also discovered at this time that the world is round. This knowledge led people to ask the question: “If the world is round, where is heaven?”. Heaven had always been UP, but if there is no UP, then where is heaven?  These are the questions that shook up people 500 years ago.

Today we have different questions that are causing major shake-ups.   With scientific, intellectual and technological advances we are led to ask new questions.  One of the questions that tends to keep coming up in conversations these days is the question of authority as discontentment continues to grow over the inadequacy and failure of church authority and sola scriptura.

Some will say that this discontentment comes from those who are resisting authority  and who don’t like what they hear from the church and/or from scripture.  I am sure those people exist, but, at the same time, I know that there are those who are serious in their search for the answer to the question: “Where should our authority come from?”

I’m leaning towards the idea that Christian authority should come from community that is shaped by scripture and tradition.

What do you think?

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Exploring The Sermon

Wrecked For The Ordinary posted “The Godfather Of Christian Media: Exploring The Sermon” by Tim Chermak.  Tim questions the validity of the Godfather of Christian media – “the sermon”?

Read the post here and join in the conversation.

Three Things Tuesday

It’s Three Things Tuesday (well, it’s actually Wednesday and I’m running late but there’s no cute name to go along with Wednesday, so…it’s Three Things Tuesday) again.

Thing #1  The Real @DaliaLama


Believe it or not the Dalia Lama now has an official twitter account.

You can catch his tweets @DalaiLama.

Thing #2  Criticizing Church, Defending Church


Scott McKnight defends the church against her critics with arguments about the church being made up of a bunch of imperfect people therefore no one should expect her to be perfect…blah, blah, blah.

I think that is a poor defense…just because we (the body of Christ) are all imperfect and prone to make mistakes doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be criticized when we do harm to others or that we should expect people to stick around while we do harm to them or those they care about.

But, in case I missed the point or read something out of context read his post at Jesus Creed (and the comments) for yourself and see what you think.

Thing #3  Billy Coffey


Maybe I’m out of the loop and everyone already knows about Billy Coffey, but I was pleasantly surprised to run across him in the blogosphere recently.  There is something raw and honest about his style – his writing really draws me in and I come away so glad to have read what he wrote.

For instance, check out a recent post he wrote called “What Happened To My Kindness”

Oh, and he has a book called Snow Day coming out later this year.

Does Organizing Religion Defeat The Purpose?

“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH ORGANIZATION”

Dan Kimball over at Vintage Faith is asking for people’s gut reaction to the phrase “organized religion”.

Dan is writing a book and one of his chapters is about organized religion and why he believes churches need to be organized in a healthy way.  Dan realizes that the phrase “organized religion” conjures up a lot of negative vibes and he wants to take that into account.  Go by and read some of the responses and add your own thoughts…but not before you take a moment to answer my question at the end of this post.

When I hear the phrase “organized religion” I think of things like: the church caring more about numbers than individuals, more about being entertained than following Christ, worship being centered around “the sermon” rather than around God, people who are sure they have it all figured out, people who are mostly concerned with developing and maintaining their organization rather than being mostly concerned about loving and caring for others, people who are against a lot of stuff, people who want justice for their organization and the people within it but aren’t that concerned with justice for those outside of their organization, big buildings, lots of programs….I could go on but you get the picture.

Of course I don’t think that organization itself is bad, but it does seem that we have a tendency to go awry when it comes to organizing the church/religion.  It seems almost impossible for us to stop ourselves from getting so caught up in “being a successful organization” that we can’t be good followers of Christ.

Maybe our critics are saying to us in their best Col. Jessup voice:  YOU CAN’T HANDLE ORGANIZATION!!!!!!!

So my question to you is this:  Does organizing religion defeat the purpose?

A Labor Of Love

northwood-home-makeover

My husband and I participated in this last year and it was great.  Unfortunately we were not able to participate this year but plan on joining in again next year.  It is truly a labor of love.

A group of volunteers gave four Haltom City homes a makeover. In just 24 hours, some 1,600 volunteers completed home renovations for the much-deserving families.

The home makeovers come courtesy of the NorthWood Church in Keller. This is the third year that NorthWood has provided home makeovers for families in Haltom City.

The families being helped were all selected based on their need. “There’s something about the time frame and the urgency of it that makes it that much more,” said volunteer Andy Wallace.

Those involved with the project say the renovation isn’t only for the homes, but the soul as well. “God said, ‘Go out and help the needy and the poor’, so what better way to come out and serve the Lord than to help these folks out?” Wallace asked.

The makeovers include painting, replacing flooring, landscaping, decorating, new furniture and decorative items, appliance replacement or repair and other things you would expect.  This year mini-makeovers were added for the houses on the streets where the home makeovers were taking place.  The mini-makeovers included yard work, exterior painting and other small jobs.

The teams start working on Friday afternoon and work through the night and into Saturday.  The big reveal happens about 5PM that Saturday.

Be sure and click on the picture above to see CBS coverage.

