Where is the Church? My 1st Rant

I have been talking to my mom about the emerging church or the Emergent Conversation that is taking place in the Christian church around the world.  Google those phrases and check these out:

I don’t fully understand it, so I am not too sure how I can explain it.  I have read criticisms and I have read A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren who is really at the forefront of this conversation (they do not like to be called a movement).  I also saw McLaren speak at a conference.  I do know this: The Christian church has dropped the ball.  Now I want to say that I am not ranting and raving against my mom.  I’m just ranting to the air.  I guess it is to the church, but to no one in particular.

The church has dropped the ball…and who is picking it up?  The government with their welfare programs that keep the poor just poor enough to not want to do anything about not being poor!  Who is picking it up?  Planned Parenthood slaughterhouses that get rich by pretending to love their victims, while still manageing to offer some sort of false hope.  Where is the church?  Encouraging the discrimination of gays and promoting war (KEEP READING…).  Why isn’t the church helping low-income families?  Why isn’t the church helping single-parent families?  Why isn’t the church helping the sick and poor?  Why isn’t the church promoting peace?  Why isn’t the church doing its job?  I don’t know, but I understand that the world has turned from the church that stopped offering hope and to the world that has nothing to offer.

So let me clarify a couple of my above statements.  I think homosexuality is a sin.  Thankfully it is the church’s job to help introduce the sinner to Christ-who forgives sins and transforms lives.  I think the winds of change in Iraq were the right thing to force.  But I am not blood-thirsty.  As I write this there has been a thwarted terrorist attack in Europe, Hezbollah is attacking Israel and Israel is defending themselves and I have not forgotten 9/11.  Tyranny and terrorism should be fought against.  HOWEVER, war should not be romanticized.  War is not good!  It is necessary at times.  Those times should be decisive and short.

I think part of the problem is that the church should be separate from a capitalistic culture.  Don’t get me wrong, capitalism has its place: in the economy!  Heck, I eBay, that is capitalism at its purest.  But the church should be a socialistic community of believers (within the church and within society).  The church should be a place where the members want to make more so they can give more away to those in need!  I remember thinking in college that the early church practiced socialism and that socialism could be a good American economy.  I was very wrong.  Bresee had it right or maybe it was Wesley, “Make all you can, save all you can and give all you can!”

It’s the church, THE CHURCH that should take care of people.  The church should love people.  The church should give away time and money and love.  The church needs do invest in people and not expect a financial return.

Where is the church when it comes to illegal immigration?  Should the church be on border patrol with guns?  Should the church be harboring fugitives and helping people break the law?  Is their another way?  Why isn’t the church offering to help immigrants come to The Land of Opportunity LEGALLY?  Because it involves, spending money and giving up time!  That kind of compassion used to be called sacrifice.  Christians are not so good at that anymore; they leave that up to Christ, they nail Christ back on the cross and tell Him to stay there.

I am not a supporter of separation of church and state, I think it is unconstitutional.  But it is happening everyday.  So Christians can choose to fight it or they choose to accept it.  I guess I do both.  I vote with my heart, but I also do not believe in legislating morality.  We no longer live in a Christian nation (if we ever really did), so once again Christians find themselves as the outsiders or the foreigners within their culture.  I think it is important to make that distinction.  The world does not understand Christianity!  It isn’t their job to pass Christian legislation or to believe the way we do!  The world does not follow Christ.  It is the job of the sinner to sin!  That is what they know!  That is what they understand.  But yet we Christians still operate like we are still in power.  But we aren’t.  And that’s OK; it is the way it has always been!  That is when Christianity does its best-when it is under fire!  It was Tertullian who said, “In the blood of the martyrs lies the seed of the Church!  ” I’m not saying that we should sit back and watch while Christianity gets outlawed, but I don’t think that it is always the church’s job to legislate morality.

