Things I Think…

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25 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    Appreciate the common theme here Michael. And some tough words to for the Church. I too have been wondering if there is more going on than just some so-called “great apostasy” that some (we know who they are) claim is going on.

  2. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I write recognizing that I may be totally wrong…

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael,

    Perhaps. We have to risk when speaking out. But in my mind many who are separating from the church are fed up with the two-faced appearance of the church (yeah, “breaking news” there), especially in light of a certain event in the U.S. back in 2016 and it’s continuing ramifications.

  4. Em says:

    I have to wonder, how have we, in the past fifty or so years, clouded the understanding of an absolute and holy God. Grace isn’t a product of a God correcting His mistake. We’ve been too compromising in how we present God to the world, perhaps. Dr. Duane mentioned our resistance to Saddam in Kuwait? Remember the slogan, “shock and awe?” Well, when grace runs out ( in my understanding, it will) there will be true shock and awe. I cannot imagine folk so resistant to their Creator that they’d prefer the rocks to hide them, rather than repentance… God made the rocks they use for cover… It seems we’re slipping into total madness, but …
    God may yet visit us with conviction and repentance… I pray we will yet see that revival visit the whole earth… even that little tribe on that island in India
    The deceiver’s last stand may be closer than we know, tho… ?

  5. sarahmorgan says:

    Long-time lurker, feeling compelled to say something….
    After 40+ years of serving in many different churches, I’m a Done. But what made being a member (regularly going) to church repugnant for me wasn’t the politics of the congregation, nor the evangelical circus, nor what so many other people write about on all the blogs which I’ve followed for the last dozen years (including this one). What turned me totally off of attending church was, upon moving to a new location, learning the hard way that all of the churches in my new town were full of fearful, territorial, insecure people, quick to alienate and scapegoat “outsiders” (especially outsiders with former ministry leadership experience) who they perceive as a threat to their position/status in the church, easily offended by anyone who (inadvertent or not) bruised their ego and quick to respond to such offenses by gossip, slander, and writing angry, upset letters to pastors and elders — naive, self-absorbed “leaders” steeped in total conflict-avoidance — who believed them whole cloth and never were able to see me in any other form than the grotesque picture painted by the offended one(s), much less be pastoral towards me. For so long I believed church was a place to worship God in a group of fellow believers, to make Christian friends, to serve with my musical talent, to hear and learn Scripture, and to be equipped to handle the tough things of life during the week. My experience here has totally disavowed me of those quaint notions. After a decade, I am making a point of attending various church services for Advent this year, but it is not without great feelings of trepidation. Nothing like being rejected in church — being found offensive, irredeemable, etc — to make one seriously question the idea of being rejected by God….for years. I long for a day when churches teach their congregations how to shed their self-absorbtion and generously love one another, perhaps that will be the day of revival brought up here.
    (back to lurking now)

  6. I’m still struggling with “church.” I want to believe in the best of what it is supposed to be. That’s still how I see CC. I love what is supposed to be the best of it, what those who drink the kool aid see in it (be it CC or whatever). I believe it can be a place where leaders love and not loot. A place where members serve and not suck (take that as you will). Where it’s about Jesus and not jealousy. Where it’s about people, purpose, and not performance of either the pastor, worship team (cynically spelled “whore-ship” team), or individual people. There’s a lot of alliteration going on there!

    Sin in the hearts of anyone involved in a church is what makes it not what it should be. Unattended-to sin. Unconfronted sin (in a building-up way). Undercover sin. Uncofessed sin.

    Like I said, I’m flustered with church right now. I’m also flustered with myself. Work in progress.

  7. Sharon Dooley says:

    Here in NC, we are seeing the church waking up to once again, standing on the whole council of God- churches that previously were quiet about abortion or homosexuality, subjects The Word of God is clear on but Christians usually dont want to be vocal about. Many churches are responding to the call to be part of the culture of Life; from the pulpit to the street and its really exciting to see hundreds of believers, in handfuls of cities, stand in prayer and praise before abortion clinics and we are reaping a harvest. Thank you Jesus !

  8. Michael says:

    Good stuff from everyone…thank you all…

  9. Eric says:

    #1 “second great Reformation” –
    I was thinking a better analogy is not the Reformation but the Awakenings since the Reformation, which were more about holiness and character as you say…
    Then I realised I’d only ever thought about the Reformation from the Protestant point of view. If you were a committed Catholic back then it was a disaster, a fracture in the Church, many going astray as well as judgement for the unchecked corruption.

    and with #5. My generation of Christian laypeople look at the history of abuse and cover-ups and wonder how we could have got it so badly wrong. But then I think further that if it was my church in the paper I’d want to hide under the blanket and have the problem go away; if I was a bishop in a diocese without enough priests, without many in the pipeline, and at risk of losing another due to misconduct, I’d be tempted to keep him if I could.

  10. Owen says:

    Michael, this topic has been on my mind as well for some time. I’ve been finding myself weeping inside when I hear and read the stories of churches mistreating people, and realizing how sheltered I myself have been (still am). I’ve never experienced the things many have spoken of here. My own church, while far from perfect, leans more towards what Sarah described above – “a place to worship God in a group of fellow believers, to make Christian friends, to serve with my musical talent, to hear and learn Scripture, and to be equipped to handle the tough things of life during the week.”

    I’m saddened and becoming more angry at what I’m hearing. I recently read of a prominent Christian recording artist who has now totally renounced his faith. I’ve been listening to him for years. He was raised in an Evangelical church, wrote songs of struggle, praise, God’s faithfulness, etc…..and then when he needed support the most during a very difficult time, his “Christian” support system not only turned their backs, but heaped on the guilt and shame. Yeah, that might drive me away too…..

    So it’s not really a surprise anymore, that the number of those who are “done” is increasing. If the love of Christ is not present in church, many more may likely decide they’re done.

  11. CK says:

    Em: “Grace isn’t a product of a God correcting His mistake.”

    I just thought that was worth repeating.

  12. Captain Kevin says:

    Owen, it’s sad and unfortunate, that the story of the prominent Christian artist getting burned by those who should’ve been the first to come alongside has repeated itself numerous times in the last several decades.

  13. Linnea says:

    I’ve always experienced that revival, whether personal or corporate, is always preceded by repentance. A good word, Michael. That said, it’s still difficult to become incorporated into an established church.

  14. Owen says:

    CK,

    I hear you. I recall hearing of a few others, but this one kinda hit me hard because I had drawn strength from his lyrics for so long. Very Biblical, honest….
    I spent quite a bit of time reading and listening to things he himself said about why he has turned away, what led to it, where he’s at now, and even though it’s been a little while I could still hear bitterness and hurt in his words. The same feelings I hear in the comment above (Sarah) and so many others mistreated in the church.
    The thought that comes to my mind, each time, is “isn’t the Body of Christ supposed to be the one place where nobody feels rejected, put down, shamed, etc….?”
    Now even my saying that sounds like a fairy tale.

  15. Em says:

    Perhaps when visiting a church and finding you like it…. Tell them that they have convinced you to become a Christian… You will receive a warm reception… sad, but true
    Wise as serpent and harmless as the dove? Uh… probably not ?

  16. Jerod says:

    We are in sync on #1
    Revival begins with repentance.

    That’s all I read so far…

  17. Jerod says:

    Dan,
    People will also find any excuse to bash somebody or somebodies. Easy to point out the spots when the standard is white linen.

  18. Babylon's Dread says:

    I remain an unrepentant devoted churchman.

    It will be my post until he comes or I go.

    As I am the church I must not attempt to not be what I am.

  19. Babylon's Dread says:

    As per the Christian recording artist who got his feelings hurt over the lack of support from his community and abandoned his faith. What exactly was that faith? As one who actually believes apostasy exists in other than superficial terms I do want to know what convinced this young man that Jesus is not one who can be believed.

    Having a number of critiques about Reformation theology over the years one thing is certain; these reformers were not easily deterred from faith. Nor were they expectant that the church would warmly embrace their internal struggles over the church’s positions.

    I suspect many of our unconverting friends were indeed unconverted. My son recently describes himself as having gone from convinced to converted. In other words he spoke as if regeneration had replaced rational assent.

    We need unconverted people to stop the masquerade. Isn’t that the very essence of confronting hypocrisy?

    As for those who are DONE. I actually get that as well. It seems that being done with church is a much more frequent problem in the free churches than the historic creedal and sacramental churches. I am guessing at that as I live in the midst of free market religious faith and find it increasingly wilting under market pressures.

    While I have every confidence in the work of God underneath all this rubble, I do grow tired of the mess. Instead of leaving the flock I will just eventually graze in higher pastures.

    Meanwhile on with the struggle, we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

  20. Babylon's Dread says:

    Hey just a practical note. My pseudonym will not stay in the boxes. I have to retype name and email every time I post. Of course the benefit is that I am not so quick to say what I think. Is there a fix?

  21. Michael says:

    BD,

    I wasn’t aware we were having that issue again.
    The fix is a total rebuild of the site…we’re working on it…

  22. Em says:

    Babylon’s Dread is an example – IMHO – of a man called by God to pastor a flock, but do we expect too much of the average pastor? God, Himself, has problems with the old sin natures in the Church…
    I do expect my pastor to stand, however. Stand lazer focused on the Faith. Focused enough that in time the pew sitter who is in “rational assent” will either reach “regeneration” or get tired and leave… ?
    May God make His miracle of salvation real and the highest priority in all of us

  23. Chris Long says:

    “As I am the church I must not attempt to not be what I am.”

    That’s gold BD! Thanks for that!

  24. filbertz says:

    I’m almost done being done.

    hope-fil

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    filberts

    Good for you! We all need you…

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