Convergences, Nones and the church is dying (do you believe in resurrection?)

http://www.faithandleadership.com/blog/01-10-2013/david-lose-its-time-think-differently

“What’s the problem? someone might ask. “People don’t go to church in the numbers they used to,” we answer. No, that’s not the problem. “People don’t give money to programs like they once did.” Nope, not that either. These are just symptoms.

And as long as you think the problem is lower attendance or giving, then the only possible response is to do what we’ve always done, except do it better. We preach the same as we always did, except now we use screens and PowerPoint. Worship hasn’t really changed, but now we’ve thrown in a drum set. What we are doing is fundamentally the same, yet we somehow expect different results….(excerpted from above blog)”

hmmm….maybe the problem is THEOLOGICAL

Ie changing the time of church or the order of worship and adding more programs (the most common solutions I’ve seen to “change” the church) do not an exciting/relevant church make.

Recently my friends and I had a discussion on facebook about what church is…here is a microcosm (kind of the adverse of NPR’s study on why people don’t go to church, we discussed what church could/should be)

Tim said “A lot of theological terms confuse and get misconstrued…and I think you’re right – finding the people locally rather than them finding you. How? is the big question. Through all the misconceptions and stigma “church” gets, it’s a real challenge. There has to be some risk-taking…”

Shellie said…”Yes!!! It’s life together, authentic relationships, passionate worship, interactive study of scripture, no agenda or programs to distract or divide us, communion as a meal gathered at the table. Intimate yet informal, depth yet accessibility. A truly beautiful expression of the Church”

Tim said “Distractions being key there. We are easily distracted into thinking the programs/building/structure is “church” even when we agree that the “church” is relationships between God and people.”

Shellie said “Yes. Exactly. I’ve worked in several churches where – even with the best of intentions – the emphasis shifts to the curriculum, programs, worship service performance – and relationships slide further down the priority list. And it’s not just a pastoral problem or leadership problem – the “church” has grand expectations for its pastors.” and “es!!! How often does “do authentic relationships” or “serve the widowed, poor, oppressed” or “spend face-to-face time with the unlovely or persons outside the faith” show on our job descriptions of the church’s expectations?”

Oh and I said some stuff too…

“i think that’s what confuses people, they think church is just for belief, but I maintain its for unbelievers and faith (belief is something else!)”

“Awesome, its so hard, I think that we “do” church differently and a lot of people who are friends of mine would come, but now I need to find those people locally, I think that the idea of “church” gets in our way”

“I always say that when the church bought its first building everyone was probably like “what? That’s crazy, that won’t be real church, real church happens in peoples houses” etc, etc. all the objections people have to churches without pews or in different locations (coffeeshops, etc)”

“lol which is hilarious because the pastor’s job is to put themselves out of a job (teach others to pray, teach others to preach, teach others to lead–but church’s do focus on the programs”

The convergence continues

(Young Spiritual (and maybe not religious) people are converging! See the following article for more about the awesome convergence!!!)

Shasta and Aslan -Horse and His Boy

“While Nevin’s …

“While Nevin’s elevation of the church to the status of being Christ’s mystical body resulted in a condemnation of his views by his contemporary, Charles Hodge (1797-1878), president of Princeton Seminary, who particularly objected to the place of the church in Nevin’s work, stating that the whole spirit of The Mystical Presence “is churchy,”presenting “all our access to Christ [as] through a mediating church,” ascribing “to the outward church, the attributes and prerogatives of the mystical body of Christ.”-

-Barb Hedges-Goettl,

how about that, the whole church used to be considered Spiritual and not Religious

I don’t know what I believe….

In light of atheism, etc! Here’s what I don’t know……

katyandtheword

When I worked at the Psychiatric Hospital as a chaplain, one of the things I would do as often as possible was a Spiritual Assessment: Basically to get a feel of someone, their faith, and how it may or may not support them.

 

 

One of the questions was “Do you feel hope?”

 

And more than once the answer I got was, “no, not really, maybe someday I will.”

 

i.e. I’m hoping for hope

 

To me, this is the essence of the Christian question….

 

When a father brings his son in Mark 9 to be healed, Jesus says he can only be healed by belief, and the father says “I believe, help my unbelief”

 

 

 

In PCUSA we have a great deal of rules and order. We have systemized theology so that we have a complete (well complete as humans get get) picture–we…

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Think One Person Can Change the World?????

We do too

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That’s where they got me. I mean I was pretty sure that Oberlin was the undergraduate program for me. I had talked to the dweeby guy, stood up to my counselor “You sure you want to move that far away” (um…DUH I hate high school), and all, but when I got the packet with Oberlin’s old motto, it got me.

I also probably should have realized that I was going to be a minister then, because I was kind of like one person has changed the world (ie Jesus) and he has totally empowered me to do the sameImage

…ah the confidence of youth….

But if you know me, I am the eternal optimist, so I hopefully haven’t become too cynical since then, even though the world keeps on giving me worst and worst news….bad economy, little jobs, sucky compensation for work done, the evaporation of pension funds, the need to put off life (marriage, house, children etc) due to the aforementioned problems, wars, fiscal cliffs, national debts and taxes.

However I believe there has been a cultural shift in the last election–it hasn’t really to do with the president but more the fact that racism and bigotry has been limited due to the backlash for some representatives comments Re; gays, women, abortion, etc.

Part of that change was examined in my last post Open Source Culture (Go Millenials!)

Thanks to a recent conversation with my philosophical compadre Charlie, I have crystalized some of what I have been writing towards in the last couple of posts. (PS he totally pointed out that at least in a democracy we all have a vote that is value–talk about power)Image

Churches need to do the following to Change the World

Build a Community that

1. Forgives Debts: That’s right, be proactive, do a kickstart, open donations, find some way to address indidividual’s debts in your community–I suggest starting with student debt since that is the least questionable kind of debt. What if we as the church worked to communally Forgive as many debts as possible?

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2. Be multigenerational: Church is one of the few places where different generations interact who are not related. Embrace this. Keep young people in church, give them a special space to be look at one example. If we make those connections that otherwise can’t be made, then we are providing a service. (and of course this means making worship accessible to those spiritual but not religious people).

3. Finally Educate, educate, educate. Why are people in debt? In pursuit of education. What if church’s provided free community education: relieving debt and bringing generations together in one fell swoop (HA, wouldn’t that be wonderful?) I would love to spearhead a million different educational opportunities for my community, because that is a concrete way of helping people.

THink one church can change the world????

I’m not crazy…

Ok, I guess that is debatable…I mean who else thinks that establishing a church through Sci Fi/Fantasy is their calling?

But often I think that this is the message I want to get out…I’m Christian, not Crazy.

Just because I believe in God

Just because I try (and fail and then try again) to put God’s love and hospitality into practice does not make me an extremist, bigot, loony or uneducated person. In fact it doesn’t make me liberal/conservative, rich/poor, smart/dumb, etc. That’s the point. ImageChristianity is supposed to be noncontextual (for an ironic moment watch a pastor talk about how bigotry succeeds at being ultimately noncontexual as well http://gawker.com/5953357/missouri-pastors-fiery-speech-against-equal-rights-for-homosexuals-has-stunning-twist-ending)

Christianity should be without context. And when I say I’m Christian, I would love for that to mean that I think outside the box, not that I am stereotypical (cause I’m not)

When I say I’m Christian, that means that the most important thing to me is God’s graciousness, and when I look at the world, it is hard for me to think that we were a random happenstance of nature. And the fact that I was created and I, in turn, try to create things, is an important part to figuring out my life…

It does not mean I’m going to push my beliefs on you, that I hate everyone else out there or I’m going to be judgmental–it simply means that to me, God enriches my life….

That is all….