Why Christianity doesn't work (Part 3)

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."
1 Corinthians 3:16-17

The last post has opened the door to many questions, and the main one that has been asked over and over is, "Geoff, do you not believe in the church?"

The short answer is yes, the long answer...still yes (am I saying yes I do believe in the church or no I don't, what I mean to say is that I do believe in the church...man I can't even answer my own question to myself??). I can't argue against the importance of the church, it's biblical! In the verse above, Paul talks to the church in Corinth and speaks of the church as something sacred. It is something holy, that His spirit lives in the church.

We all know that the church isn't the building, but it is us as fellow Christ followers. That is the church. We are the church! Paul writes in Corinthians as well that we are one body that one part can't say to the other "We don't need you!" (1 Cor 12:12ff)

So what I was getting at in the whole conversation "conversation" was that it's not supposed to replace the church, it is supposed to be the church. In regards to the building, order of service, giving etc aspect I do see the value in it. I understand that people need someone to teach them, they need a place to call their own, and they need to have a place to give. My issue with all of this is that I think we're not grasping the idea of what church should be. Mr. Green (of the Adam kind) so kindly commented that the early church met together in the Temple to be taught and learn together. There is rhyme and reason to meeting together, as a group. That is what the body is supposed to do.

My issue is that there are so many people doing so many things, all confessing that Jesus is God. The Catholics, the Presbyterians (on a side note I heard a "Christian" song in which the verse sang ' You love the Presbyterians; You love the gays and the lesbians' I could not stop laughing, all for the fact the author of this song wanted lesbians in the song, and the only thing the rhymes sensibly is Presbyterians!! Hahaha...oh man...people are dumb...anyways back to the task at hand) The issue, right...doing many things, Lutheran, Baptist, Mennonite etc...the list goes on.

We're all on the same team, however people can't seem to make up their mind on where to go, what to do. If you're a bible believing, Jesus loving church, we're on the same side! Yet, the feeling I get more often than not is the attitude of competition! Well, this church isn't doing this right so lets start our own thing, and do it right, to which another church says the same thing, and then another and yet another.

Christianity (Church) isn't about being innovative, it's about being faithful to Jesus!

Mark Driscol (Preaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church Seattle)

We need to understand that doing things together is the way the church is going to make an impact. How are we to “change the world” when we can’t even get along with other people who profess they love and serve the same God. We need to be faithful to our call to love, and love well (Phil 1:9)

The conversations need to stem further than our front doors. Leaders are so preoccupied making their church better that they forget that no man is an island. Building a house is easier with more people. Conversation opens the door to get past differences, to understand that you don’t speak in tongues and I do! That’s great. Do you love Jesus? Yes! Then lets move forward together.

Why are our churches not making change, to go back to Paul’s words…”If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him…” What doesn’t work is the thinking that they’re gonna do our thing, they’re gonna do theirs! What it needs to be is community of Christ followers, doing the work together, showing the world that we can do what Jesus asked us.

“Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind”
Jesus (God, master, Messiah praying for us!)


Why Christianity doesn't work (Part 2)

"I think what makes more sense is that churches be organized around the particular vision that God has entrusted to the leaders, and that the church remain true to that vision.... Individuals, particularly younger generations, are saying, 'you know what, it's got to be genuine. It's got to be authentic. It has to reflect who I am, what I need, where I'm going.' So you are going to see all these other models: the house church; the cyber church; the boutique churches; faith communes; eschatological forums; marketplace affinity groups and so forth."
George Barna

As I've been thinking more about this topic and having conversations with others about this topic, I've really had to mull over what I was going to write about. I better be able to back up my "outrageous" claim. This first topic, hopefully, will discuss how we've missed the mark on the youth and young adults in our culture.

