Monday, August 01, 2005

100 Things I've Learned About Church

Now that my summer 'tour' is pretty much over and the dust is settling, I can begin to blog regularly again... This morning I've pondered posting several things. However, perhaps most important to the conversation (at least, today) is the following excerpt from begin with grey.

  • Every argument can be turned back into a conversation by believing "It's okay if I'm completely wrong about this."
  • All of us are always in progress always, all the time.
  • Making a church look cool does not make it 'postmodern'.
  • When it comes to church; style does not equal substance. There are plenty of 'uncool' churches that are far more "postmodern"/"emergent" than the "cool" churches.
  • "New Look, Same Great Taste!" doesn't work if it tastes nasty.
  • Churches spend countless resources in pursuit of the perfect formula for getting people saved. There is no formula. There never has been, there never will be.
    You can't buy the formula, you can't sell the formula, you can't go to a 'cool' church and copy the formula. No amount of research will reveal the formula. So just step away from the [Saddleback].
  • Read the bible, everyone. Relentlessly discuss what it says with as many different kinds of people as possible. (is that a formula?)
  • The word "christian" means all kinds of things to all kinds of people. Very often it means bad things. Same with 'Jesus', God, Savior, etc.
  • Republican does not equal Christian.
  • Two steps towards irrelevance: one, hold an evangelistic event that will impress your christian friends. two, blame the 'unbelievers' if they don't get saved.
  • What works for another church will not necessarily work for yours. Especially anything with the number forty in it.

Sounds harsh, I know. I'm not sure I agree with the original post entirely, but it is good food for thought. How much of this am I guilty of?


At 7:23 AM, Blogger Jimmie W. Kersh said...

Sounds like you had a very eventful summer. One of the sentences cought my attention concerning churches in this area. Two steps towards irrelevance: one, hold an evangelistic event that will impress your christian friends. two, blame the 'unbelievers' if they don't get saved.

Too bad God has to use modern prophets to slap us in the face.

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Scott M said...

Wow, Tom. Of course, you started with my mantra, which I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see on a list like that. I'm pretty certain that at least half of what I think I know or believe today is wrong. I just don't know which half. Or how much more than half is wrong. Instead I focus on those few things about which I can be certain and try to live. All of which leads to the statement below in the post above the list.

There is absolute truth, but not absolute interpretation.

I know I've said things very similar to that more than once. Absolutely everything we experience is filtered through our expectations, our desire, our culture, in short, our entire perception. God conveyed Truth, absolute Truth, to us in the form of his Son. But our understanding and interpretation of the accounts about him and the early church are always filtered through our perception. When we forget the danger inherent in that fact, we stray.

The problem with love is that it is grey.

Isn't it though? Love, real love, takes you to dangerous places. Places where you're not sure what to do or even what is right. Love starts with the person, not the things the person does. And it rarely comes naturally or easily to us.

Every time I've thought someone should be excluded from the church
for some reason, I find out that I should be excluded for reasons
which are just as equal.

Of course, you've heard a lot of my personal reflections on that very point. I never have to look very far or hard.

There's something worth learning from every religion and
every philosophy. Ask what's right before asking what's wrong.


Find out what's right about someone else's beliefs before
attacking what's wrong.

And I made a comment, from my personal experience yesterday morning, almost exactly like the above in meaning just yesterday. That wasn't the first time, either.

I'll stop there. But I'm going to keep reading that one. Thanks. Personally, I'm hard-pressed to find much to disagree with. But then, there aren't a whole lot of the sort of iron-clad claims that lead to strong disagreement on the list. And I don't have a lot of personal hilltop fortresses worth fighting to defend. I do see how it could be more challenging to others.

I just asked the other day where our prophets were in this time where they are sorely needed. This one may or may not be exercising the full biblical gift (which often looks a whole lot more like a curse from a human perspective), but it's certainly a start. And the surprising, widespread response to a simple, anonymous blog that, as far as I can tell, makes no effort to garner attention is interesting.


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