My Photo

My Online Status

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 08/2003

Technorati

« Author Renee Altson to be Featured | Main | A Protestant Fascination with the Crucifix »

September 14, 2004

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

DP,

I am impressed with the quality of topics you've posted recently. This is good stuff.

To the point of "event" Christianity, I'm going to cast the first stone.

Many Christians today are fascinated by event Christianity for one reason and one reason only: They are not experiencing a fullness of the Lord in their day-to-day existence. This includes all of their weekly church experiences. As a result, they go running when someone shouts, "Hey, He's over here!"

People recognize their own spiritual bankruptcy more often than we give credit. But they are not finding the One whom they seek, even among a generation of churches that claim to be in tune with Jesus. This is appalling to me. In an age when the vast majority of pastors claim that they are getting better and better at reaching people (according to Barna), the people being reached are not finding any spiritual depth in what is being shared. Nothing ever sticks.

So people go searching among Christian events hoping to find what they are not getting. The charismatic movement, in particular, has destroyed itself by running after every supposed manifestation of the Holy Spirit that pops up, even highly suspect "moves" of the Spirit (such as "God" turning regular fillings in teeth to gold--how ludicrous!), just to see if that hole that is within them is dealt with once and for all.

What an indictment of our current preaching, teaching, and living! People would not be running to events if they were getting the spiritual meat they desire to eat at "home." Instead our emphases on "seeker-sensitivity" and "cultural relevancy" has doomed people to expect lowest common denominator Christianity rather than the Spirit-filled and transcendant Christianity Jesus desires for us.

I'll step down off my soapbox now and let others contribute....

As usual, I both agree and disagree. I was reading something online recently that spoke of working with postmodern people. Instead of inviting them to a program, it was saying you should invite them into relationship. So instead of announcing an event, personally invite them. I don't think the worship gathering is as event oriented as those who have gone before us.

And like the book the search to belong, small groups aren't for everyone or the only answer to community. We will all keep trying to reinvent the wheel until we learn what he means by people having different needs to belong in different spaces (public, personal, intimate, etc.).

Finally, I don't think someone attending more than one local church is a question of loyalty or is always bad.

I think I might actually agree with Dan for once, but the charismatic movement being destroyed is probably going too far.

This post also reminded me of something on radical congruency's blog recently:

http://www.radicalcongruency.com/20040912-forming-people

"Finally, I don't think someone attending more than one local church is a question of loyalty or is always bad."

That's fine, Benjy. But will this help us build stronger community? And if so, how?

"But will this help us build stronger community?"

... Does community building have to be limited to participating with only 1 gathering of people?

... Can we not find genuine community apart from the traditional "This is my Church/This is my Pastor/These are my Friends"

... I have found and experienced much greater community and a love for people than i ever dreamed possible by being involved in more than 1 group these past few years ... Each of these communities have given me strength as well as have been strengthened by my involvement in them ...

... It's time to give people freedom to experience life outside of our "safe circles"

Shok, I think many people do experience real "community" outside of "the church" more than inside. But in our overly individualistic culture, I'm concerned that we might repeatedly sell ourselves short, falling prey unknowingly to an underlining kind of consumerism. But then again, when we leave one environment where we experienced little or no real community, and then find it elsewhere -- even a limited sense of community will likely feel like heaven! ;)

I think we should experience community within the body of Christ, regardless if its at a church, multiple churches, through friendships outside of a local church context or even online. Maybe we are looking at it from different angles. I don't see it as individualistic, but more non linear.

"I don't see it as individualistic, but more non linear."

Benjy, maybe your "angle" for looking at this should be reconsidered. I'm not sure that our concept or experience of "community" should be assessed as either linear or non-linear, but rather in terms of whether it is organic or not (i.e. how did God create or intend for us to experience community?). One of the things commonly associated with postmodernity is an end to individualism, but I just don't see it -- people are still working too hard to "have it their way." Our current cultural perspective is probably a lot more arrogant than we realize. If we want to experience more "community" in the future, I think we need to look to the past.

The comments to this entry are closed.