A Piece Of The Puzzle Is Missing

 

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I rarely go to church these days.  It all started about three years ago when several things happened within a short period of time.  Between dealing with some real life situations that made me begin to question a lot of what the Evangelical Christian Church typically taught and moving to a new community, I stopped going to church. 

It didn’t happen all at once.  At first I slowed down on the things I participated in.  I had taught Bible Studies for years and I stopped teaching mainly because of the questions and doubts I was dealing with.  I also scaled back on a lot of participation in other areas.  If the program wasn’t missional in nature or for the purpose of creating community I eliminated it from my roster (there were a few exceptions, but not many).  Then we moved to a new community and although we visited churches for almost two years (several for 2 or 3 months) I never got connected.  So, for the last year I have attended church very rarely.

This is unusual for me because I was one of those people that went to church “every time the doors were opened” and volunteered/served a LOT.  It seemed that when I started to scale back on some of the things I volunteered for I discovered that many (to be honest, it was probably most) of my relationships at church fizzled out – which led me to think that the relationships were sort of superficial and based more on activities than actual relating.  That was sad.

I miss the way things used to be and yet the way things used to be doesn’t work for me anymore.

The closest anything came to working for me in the last couple of years was a small group (about 10 ppl) that met every other week.  We did some service projects together, some fun things, read books and discussed them, studied scripture and prayed together, and talked with one another about our lives, faith, families, hobbies, relationships – really everything and anything.  But after a couple of years the group stopped meeting because two or three of the couples broke off from the group for various reasons.  This group had grown out of a Sunday morning Bible class from the church we had attended for years.  We continued to drive the 50 mile roundtrip every other week to meet with the group just because it was such a good fit for my husband and I, but living as far away as we did we didn’t want to start trying out other small groups at that church.  We haven’t found anything similar in the community where we now live.

There are still a few churches that I am interested in visiting but it seems that the ones that I am drawn to don’t have any teens at all and I would like my teenage son to have some peers to connect with.

It’s an odd time.  I mourn for what I have lost even though what I lost is still there.  I’ve changed and that means I don’t fit in anymore.  It’s sad.

At the same time I enjoy sleeping in a little on Sundays (which I hadn’t done since I was in my twenties) and having both Saturday and Sunday to run errands, clean house, do the laundry – it seems to make the whole weekend more leisurely.  I like the extra time that our family has together during the week when we used to be all going in a lot of different directions due to all the church activities we were involved with.  But…I feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing.

Can anyone else relate?

What makes a church a church?

churchThere’s been a lot of talk lately about whether online churches qualify as real churches and even whether they are more harmful than helpful.  Many people say that a church cannot be a church unless people are gathering together in person, face to face.   Some say that online churches aren’t biblical – that in order for a church to exist it must include certain elements, such as preaching, sacraments and discipline.

It got me to thinking … what makes a church a church?

Is it the music, the preaching, the tradition, the tax exempt status, the sacraments, the programs, the elders, the building, the stain glassed windows??? 

To begin, I did a little research on the church and found that the word “church” has an interesting history.

The Greek term “ekklesia” is normally translated by the English word “church” in the New Testament. I knew that bit of information, but what I did not know is that the English word “church” did NOT originate from the word “ekklesia” or from the concept of the “ekklesia” expressed in the NT.  “Ekklesia”, a commonly used word in NT times, referred to a group of people gathering or an assembly of people.  Instead, the English word “church” originated from a Greek word that is used twice (Cor 11:20 and Rev 1:10) in the NT – the Greek word is “kuriakos”, which means “belonging to the Lord.”

What I found even more interesting is that Jesus only used the word “ekklesia” twice, never used the word “kuriakos” but spoke of the Kingdom of God/Heaven over one hundred times.

Anyway, at some point, the place where believers met together started to be called “kuriakon” or “the Lord’s house,” which is the neuter version of “kuriakos”. This word made its way into German (Kirche), Anglo Saxon (circe), and Middle English (chirche). When Luther translated the New Testament into German, he did not use the word “Kirche” to translate “ekklesia”, instead he used the German word “gemeinde”, which means something similar to the English word community. And when Tyndale translated the New Testament into English in 1536, he also did not use the word “church” to translate the Greek word “ekklesia”.  Instead, he used the word “congregacion”. But over the next century all English translations started translating “ekklesia” by using “church”.

Does all of this matter?  I think it does because when I began to substitute the words “gathering” and “congregation” and “community” and “assembly” for the word “church” I began to get a picture that the church is more about people who were connected together through a supernatural kinship and that all their resources and abilities were meant to be used to produce a continuation of the life and activity of Christ himself – instead of an event that is required to include certain traditions or practices.

So, the question was…what makes a church a church?  I think the answer is a group of people who gather together in the name of Christ, through the power of Christ, for the purpose of being Christ.  And IMHO it seems that could take a lot of different forms – even the form of an online church.

What do you think?

(Now – having said all that I think there are better ways to do church – maybe I will write a post about that soon)