I think homosexual marriage can put an end to the sacred institution of marriage and I also think that banning homosexual marriages alienates homosexuals from the church.  On one hand you have the world doing what the world does, sin!  On the other hand you have the church hurting a group of people.  It is a way for the church to discriminate against a community of lost people.  Christians don’t fight to outlaw couples who live together or protest against couples who get divorced for non-biblical reasons.  We don’t rally to outlaw affairs.  I mean what is the church doing about Rev.  Phelps and his band of haters; they protest at funerals!  AT FUNERALS!  I don’t know what the solution is, but what if the church fought with the homosexual for their freedom (to sin)?  Don’t you think that at some point they are going to take notice and build healthy relationships with folks that represent Christ?  And maybe learn what it means to live a life without sin?  Wow, how cool would that be?  I know, many of my friends don’t agree with me on this.  I am also not out there holding hands with the homosexuals as they march down the street.  But I struggle with voting to ban gay marriages and civil unions.

Take a slightly less controversial issue: Children with AIDS.  What if the church worked with AIDS stricken children the way Mother Teresa worked with those stricken with leprosy?  And why are Christians more apt to help children and kick sick adults to the curb?  Where is the church?  Campaigning for Republicans?  Trying to rebuild the Religious Right?  Trying to defend the actions of George Bush?  I’M GUILTY, right here, that’s been me.

I think I am winding down a bit…

Oh yeah, the Emerging Church… Well, it is all about what it means to be a Christian in a post-modern world.  How do you build the Kingdom of Christ when those that need to be transformed are no longer convinced by apologetics?  Post-modern people no longer respond to arguments.  Systematic theology tries to convince folks that Christianity is truth, that kind of method is a thing of the past.  People don’t want to be convinced, they want to see Christians living out an authentic life that actually means something to them.  They want to see it, they want to experience it.  They don’t want to hear sermons on prayer; they want to learn how to pray.  They don’t want to hear about the attributes of God, they want to experience the love of God.  It is very experiential which is very close to existentialism, but that is exactly where the unchurched, non-Christians are and they can’t be convinced or talked into something.  They want to see it.  They want Christians to live what they believe so that it makes a difference in their lives.

How do you present Christianity in a media-driven culture?  You present Christianity with media.  You present the e-Gospel.  It is the same ageless message, but presented in a modern way.  And not watered down, but in terminology that represents modern language.  Not catering to people that are seekers, but having a message that is presented in a way that the average person can understand.  Post-modern people communicate on a 6th-grade level, but are educated on a master’s level!  Use smaller words to describe the same message of hope.

How do you build a community of faith in a culture that longs to have community again?  Well, you participate in the community!

OK, I am almost done.

Finally, a word about justice.  Brian McLaren tells a great story that illustrates the difference between justice and mercy.  Say you are standing before Niagara Falls, just looking out into the water in awe.  Suddenly you see a person floating in the river, they are drowning, fighting for their life to get to shore before they go over the edge!  You panic, regain your composure, get some folks together and pull the guy out of the water to safety!  That is an act of mercy.  Say you see another person, you pull them out, and then another, and they seem to keep coming!  Again, pulling these drowning folks out of the water are acts of mercy.  But where is the justice?  Justice is when you walk up river and stop the guy that is pushing people into the freaking water!  STOP THAT GUY!

The church needs to practice justice & mercy.  But the church also needs to first stop pushing people in the water, and then they need to stand up against others that are doing the same.

OK, I feel better.

-Durk-

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7 responses to “Where is the Church? My 1st Rant

  1. Hello Durk,

    Here are a couple of blogs of mine. I hope they will help you.

    http://graceforfreedom.blogspot.com/

    http://realchristianswherearethey.blogspot.com/

    y2t

  2. Just a few things I would like to dialouge about from your post about where is the church?

    One thing I do disagree with is that I am a supporter of seperation between the church and the state, and for two reasons. One, if the church was in line with the state, then the church would have a lot of power, and the church has never been good with power. The church + power has led to many things I consider to be evils, like the crusades, the inquistions, and in some ways also the slaughter of the native americans. The gospel should not be spread by means of power, or at least that isn’t how Jesus did it, I don’t think. The second reason is if the church didn’t get much power through the togetherness of the church and the state, then the state would have power over us. The state would try to tell us what to do, and because so many american Christians are to weak to stand up to such pressure, the church would probably comply to the state’s demands. The church is a body, and the head of that body is not the state, it is Christ.

