It’s safe to say that more than half the people on this planet feel that church sucks. They see it as an institution – one that is intolerant, irrelevant, hypocritical and completely out of touch with culture.
It’s also safe to say that the other half of this planet have no official opinion of church because they’ve never formulated an opinion. They’ve grown up their entire lives unchurched in cultures that have no experience with the institution let alone with the person of Jesus.
So why do we plant churches when people just think they suck or don’t care for them? Why do we missionaries, church planters, pastors and Jesus followers devote our entire lives to the pursuit of building the church?
The answer depends on your definition of church. If your mind conjures up images of a physical building with a steeple and cross, or a trendy old movie theatre with a post modern rock band – than you are terribly misguided. The church is about people. It’s about the transformation of entire families, cultures and ethnic groups.
Church is an expression of the people of God living out the Kingdom of God here on earth. Despite all its flaws the universal church/people of God is the ultimate pursuit of a missionary God who is seeking worship from every tribe, tongue and nation.
I grew up much like the second group of people on this planet, unchurched. My family went to the Buddhist temples, attended the festivals, gave alms, participated in Animistic ceremonies and forced me to become a novice monk (three times). My experience with church was limited to the religious buildings we drove by and the white preachers on T.V. I would have never stepped inside a church building unless it was to steal something. What brought me to faith was Jesus. I was attracted to the transformation he had to offer. I knew I needed to change because thuggin it wasn’t cuttin it.
So if your plan is to build a literal church (singular) please stop. Jesus said that He will build His Church. Our job is to build people. If we build into people the DNA of obedience then the Kingdom churches will sprout naturally as an expression of who they genuinely are – followers of Jesus…Kingdom people.
Please keep writing! We love your thoughts!
Thanks Kongs! Where’s your blog so I can sing along?
I completely agree. Good post.
“living out the kingdom of God here on earth” is the only good reason why I haven’t left the church. After all the culture wars and obsession with the end times and the after life, I’ve felt burned out on the church. But I love the way you boil it down: god’s people living out his kingdom here on earth. Can’t go wrong with that.
I’m sure glad you haven’t given up on the church. Truth is I never grew up in the church so I never had to “leave” it. Most of my time is spent with the unchurched. I’m just trying to live out the Kingdom in places where it’s needed most.
I do understand feeling tired of it though. All we can do is live righteously as an example to the church and make new disciples with a new paradigm of church, or rather, Kingdom. Obedience.
Peace from the Southeast!
Reblogged this on spiritualsavant and commented:
Well done! Love the phrase, “thuggin’ it wasn’t cuttin’ it.”
Thanks for the encouragement and reblog – much appreciated!
‘Despite all its flaws the universal church/people of God is the ultimate pursuit of a missionary God who is seeking worship from every tribe, tongue and nation.’
The Bible is basically concerned with one tribe and one nation. Outside of their limited geography the writers and fabricators of the bible were pretty clueless.
‘Our job is to build people. If we build into people the DNA of obedience then the Kingdom churches will sprout naturally’
Submission or get sent to the mythical scary place that the oh so loving god lets people go to if they don’t buy into 1st century platitudes and rhetoric in churches every week.
“The Bible is basically concerned with one tribe and one nation. Outside of their limited geography the writers and fabricators of the bible were pretty clueless. “
You’re right Hobbit, Israel is the backdrop of the Bible. Every civilization on this planet has had some form of ethnocentrism – especially Israel since they were “God’s chosen nation” they had every right to feel that they were bad ass. 1st century Jews were some of the most racist people on the planet, but this doesn’t mean that God was racist.
God specifically chose this nation to reveal His story to the world. He chose Israel as a conduit to pour out His blessing to all the nations (ethnic groups). So ultimately the Bible is about God being concerned with the whole world.
“Submission or get sent to the mythical scary place that the oh so loving god lets people go to if they don’t buy into 1st century platitudes and rhetoric in churches every week.”
Recently I spanked my 5 year old out of anger for getting out of bed in the middle of the night. I know, I suck. Well last night she got up again and again I spanked her. She’ll probably do it again tonight. Point is, motivation by fear never produces true obedience – so I really need to change.
We obey Jesus because of a profound love for Him, not because we are scared of that fiery place.
