Friday, September 30, 2005

Blogs and Conversations

I like the community out there of people who blog about church; particularly the various forms/methods/models of doing 'church'. This goes beyond the typical Sunday morning event, and the weekday meetings. Most often the conversation is about people being authentic, free, and real in their faith and relationship with Christ, and how that impacts their relationships with others. There are many voices in the online conversation, but there's a couple that I pay particular regular attention too, partly because they're Canadian, and partly because I frankly don't have a ton of time to read everything else out there and they both do a fairly good job summing up a lot of the conversation. They are:

Len Hjalmarson at NextReformation.com, and
Jordon Cooper at Jordancooper.com.

Today, Jordon linked to a guy named Jason Clark, who is discussing the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the emerging church. He writes an interesting post on "Over Promising" in the church:
How many times do we over-promise on church.

Over the years I have been to gatherings with 10,000 people where revival was promised (it never came), read books that promised me the ultimate marriage, the deepest possible relationship with God, the most superlative whatever. You name it, we've promised it.

I've also got memories of seeing dozens of people over the years being prophesied over, 'I see you changing a generation'. Given that maybe one or two people have that kind of influence historically, there are a lot of disappointed people out there, who that has not come true for. more...

I don't think he's preaching a theology of being mediocre, but I agree with him that we as a church are pretty good at giving false hype, and false promise.
Where were the thousands of new believers filling our church buildings following Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ"? Evangelical Christians made him a ton of money, that was the one guaranteed promise in it all. Whether it's the latest big name speaker coming to town, or the latest and greatest 40 day program for our congregation to go through, or a short prayer by a guy named Jabez, we have this belief that if we just do "________" then our church will be more alive and people will come to know Christ...
So, what is the blank? I'm becoming more and more convinced that the blank is not a program or a book or a speaker or a blog. I don't even think we should be filling in the blank with something that we should be doing.
Often though, the blank is seen as a means to a greater end, real authentic discipleship, real authentic Christ-like people, who are filled, led and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Is there a way to get away from the programs the 'stuff' and get back to the reality of living as a follower of Christ. The early church didn't have mass produced books/videos/DVD's/journals. They simply had faith, the Spirit, and an environment that didn't lend itself to mediocre comfortable living.
I could go on and on, and finish a few of the thoughts that I've started in this post, but I really need to get on with my work day...

This post had the following soundtrack:
Led Zeppelin - The Immigrant Song
Mystery Machine - Time Killer
Social Distortion - Don't Drag me Down
Lamonica - This Quiet House
Money Money - Judy

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anthony said...

What? I thought all I had to do was read your blog and then I would be forever blessed! ;)

It's an interesting concept from a Christian viewpoint: the idea of means to an end, as if we could attain any end in this world, as if we could attain any sort of perfection in this life. If there is any promise we can hold on to, it's redemption. Until then, it's day by day.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow - maybe this is the next movement - the don't jump on the bandwagon movement - count me in...when I think of the money made by those hyping the latest in get close to God self-help I want to retch. It's time we all admitted we can not attain perfection and love eachother just as God does. That's what God says will make the church grow. Of course, loving is harder than running a program

4:53 PM  

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