Friday, February 22, 2008

Idle musings on "church"

Earlier in the week, my God in the ordinary post was inspired by a blog post over at Idle musings of a bookseller. Another post there on Tuesday has also kept the attention of my thoughts this week. Simply entitled "Good Stuff," this post has some thoughts about "church," among other things that he quotes from other blogs.

The part that caught my attention:
Tell me something... what if we've got it all wrong? The church thing I mean...

What if church is not supposed to be about "worship"? What then?

What if music is supposed to play a minor role and not a major one (excuse the pun).

What if God doesn't care for self-focussed, romantic lyrics sung to boomer, 1980s, soft pop music...

What if church is supposed to be less about music, monologue, lecture-style teaching in theatre style auditoriums and more about living life with people who share the same questions, struggles, joys and challenges that I do?...

By the way, I have been using the word "church" in quotes lately, not as a means of bashing "church," but as a means of emphasizing that I am questioning the modern, commonly held meanings of what "church" really is. That's all. :)


  1. You are in the right direction.

    Church is not a building, program or a religion. The Church is a heavenly creation, eternal, a cloud of witnesses that are simply found in Jesus.

    Christianity has drifted for almost 2000 years away from her roots. I don't think we can ever be like the first century Church - nor do I care to go back to replicate it...even if we could.

    Church is nothing more than the saints who are found in Him. We are an awkward community being transformed into his image complete with the dysfunctionality. We are a bride complete with zits that we see with preoccupation, but our Groom doesn't see. He longs for our heart and not our acne.

    When we come together, whether it is on the internet, phone, in person...we are found hidden in Him...nothing more...nothing less (Gal 2.20, Col. 3.3-4, Rom 6.5-8). We are the apple of his eye.

    The church does too much navel gazing when it comes to assembly and form - it should be nothing more than gazing into His eyes...the lover of our soul...we need not look elsewhere.

  2. Joel, this a great blog and great comments from walking church. I'm really enjoying these discussions about what the church really is since I have many thoughts but find that they take on greater form as I hear what others are thinking.

    I’ve heard that the early church is a model that we are to follow. I’ve come to believe differently. I now believe it was an infant church that never went on to maturity. If they had, I don’t think we’d be in the mess we are today. As walking church said, I don’t think we need to go back and replicate. Instead we need to look to Jesus and allow him to build his church.

    I think the question Idle musings posed is a good one.

    “What if church is supposed to be less about music, monologue, lecture-style teaching in theatre style auditoriums and more about living life with people who share the same questions, struggles, joys and challenges that I do?...”

    That pretty much describes my understanding of what the true church should look like. People more interested in one another than in maintaining the form and structure.


  3. Thanks friends, for the great comments! I too was stuck in the mold or mindset that the church of today should be like the church "modeled" in the Bible, but something has always not set right in me about that. Mostly because I saw God working in my life in very obvious ways that were so very different than what I saw in the Bible. Not at all to disregard the Bible, that's not my point at all! But as you say, WC, the church is Christ's saints and He is building it, not according to a biblical model, but according to His working in and through all of us individually and collectively as we simply abide in Him.

    I should point out that the quotes in this blog post are not actually those of Jim (from Idle musings). They are quotes that he quoted from other blogs. I'm not sure if I made that clear.

  4. As I have waiting and resting for the last year re: what Church is about and what should it look like...

    I came across a blast from the past...'Assembling Together' by Watchman Nee. He was used mightily to build the Church in China during a time of great persecution. I recently found a copy on Amazon. It was less than 10 bucks. While it is somewhat has some very nice framing.

  5. Joel, I believe you're right. Father often works in our lives differently than he did in Bible days. I've experienced that too. We're all individuals and he works with us as individuals.

    I've also come to believe that the apostles, including Paul, were just like us and some of the things they said and did that we now try to copy were wrong. I believe they actually missed God and Father had that put in the Bible as a negative example. However, with our mindset that the early church was a pattern for us to follow, we've missed the point of the lesson and have instituted their errors.

    Also, I believe some of what they did was very specific to the circumstances they faced and were not meant as rules for us to follow forever. Ex.: The choosing of 7 men to take care of the Greek widows has now become another position called deacon which no longer resembles anything that the early church set up. I believe these men were chosen as a solution for a particular problem faced by the church and were never meant to become a fixed position in the church.

    Well, I could go on and on because this topic is so fascinating but I've got to get ready to go take care of some of my grandbabies so I better get off now but I'll catch up with all of you later.


  6. Hey Joel!

    While reading your post, and noticing all the questions that were posed, a quote came to mind ...

    "One question can be more instructive than a thousand answers." -Socrates-

    I think the more we quesiton, the more we learn about what Father has and is teaching us, whether it be about organized religion or where Father has us individually.

    I like this topic and love what everyone has to say!

    In Freedom, Nicole!

  7. There is an excellent book that I read in Seminary it is by Fee and Stuart - Reading the Bible for All its worth...less than 20 bucks.

    It is a gift to the Church because it tells us how we incorrectly interpret the Bible...talks how we see it with our modern we read into a conversation that occurred several thousand years ago. It is a great, great read.

    One last comment. You can't box God. He sings a new song everyday. I would agree it is unique to each of us. He is the gaze of our focus - what else is there?

  8. We are all framed by words. Words that breathe life are born from above. All good words become that definitive word called the genesis of life. When the word takes root in our hearts, it puts on flesh.

    The word is the embodiment of the father, the son and the spirit. That speaks of its origin, the pattern and the motivation.

    Ff you can hear, hear. The good word can be a pastoral word. It can be an apostolic word. A miraculous word that heals or a guiding word which leads and directs. It may be a word that brings a song to your heart and lips. When you receive that word into your life, living water gushes like a mighty river shall flow. A good word received is a good word multiplied.

    And the word is God..not the messenger.

    Mat 8:20 And Jesus said to him, The foxes(prophets) have holes, and the birds(religious leaders) of the air have nests(building/institutions), but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.

  9. Joel,

    I'm glad the post triggered some thoughts. And thanks for clarifying for people that they weren't mine, but were quoted.


  10. never build around individuals and enshrine them before Jehovah. never create a place where you can rest your authority and lord over Jehovah's people. for only one is worthy, worthy to remain in the center of crystal walls where streets are paved in the richness of divine gold. for thou shall have no other gods in the mold of creatures life embrace.

    the one that says, life be denied is the slain lamb that shall reign forever more.

    because he is the one made in God's image

  11. Thanks, James. As you can see I've been doing a lot of thinking about all this lately, and I've been processing a lot of information. :) Certain thoughts from others have had a major impact on my way of thinking.