Also, Sunday church rhetoric is unknown to me since I didn’t grow up in church. But I do know this Jewish guy from the 1st century who offered me a transformed life. His life, death and “rhetoric” has had the greatest single impact in the history of human civilization as we know it– you might want to talk to Him about that mythical place.
‘God specifically chose this nation to reveal His story to the world. He chose Israel as a conduit to pour out His blessing to all the nations (ethnic groups)’.
Ok I admit, that’s not a bad answer, although from a religious perspective. I guess the fact God chose Israel or that area of the world ties in with religion basically being a cultural creation. Chinese gods looked well.. Chinese, Thracian gods had fiery red hair and were well built just like people of Thrace, Viking gods were tall and fair, Amazon gods looked liked people from the region and so on, you get the idea. If God the creator of the world started with Israel then it was indeed a shaky start and big civilizations had already come and gone by that time, Babylonians and Assyrians, Macadonians etc. To say god created the planet his grand scheme of conversion didn’t start very well did it, a very shaky and insular start? The Middle East, a desert and arid land, life was short and often brutal, I ask you, who wouldn’t want to believe in something better, such as an afterlife?
When Ben Gurion was Prime Minister of Israel he gave the archaeologist Yigal Yadin free reign to go did everywhere up and get the proverbial keys to the Kingdom. Yadin found nothing of worth really, countless months in the Sinai desert with the best equipment of the time yielded nothing. No evidence of tens of thousands of people and their belongings in the desert following Moses, nothing.
The more you read about Jesus in a factual sense you note less and less evidence, in his 33 years there’s great gaps, errors, biblical scholars argue continually over details and everybody external to the Bible say very little or nothing. Great historians of the time, Pliny, Tacitus and even the much referenced Josephus by Christians pay him little attention, and what ever is said is said much later when Romans had embraced Christianity, so 300AD onwards really. Josephus mentions many rebels in more detail than Jesus and of course people wanted to be free of the Roman occupation, Jesus is a fictional character born of that era and then tinkered with later as Christianity spread.
Take care !
Hobbit dude, thanks for your engaging discussion!
“I guess the fact God chose Israel or that area of the world ties in with religion basically being a cultural creation.”
Ok I take that back, God didn’t start with Israel per say, but he started with the Jewish people who later became the nation of Israel. What set them apart from other pagan nations and their multiple gods was their monotheistic belief in Yahweh, the one and only creator of heaven and earth.
Also, Yahweh did not have an image to worship like other nations. You are right in that the forms and traditions of religion reflect the local culture, but Yahweh himself was not a result this. In fact the Jewish people were completely counter-cultural in their time because no other people believed in One God.
Thanks for the info on Yigal Yadin the archaeologist. I had no idea who he was but now I do.
The existence of Jesus as a first century Jewish rabbi is not really a serious debate anymore. As virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. It’s the details of his life that get people all flustered with, like; did he walk on water or come back to life after three days?
All the evidence questions you mention have been discussed many, many times. There are many forums, books and academic discussions on those subjects. May I suggest a good book called “Case For Christ” by Lee Strobel. This dude was an atheist and journalist who set out to disprove Jesus and the Bible. There are many reviews online.
Or if you prefer sword swinging action and blood you can watch History Channels “The Bible” – A non dogmatic movie presentation of the Bible from a historical perspective.
Continue to seek and you will find. Peace brotha!
Thanks for the excellent reply. I guess Yahweh didn’t have imagery and was an only god yet Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou a biblical scholar and lecturer from Exeter university did a really good documentary series stating that people from ancient biblical times were actually more into polytheism than we thought. The series was called ‘The Bibles Hidden Secrets’.
As for Jesus being real, well amigo we may have to differ on that as you say ‘As virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed’. I have many books to the contrary and the more I research into the fact that Jesus was real the more I’m convinced he is actually a construct character. Authors like Bart D. Ehrman and more importantly later on Richard Carrier really look in depth into the historicity of Jesus.
I’ll check out the series you mention on the History Channel, thanks for the heads up there!
Keep up the good work, laters!
This is good banter. I obey Jesus, imperfectly I should say, because of my growing awareness of His love for me and the world. It’s a response to His initiating love and presence. One that never leaves in spite of my disobedience. No fear of a mythical fiery place. Perfect love casts out fear.
Well said Geoff, I like you describe obedience to Jesus as a process of love and freedom from fear!
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