    Another point I would like to touch on is the threat that homosexaul marriage supposedly poses to the instituation of marriage. I used to think that homosexual marriage posed such a threat, but then I though, who instituted marraige in the first place. God did, and God’s declaration is much more important and much more powerful than the government. So if the state is set on homosexual marriage, though it is not God’s ideal, let them make homosexual marriage legal. God doesn’t force them to obey His precepts, why whould why. In my perspective, if the state legalizes homosexual marriage, if will do absolutely nothing to the marriage God created. I do not live with my wife and go to bed with her because the state says I can, I do it because it is a blessing that God has bestowed upopn me, and it is GOOD!!!
    Also, though this is off the topic a little bit, what do you think about the 9-11 attacks. Do you think the government had any foreknoledge about them?

    Lastly, on many things, in mind any way, Derin you hit the nail on the head. Our church is flirting much to much with capitalism. Capitalism, though it may work good for the economy, when it is translated into the social world, turns into social darwinism, or survival of the fittest. Capitalism is essentially a competition, and many who are on the bottom of the ladder are not there because they are not trying hard enouch, they are there simply because they cannot compete as well. While capitalism is not all bad, there are certainly a lot of flaws in it that I think too many people are trying to ignore.

    In so many ways the church has dropped the ball, but you and I and other Christ followers who care about this world are part of that church too, and it is we who must pick up the ball again.

  3. I just have a few things I want to comment about from your blog about where is the church.

    First of all, I am a supporter of seperation of church and state, and for 2 reasons. The first reason is that if the church and the state were together, then the church would have power, and the church has never done well with power. The church+power has led to thins that I consider to be black marks on the church, like the crusades, the inquistion, and in some ways, the slaughter of the native americans. Those are extreme cases, but there are so many little cases as well. The gosple should not be spread through power or force, or at least that’s not how Jesus spread his message. The second reason is because if the church and the state were together, then the state could potentially have power over us as the church, and ungodly men in the government would be calling the shots. The church is a body, and the head of that body is not the state, it is Christ.

    Also, concerning homosexual marriage, many Christians, inluding me, have thought that homosexual marriage is a threat to holy marriage between a man and a woman. But, who created marriage? God created it, and therefore no one can destroy it. The united states can legalize homosexual marriage all it wants to, but it still won’t destroy marriage between a man and a woman. I do not live with my wife, share my life with her, and go to bed with her because the state says it’s okay, I do it because God has ordained it, and it is GOOD!!!

    Where is the church? Well I think part of the churches problem is in the way it thinks of itself. Too many Christians think that the church is the end, when it is actually the means. It is the means by which God is seeking to reach all the lost in the world, but those who see the church as an end only want to stay inside the four walls of the church.

    Derin, I think you are right on about the church being too close to capitalism. Capitalism is fine in the economic world, but not in the social world. Capitalism is essentially a competition, or socail darvinism, where the best competitors win. Even Adam Smith, the famous economist, said that capitalism will flourish when everyone is looking our for their own self interest. They may be a good way to make money, but it should not be the nature of the church.

  4. Couple things:

    Separation of church & state: I don’t have the scriptures in front of me, but some believe that it is foretold that WHEN the church and state come together in our government it will be the end times.

    Gay marriage: GOD instituted marriage between a man and a woman. No one else. I am NOT against those who lead a homosexual lifestyle. (Notice I say lifestyle. You can be gay and NOT participate in the actions.) I love and pray for those people as I love and pray for other sinners. I have friends who are gay and while they know I am against practicing homosexuality, I still continue to love them as GOD loves them. Anyway–how many of us sinned by having sex before marriage or cheated on our spouses? Is that better than homosexuality??? No. SIN IS SIN.

