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Category Archives: change

Re-Activating my blog soon

My stint at the church in Washington State is coming to an end soon. That will give me time to post here more frequently again. If God does not provide another gig in a church for me right away, I will begin doing the “Visiting a church” reports again.I need to say that I am in a deep struggle within myself about what ministry direction to pursue. I am very disillusioned with church-as-we-know it, and, when one of my children challenged me that he had never heard me so cynical or negative about church before, I found myself admitting to him that I had strong doubts that Churchianity was the best way to do Christianity.Once I have things wrapped up in Washington, I hope to think some of that through here.

Meanwhile, I’ve posted a writeup I was invited to do about the Institute for Christian Studies “Worldview Conference.” 

Below is a summary of the gist of it. For the full article, follow this link: ICS The Wall

Today’s generation-gap in the church seems to be between an authentic relationship seeking generation, and one that is used to — if not comfortable with – less-relational institutional church. That was the under-arching theme of the Institute for Christian Studies Worldview conference in Langley February 2 (see ICS Worldview Conf.  for other dates and locations). Keynote Bob Sweetman, Historian of Philosophy at the Institute helped attendees understand how we’ve come to where we are today beginning with the Middle ages, and how the cultural difference is expressed in a song by the ageing contemporary Rock group Pink Floyd in “The Wall” (you can read the full lyrics of the album at Pink Floyd Lyrics)

The issues were dealt with by a mix of lecture, panelists expressing their thoughts and audience dialogue, making for a stimulating day. Sweetman showed how an institutional ideological mindset became normative, and hinted at how the church-as-we-know-it today has been shaped by that history. We were also shown by personal sharing and by the testimony of middle aged parents about their children’s perspective of that church-as-we-know-it, that youth and the unchurched are drawn to participation in church life most effectively by authentic relationship, and not by it having it’s ducks in a line. The things those who grew up in the 50’s learned to value: learning doctrine or getting scriptural truth right and vigorously defending it; having answers for everything; needing to earn membership; working hard; and so on, are – as expressed in the Pink Floyd song– bricks in a wall of less authentically relational existence. The questions asked in this worldview conference are extremely pertinent to the church’s future, and deserve humble-bold consideration and even a willingness to at the least arrange the bricks more loosely, and maybe remove bricks that prove indeed to be blocking relationship with Father, Son and Spirit.

Again, for the full article, follow this link: ICS The Wall

 

Small church difficulties

Today I came across a news item about a congregation I served in Ontario from 1995 to 2003. They have closed down in two ‘spasms.’ It is quite an odd thing to read of such a demise. There is a sense of nearness and grief mixed with a sense of distance and relief. Odd.

Here’s the story: Forest CRC closed

I fully agree it is time for a new paradigm for small churches in our denomination. Guess what? I even have some ideas! Some other day…

A little later that same day an internet acquaintance and colleague posted some very insightful thoughts about the struggles of small church on a discussion list. It is worth a careful read. Here is the link:  Paul VanderKlay on small CR church problems. Here is a better link to where he later posted it on his own blog: Small church problems

 
 

Rethinking church

I’m bumbling around trying to find inspiration for my Reformation Sermon, and after picking my passages and key word (Metamorphasis in Rom 12:1-2 and 2 Cor 3:16) I took a break to read email. One was from Leadership magazine, and contained a link to a blog item that talked about Willow Creek rethinking how they do church because of shocking results from a survey they did.

Take a look for yourself:

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2007/10/willow_creek_re.html

I’ll likely post more thoughts on this later.