Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Pagan Christianity’

Just as the early Jews got hung up in the first covenant, today’s believers have created a version of the second covenant that resembles the first: earthly sanctuaries, regulations and time-honored traditions.

Hebrews 8:13 – 9:1
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.

Of course, it’s even more complex in our religious world of today. There is not just one version of the tabernacle, but many, depending on the sect or denomination. The worship regulations are more rigid if one is affiliated with a high church but even the seemingly “free” new churches have developed mores and practices that eventually become similarly rigid by repetition.

Until I read Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna a few years ago, I considered contemporary churches as spontaneous and unrestricted by “ritual.” But truly, haven’t these services become equally predictable and patterned in structure? Isn’t there still a type of “call to worship,” music, prayer, announcements, and sermon structure every week?

Is that necessarily bad? Of course not. But I do wonder if we’re missing something by our focus on buildings and “ministries” and committees of various authority.

Several months ago, my family made a huge leap and ventured away from our church of twenty years just to see “what else is out there.” We visited several other churches, some larger and some smaller. We would attend for several services in a row if we felt attracted to the service. It usually takes longer than a visit or two to get a sense of a place or the priorities. In one case, we were intrigued by a very high-tech, seemingly culture-relevant church. Only to be turned off a few Sundays later when the price tag for this type of savvy “presentation” was revealed as their next “strategic” goal was announced: $14 million!

I don’t have any answers, just a lot of questions. What is important to the Church: the body of Christ? Who really requires weekly “discipleship” with state of the art video and music? Are we competing with the world? Or can we simply stand in within our culture like Jesus among the tax collectors and prostitutes and be agents for change by our steadfast faith and Holy Spirit presence? Does a Christ follower of 10 or 15 or 30 years need to hear sermons every Sunday or should he/she be the one equipping the poor and lost. . . out there?

Shouldn’t prayer and worship be a constant companion? Shouldn’t every gathering of people be a celebration of God with us, Emmanuel?

I have just started reading Brian McLaren’s new book, Naked Spirituality, and I cannot recommend it enough. He uses a single word in each chapter as an exploration into the faith journey. The first word is “here.” And I re-discovered that “here” is about “here I am.” I can choose to be aware of myself in God right now, right where I am: sitting at a computer or taking a shower or getting ready for work. Call to worship isn’t me asking God to show up, it’s me telling God I am present and ready to listen and learn and experience God in the moment.

There are no regulations for “here.”

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: