Saturday, September 25, 2010

Weekend Reading, 25 September

I really enjoyed the discussion this week on Mere Churchianity at Bend the Page, Faith, Fiction and Friends, and In Silence, Humming Softly. So much so, I'm dedicating this weekend's reading to that theme. Some are new posts, some are old, but all speak to the same problem: something is wrong with the church.

As much as I harp on "authentic community" and question when is it ok to leave church, the reality is people are leaving the church and for many reasons. One good example, testimony if you will, comes from Stephen Lamb writing about why he left church over at Jesus Needs New PR. Click here for parts 1, 2, and 2.5 (looking forward to 3!). This reminded me of this old post from Marshall Jones Jr. And Christian Ray Flores shares his own experience in two parts.

Of course there are lots of reasons for this, and looking over past blogs leaves us plenty to ponder.

First problem is we often leave Jesus out of our Christianity.
  • This is the theme of Michael Spencer's book, but is also the point of Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet's Jesus Manifesto. A great review can be found over the the internetMonk and an old guest post from Viola at Jesus Needs New PR.
  • Brett McCracken notices we are also tempted to leave Jesus out of our serving, especially now that the Social Gospel is en vogue.
  • Of course, the more we take out of the Gospel, the less we're left with. And Jason Stasyszen writes the Gospel is soon reduced to a single note in a symphony.
Of course, maybe the problem is us?
  • Our nature just likes to complain. But Patrick Mead writes that you only have a right to complain if you're actually doing something about it.
  • And Wade Hodges asks us to stop using the excuse that we're not being fed and figure out how to feed ourselves.
  • We're also very judgemental and competitive. Jezemama laments the competitiveness that "feels just like church".
  • Other times we're just stupid and gullible. Bradley Moore reflects on Christian spam.
We also are tempted to be "relevant" and "seeker sensitive". That creates it's own set of hazards.
  • Matt Appling and Alise write letters to the Church in America a la the letters to the Seven Churches in Asia. That's a start.
  • Of course, there are still reasons to go to church as Katdish and Esther Meek point out. Maybe we should focus on the positives instead of all the negatives?
But we do need to own up to where we fall short. Maybe we should take a cue from Domino's Pizza, confess our shortcomings and commit to change? An interesting thought from Tyler Mahoney writing at the Huffington Post.

Food for thought. With a new sauce. Enjoy.


herbhalstead said...

great stuff in there, brother - love the format.

jasonS said...

Wow, so many great posts and resources. I'm honored to be included among them! Thanks so much.

katdish said...

Thank you for the link. Love the way you compiled all these great links.

Fatha Frank said...

Thanks all you guys for stopping by and commenting! I wasn't sure how this would fly dusting some of your old posts off. Glad you all like. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Jerry said...

Yes, thanks for the one-stop shopping. I'll be sit down, not just go through the drive through.

Maureen said...

I came over from Glynn's post today.

I like how you've presented this as a kind of cycle: problem, awareness, consequences, solutions - all, as you say, food for thought.

Excellent compilation!