Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My friend Michael from Lethbridge, blogs about a recent church experience:
At a church this morning, the speaker suggested a list of many things which are "not enough".
Seemed a bit odd in the moment, but then he led into his list of four statements which "are enough".
1. Believe in Jesus.
2. Accept Jesus as your personal saviour and Lord.
[What does that mean anyway?]
3. Connect with a community of people who have already adhered to the above two items.
4. Obey the Church/their church/the Bible.
[This was stated rather ambiguously.]

Shockingly, there are three too many statements in this list.
Last time I checked, the only requirement for salvation, for "making it right with God", only consisted of one thing: believe in Jesus (John 3:16, and also further on in v.36).Yes, this is narrow: it is only considering the New Testamental Christian view of soteriology. But I don't have time for any other considerations at this time, and I think they are stupid anyway.

The word "believe" or "believing" literally means "to have faith in". Believe in sense it is used in much of the western world isn't what Jesus was talking about. But believe in the sense of "having faith in", believe in the sense of "being a disciple / follower / learner of Jesus" is something different.

Michael then goes on to describe his experience at a Poker Game that night.
Playing poker is its own type of church. Even if I had lost, I accomplished more playing poker tonight than I did going to church this morning.

* I connected with a community, and met knew people with whom I was able to develop relationships with, and will continue to do so at future poker nights.
* I rode the emotional highs and lows and was able to be moved in spirit at the dynamic plight I was currently experiencing through external stimuli (akin to "worship music").
* I obeyed the rules.
* I still believe in Jesus.
Oh yeah, and I won too. When was the last time you went to church and put money in the offering plate and they had a 50/50 draw, or simply just gave all the money back to someone in the congregation for no reason at all, aside from being charitable?

This morning, I felt nothing. It was just another service. I wanted to leave immediately afterwards, I didn't want to stick around to talk to anyone or be fake.

This evening, I felt everything. It was essentially unique: my first poker night. I wasn't watching the clock at all, wondering when it was going to be over. At the end, it was affirmed and confirmed that poker night does happen weekly and that I am more than welcome, and that Dave is obliged to bring me back, because I won their money.

I see relevance in poker night. I see relevance in wine & cheese & Jesus night.

I don't see relevance in (a/any) church service.
Michael has hit on the value of small groups.
Church apart from relationships - with God; with others in the family of God - is not church, certainly not in the New Testament definition of church. It's sad what Michael has described. Even sadder is what Michael has described is so widespread, but most of the church is in denial. We create a false picture of what church is or should be that is totally seperate / different / divorced from what God has said and longs for his sons and daughters.

I'll leave that for another time - I feel a sermon coming on.
link: this is my new church

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