Let me preface this by saying I am a young adult, who is for the most part, is confused about his Christianity. As I talk to others my age, this seems to be the general consensus, for the most part. Especially for those of us that have been in "ministry" these past few years, we've been feeling much like a square peg trying to be hammered into a round hole. For the longest time, I thought that this was the pressures of being around people, planning events, trying to sort out my own life. However, as I've read the Bible, looked to others for advice, and just thought about many different things, I've realized that it wasn't what was going on in my life that was causing the tension, but my understanding of faith, and Christ that was pulling me taught!

Here is the deal, in the quote above, George Barna writes that young adults are saying that something in the the church isn't meeting them where they are at. So, our solution is to think of something else, some are great ideas, some not so much (Ship of Fools was a ridiculous idea). I do believe there needs to be something else, but I don't think that the solution is another church, organization, or group.

As I look at the New Testament Church I don't see a formula as we do it. Formula? You know, 1. Welcome, 2. Music, 3. Announcements, 4. Offering, 5. Preaching, 6. Music, 7. Dismiss. You may say no, no, our church is different, no it's not! You just do it in a different order, Announcements may follow your offering! I recently read a book called What I do see is this:

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
Acts 2:42-47

This was the church. They ate together, they hung out together, celebrated life together, and God came with them. The interesting part about this passage is, that as they were doing life, people were added to their numbers! By eating food, and talking, and learning from the disciples, they grew!

The idea is not another church for our young adults, it's another way of thinking about what they want. For the most part people having been getting dumb, dumber, and dumberer. No one is challenged to think for themselves, and if they are, they think things that are a waste of time thinking about. What I want is a young adult is to learn something, not necessarily be taught, but to learn, through conversation, from someone who has lived life differently or has a perspective that challenges my own.

This past week I had the privilege of going out with my fiance and a married couple who we like! As we hung out with them for the day, and finished our little double date day off with a meal, we talked, and talked well! For a good 2 hours we had conversation. From that 2 hours of eating, drinking, and talking I felt I had learned more about myself, about my soon to be wife, and about Jesus than I have from being in Church the last few months!

How is that possible? It is possible, it happened, I was there. I know how I felt. As I work these things out I realize that what I want, what young adults want
(for the most part) is to talk, and to talk well! The early church did it, they ate, drank, and met with God in their conversations. The disciples were there to teach and correct, but through conversation. Yet we always feel the need to organize our conversations, bring it into the same place add some music, and give away money. The early church did this too...and what happened once they got organized, people start making their own rules, getting drunk on communion, having sex with each other, and getting stern reprimands from a converted murderer (read 1 Corinthians again!)

I see the value in Church as we do it now, don't get me wrong, but I see more life change through having conversation, which we don't do nearly enough! Life happens 6 other days of the week, however, for whatever reason, we think that we grow on Sunday, or we should anyways. I'm gonna be frank, most of what I hear from the stage doesn't change me, the music I hear doesn't move me, the way I give doesn't make me feel like I am worshiping. When I am singing in my car driving to see my fiance I feel God singing with me, when I pay for someone else's meal I feel God saying "good job" when I talk with my friends about life, God joins me in the conversation. So let's have conversation...


Why Christianity doesn't work (Part 1)

Over the past year, I have been really struggling with the idea of what I believe and why I believe it. A normal process I think that all people should go through.

As I think more and more about who Jesus was, and who I think he is, the two can't be reconciled. I feel more and more that what I was taught, and raised to think about him, is not at all what Jesus was like. That what I've grown up doing, and what I get paid to do now doesn't work, in fact it's not even right, relevant, or even reasonable.

Over the next couple weeks, hopefully I can create an understanding of why Christianity as we do it doesn't work. How Christianity has been done, has caused more harm than good. Finally, hopefully, a solution, or a step forward on where we can go, and how being a Christ follower is not a fix to a problem, but another question that may make life harder before it gets better.

My mind hurts to think of the foundations that were built up in my relationship with God that are slowly crumbling away. However I am nervously excited to start pouring a new one, a better one, a right one! So hopefully, we can discuss openly together about why Christianity doesn't work.