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.
- I am, however, going to try and make a clear distinction between the church of Scripture and institutional Christianity. Part of our problem is that over the centuries Christians have lost the true definition of what the “church” is. We confuse “church” for a building, an organization, a service time, or an institution. The church is sometimes encased in these structures, but those things have never been our identity. We’ll try to identify one from the other.
- I am not here to challenge sound doctrine. I recognize some readers may not recognize the Bible as the final authority on these matters, and I respect their right not to. But I do, and probably in another post, I will explain why.
- I am, however, going to question certain methods of “doing church” and ministry that I believe are, at best, losing their effectiveness in a changing culture, and at worst, alienating the very people we are supposed to be reaching.
- I am not going to be sterile and diplomatic in this discussion. Like many in my position, not only have I been disillusioned with a lot of what I’ve seen in institutional Christianity, but I’ve also experienced pain because of it. It would be dishonest not to admit that hurt and process that woundedness. So sometimes I may express some strong opinions. You are free to comment back to me, whether you agree or disagree.
- I am going to try to be fair, and I pledge to be forgiving. I know the church consists of imperfect people, and there are reasons why good people act like idiots sometimes. My hope is that in processing both my feelings and my opinions honestly, it will bring healing to others even as I find continued healing for myself.
I’m looking forward to continuing this thread. Hope you are, too.