    Church: yes the church has dropped the ball YET AGAIN. It has a history of doing it and will continue to do it–because the churches are run by people (sometimes corrupt people). I find myself at an impass many times because I don’t agree with any one church–I really feel like none of them embrace everything the bible teaches (i.e. the proper Sabbath). BUT we as individuals have to be the ones to start the ball rolling. Let’s not rant and complain because headquarters isn’t doing anything–be an example by DOING and GIVING!

  5. I happen to know Derin Beechner and he is honestly a good and decent person. He is, however, completely brainwashed by Christianity and heeds the dogma of a 4,000 year-old belief system that has only marginal application in the 21st century. I pity poor Derin in his inabilty to grasp the innate nature of humanity in light of its biology and not in that of an invented credo. I would not call him a complete moron; he has some acumen in that he works, he drives and he dresses himself, albeit not tastefully. He eats, lives and breathes Christianity, and whether it is “new” or “old”, whether his God is a kind and generous father or a vindictive, angry monster, matters not. Derin is a silly functionary of the fear of divine retribution. The fact that he struggles with the picking and choosing of what is right and what is wrong with the church is amusing, akin to agonizing over the assets of the Easter Bunny in relationship to the Tooth Fairy.

    Darin,get a hobby. And read a book once in a while that doesn’t involve holy ghosts or time travelers or planetary colonization. Get to know some PEOPLE. Real people with real lives and real ideas and real histories. You live in fantasy of black and white morality, of good and bad, where good always triumphs. The trouble is, you aren’t worldy enough to see through the Mother Goose version of the human condition. It’s a fascinating saga. I highly recommend reality.

    Sincerely,

    Your Pal

  6. That above comment was awesome! Yeah, we Christians do live in a fairy tale world, if you define a fairy tale as a reality that runs counter to the way most people see reality. But the “fairy tale” of Jesus should motive us to live differently and work to make the “fairy tale” a reality in the world, demonstrating the truth of what we live and believe. Of course, the word “belief” has been reduce to intellectual assent, but the real meaning of the word is more along the lines of a trust that you base your whole life upon.
    Also, Derin, I like the way you think. You pretend to think I’m full of crap, but we’re thinking the same way. I guess that doesn’t really preclude the possibility of me being full of crap though, does it?
    People are going to think I’m taking my sermon material from your blog.

  7. The other anonymous was written in humor but there is some truth to what he wrote. The church is corrupting the minds of many adults. When the church is low on funding, what happens? A series of sermons on how great it feels to tithe. A church is a business. How much money was brought in last year from churches? How many of those churches are housing the needy with those million dollar buildings? While the preacher is sharing stories about their vacations and expensive fun, you are asking “should I pay my electric bill or tithe some more?”. The answer from the church is to tithe first and feed your kids 2nd. It seems that it is time for some independent thinking. You are not giving your money to God. God has no use for your money. You are stressing each month to fund vacations that most of the congregation can’t afford.

    Derin says: I can respect your response. But I actually belong to a church that puts their money where their mouth is. We don’t have a million-dollar building, in fact we don’t have a building at all! We are a mobile church-we meet in a school. We also reach out and help our community-we support a homeless shelter among other ministries (water.org, one.org). I understand that God has no need for my money. But his people do. They are starving. They are homeless. They are naked. They are sick. They are hurting,

    The answer isn’t to NOT give back to God a tithe of what has been given to me. But, that is what I am doing right now. And I am not starving, or homeless, or car-less, or childless, or shoe-less, or sick, or naked, or cold, or hot, or hungry or thirsty or in pain, or uncomfortable (at least until I started to type). I guess you could say that I might be careless with my money. I am working on that. The church should not be demanding money or begging for money or guilting people into giving, let’s be honest, too many churches talk about money with the wrong motivations and intentions. Fortunately (or unfortunately), my church and my pastor do not fit into that category.

    Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. Come back anytime.

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