Categotry Archives: You need to read this

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What’s Coming…

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Categories: How I am, Meanderings (look it up), moments of truth, You need to read this

I’ve processed a lot of stuff here in the past couple of years, as I’ve transitioned out of institutional church into “something else” that I don’t know what to call it yet. This transition has been full of surprises; if someone had made me bet my life on predicting the stuff that has happened, I’d be dead now.

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What I REALLY Think About the Institutional Church

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Categories: food for thought, You need to read this

When I’m talking to someone and they start ranting and raving about something, one of my favorite things to say to them (tongue-in-cheek) is: “Oh, don’t beat around the bush; tell me what you REALLY think.”

A lot of time is spent on this blog de-constructing various aspects of institutional Christianity. Taken together, it might seem like so much ranting and raving. So today, I thought I’d tell you what I REALLY think about the institutional church.

I love it.

(Well, not the “institutional” part, so much as the “church” part.)

You see…all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are the church, the Body of Christ, whether they be Protestant, Catholic, Pentecostal/Charismatic, evangelical, emergent, house church, whatever. All those elements are adjectives that give an indication of what the practice of our faith looks like–but the faith is the common element. We differ in our practices, and in points of doctrine; but even with common creeds like the Apostles’ Creed, what really identifies us as Christ-followers is Person we are following, not the doctrinal statement we happen to hold.

This is important to re-state from time to time, because (as history shows) it is so easy for us to get an us-versus-them mentality about other Christians who do not believe or practice certain things the way we do. For those of us who are in various stages of leaving the institution, we need to not fall into the same snares of divisiveness against our brothers and sisters.

The church is the church, wherever, whenever, and however we meet, institutional or not. Jesus loves the institutional church, because He sees the church inside the institutions. And we are commanded by Him to love one another as He loves us. So while I question those things about the institutions that I see as counter-productive…I still love the church within those institutions. Passionately.

I have been involved with house church for over 8 years now; but I still minister in more traditional settings where I am welcomed, because it’s still the church, and I’m still part of the church.

I am not against institutions for their own sake; I am for what works, and for what is best for us. My number one issue with institutional Christianity is not that I think it’s wrong (as in right versus wrong), but that I think it doesn’t work well, especially in our day. I think it limits us and keeps the church from being all that she could be. It’s still an opinion–one that is informed by study and experience. Not a doctrine.

While there is little Biblical support for the institutional forms of church, that is not why I question them. As I’ve said several times now, just because something is extra-Biblical does not make it anti-Biblical. But if the form is not working well, and Scripture itself does not support it…that’s when it’s time to re-think.

Even so…I do not have an agenda to tear down the institutions by what I say here. I think God is dealing with institutional Christianity in His own way, and He does not need our help. I feel that the trends we’re seeing are evidence that God is doing something, and all I want to do is respond to that in kind–and that’s a lot of what I’m writing about on this blog.

But I still love the church. And if you are following Jesus, so should you. Jesus commands it of us.

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What We Leave Behind, and What We Don’t

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Categories: food for thought, You need to read this

My post a couple of days ago, The View from Here, generated some of the most interesting comments I’ve received since starting this blog. I found in those comments a very similar (and strong) dissatisfaction with the status quo–and a kindred spirit among them. I also noted that people are dealing with that dissatisfaction in differing ways. Some are trying to stay in the institutions hoping to be a catalyst for change (or perhaps reluctant to break the only form of fellowship they know); and some are feeling like they need to leave.

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Something more, something real

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Categories: food for thought, Meanderings (look it up), Rantings, You need to read this

In a number of my entries, I am highlighting certain flaws and indescrepancies that I’ve observed in institutional Christianity (i.e., what most people refer to as “church”). If you catch me on a day when I’m ranting, you’re liable to think that I (like many others) am just jaded and bitter and looking for a place to spew venom.

But the truth is, this is a journey, a process–not a destination. I know that in my ramblings, however random they might appear, I am going somewhere. In fact, I believe Jesus is taking me somewhere. This isn’t merely a journey away from something; it is a journey toward something.

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Why I’m blogging

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Categories: You need to read this

If you are new to this blog, thanks for coming. I’m glad you’re here.

I’m new to blogging, and I already find it addicting–not just the writing part, but looking at other blogs, commenting, receiving comments–the whole little online culture that comes with it. I notice other blogs, though, have quite a variety of content–funny pics, personal journals (“I went to the store today to buy some Comet…”), cool, quirky stuff–while mine seems a bit focused and serious at times. While I get the hang of this blogging thing, I thought I’d let you know why I started this in the first place.

I’ve been on a long spiritual journey; it’s taken me places I never thought I’d go, and it hasn’t even started to make sense to me until the past year or so. It’s left lots of thoughts and feelings swimming around inside me–stuff I need to lay out on the table so I can look at it. And not only me, but others, too. That’s the cool thing about the Internet community–even when you’re alone, you’re really connected to potentially millions of people. So I felt like it would be good to share thoughts, feelings, opinions, and stories here where other eyes could look at it, too, and comment back. I’m thinking what happens here might even provide raw material for a book or something.

So… if you’re willing, here’s how you can help me:
  1. Read my blog.
  2. Invite others to read my blog.
  3. Comment on what you read. This includes feedback on the content (both positive and negative), additional ideas you might have to add to the conversation, even (for you blogger geniuses out there) advice on how to enhance the blog and the content to make it more interesting.
  4. Keep reading my blog.
  5. Link to my blog.
  6. Leave more comments.
  7. Read and comment on my blog, and tell others about it.

In short…I hope this will become more than just a dumping ground for my own thoughts and feelings; I hope it will become an online conversation, a discussion that will enrich everyone who participates in it. And particularly, I hope by interacting with me, you will come away better for it. That’s what community is really about.

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What this is, and is not

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Categories: You need to read this

We’re early in this discussion, and in my last post I gave a little bit of personal background. Before I continue that thread, I think it’s fair to let everyone know where I am, and am not, going with this.

  • I am not here to start church-bashing. Jesus loves His church, and so do I. I don’t intend to disrespect Jesus by slamming the church.