Monday, October 11, 2010

Where has your journey taken you?

In Chapter 9 of Mere Churchianity, Michael Spencer describes the point where he became disillusioned with the church. He then went out to search for the perfect church and lists the places where he looked. These stops are likely familiar to you, they are to me:
  • Church Renewal where you try to create perfection from within via methods.
  • Church Revival where you try to create perfection through worship and prayer (worship and prayer are not  bad ideas, but note who's trying to create perfection here).
  • Small Groups where you hope for perfection amongst a subset of relationships.
  • Charismatic Movement where you effectively do nothing and expect the Holy Spirit to do it all (is that too harsh?).
  • The true church where you are convinced yours is right (in doctrine, method, or both) and everyone else is either wrong or should be just like you.
  • The Catholic and Orthodox churches where tradition reigns.
  • The emerging church where just about everything is thrown against the wall to see what sticks.
  • The house church where the institutional church is abandoned and like-minded Christians meet together in homes hoping to recreate the First Century Church.
  • The media church (now this would be called the multi-site online church) where there is a virtual fellowship via the Internet and the church has multiple sites all streaming the Word of God from some centralized locale.

My journey took me from the Catholic church to a combination of the true church, small groups, and the multi-site church. I'm happy with the decision and wouldn't change it despite some pretty messed up things along the way. Since becoming active online, I've hung out with traditional Protestants who were migrating over to Orthodoxy, traditional restorationists who were exploring small groups, house churches, and renewal and now an eclectic mix of emergents, traditionalists, Catholics and Charismatics.

So my question this week is: where has your journey taken you in search of Jesus Shaped Spirituality?

Glenn Young shares his journey over at Faith, Fiction, Friends as he, Nancy Rosback and myself discuss Michael Spencer's book. Please come back this evening for more thoughts from me on Chapter 9: What Jesus is Doing in the World.


Jonathan Keck said...

For me, I came from a small church of no growth, though I thought that was normal since it was all I knew, to now a small but growing Church with an incredible vision to be missional and relevant.

But as I read your list of churches, all with their own unique benefit which create unique opportunities for those within, I can't help but wonder if they can somehow be merged. That somehow they can be united in such a that benefits of all can be present within one local church. Just a thought. Perhaps a lofty dream, but one worth chasing.

Michael said... journey started out as coming from the Free Will Baptist Movement from about 5 yrs old until 10. Then my family left the church in general and started going to baseball games.

In my early 20's we returned to the Church of the Nazarene. (A Protestant Wesleyan Holiness Movement)

I've been there since and will become an ordained minister in about 2 years. The thing about the Nazarene Church is that we don't claim to be the "True Church." That thinking drives me crazy.

Fatha Frank said...

@Jonathan, merging the best of each... Sounds like a good idea! Actually, check back later, I'm have more to say about that.

@Michael, congrats on your upcoming ordination. But I would've stuck with baseball ;). As for the 'true church' you guys must be psychic! Come back later... :)

JeffHolton said...

I'm trying to figure out how to give this a serious answer, but I don't know how such a complicated concept can be expressed in declarative language. Life is in flux!

I grew up in a middle-to-right-leaning PCUSA church. I went through an extremely conservative evangelical college parachurch experience, and then ultimately found myself settling into an Orthodox parish because I found it an excellent refuge from the completely ludicrous advent of American fundamentalism-patriotism.

Lately, I've described myself as trying to look like an emergent to the ultra-traditionalists to shake them and their unexamined presuppositions up a little, but to appear as a traditionalist to the emergents to put them back in their place.

So far, so good.

Michael Perkins said...

Blew out my elbow taking pre-game infield. Then I got married. :)

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure where the journey has taken me. it started out about what i was looking for, and over time, has been changed into something else.

i see how humans divide into different churches. but, that does not necessarily make any difference to God. God sees things differently than we do. He sees souls and hearts. There is one church according to God, and it is already connected by the Spirit. It is already one body, even though we do not see who and how, because it is not our human way. yet, it is still exists.

we can look all we like, but, if we believe Jesus to be who He said He is, then each one of us has this connection to our own spirit. our spirit knows and is connected to God's spirit. I think we call this, touching our heart, or speaking to our heart. Something is going on in what we call the heart.