Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Story

For those of you who don't know me here's a very short intro. I've been a Follower of Christ for 35 of my 54 years. Almost from day-one I've been a member of the Nazarene church. I have three main passions: Jesus Christ, my family, and information technology (yes, I'm a Good News Geek). Within my faith I believe in holiness living (thus my Nazarene affiliation) and a God who is HOLY, loving, merciful, and full of grace (but not a pushover).

For years I have tried to encourage the church (the organization) to find new ways to relate to our culture and keep lines of communication open to everyone. I like open dialog because I don't feel a need to defend my God. He is more than able to defend (or reveal) Himself. I love my church but I understand why people don't like or don't trust the church - I'm sorry to say that most have good reasons. I believe we need to go from being a church (organization) to being His Church (the body) but I know that the implementation of this concept is challenging.

Tom, I understand and appreciate your feelings. The book Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna confirmed a lot of "under the table" feelings I had about the modern church - just like the ones you expressed. I see some benefits to having a church organization but, to be honest, I see more disadvantages. The thought of abandoning the modern church doesn't set well with me but the current church seems to be ill equipped to effectively communicate the message of God's forgiveness and love. Why? In my opinion; it carries too much baggage. It is junk that we, as fallen humans with good intentions but limited wisdom, created. It is an organization that is only loosely (actually, very loosely) based on God's Word.

So, what is the answer to this problem? That is THE question. The answer is in God and I believe He will provide it. It is just so hard to hear Him over the roar of our life styles and western culture. But I plan to keep trying until that day when He has my full, undivided attention forever and forever.

5 comments:

ruth said...

I agree so much with what is being said here. I spent Tuesday talking with folks on the state level about faith based community support for returning prisoners. I am going to be putting together volunteers to do a rentry simulation. I think we are called to engage a hurting world and minister to those who are on the margins of common society.

I look forward to creating an intentional community which keeps each other in prayer 24/7 but also goes out into the world to minister without assuming people will come to worship or join thier church.

More on that thought later.

Ruth

Jilliefl1 said...

Allen, I appreciate your thoughtful post. I've read "Pagan" and thought it was insightful and right on target. It is controversial, but sometimes it's necessary to shake things up a bit when the Body of Christ has veered off course. (Think Martin Luther).

Have you heard about Frank Viola's sequel to "Pagan"? I think he just might be onto the "answers" that you are seeking. "Reimagining Church" sets forth a beautiful vision of the church based on the eternal purposes of God. I highly recommend it. It picks up where “Pagan Christianity” left off and continues the conversation. (“Pagan Christianity” was never meant to be a stand alone book; it’s part one of the conversation.) “Reimagining Church” is endorsed by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, and many others. You can read a sample chapter at
http://www.ReimaginingChurch.org
It’s also available on Amazon.com. Frank is also blogging now at http://www.frankviola.wordpress.com. Also, have you seen the spoof video for "Pagan"? Very funny. Check it out at http://youtube.com/watch?v=hslswIal9u4.

gracegirl65 said...

I am trying different things to see if I can get listed as a contributer

Stephen Pradarelli said...

Hi, Gracegirl65! Have you previously touched base with Lon or one of the others in this group about being a contributor? If not, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Lon -- since I'm kind of late to the party here, are there any ground rules for allowing new contributors?

gracegirl65 said...

I can't seem to figure out the difference as to when I post as Ruth and when I post as gracegirl- regardless neither will let me post.

I am a 43 year old woman who has grew up Roman catholic and has had my fair share of love God hate the church moments.

I have tried other denominations and found that without the eucharist I was just not satisfied.

I attended a United Methodist seminary and graduated in 1990.

I am looking at doing work with those who are dealing with addictions and feel called to the Priesthood but am not sure if I am just projecting alot of Catholic stuff.

I believe that all believers are called to teach, model Jesus love and grace.

The whole ordination thing is complex for me. Do I feel I am engaged in ministry as a lay person- yes. Does the world always recognize that ministry- No. Does it matter- that is the $64,000.00 question.