U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-19-2013, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,004 posts, read 54,508,374 times
Reputation: 66349

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
There's a lot to it.

I think one thing that's missing from the list, namely that churches are non-demanding of their congregants. Not in terms of hounding them half to death, but rather in terms of making them understand how participating in the life of the church is important. For example, how do you attend church on Sunday morning with your family but don't ask your children to take part in youth activities? How do you attend church on Sunday morning and don't participate in the church's outreach to the poor and the troubled? How do you attend church on Sunday morning but enjoy Sunday brunch at a country club where bigotry against blacks and jews is etched in to the bylaws? For the act of Christianity is more than receiving the word on Sunday morning, but pouring it back out into the community in hundreds of small yet important ways.

In that sense, one of the things that drives me batty are people who say they are spiritual, but not religious. The problem is that Christ taught we are a community and should worship as a community. I mean, he does say that when two or more are gathered in my name, right? For we are to support one another in our spiritual lives, and that requires participation. It's not about saying 'Amen' at the end of an inspiring sermon. It's saying words of comfort and hope to a person who has neither. It's about hearing the Word in church, but it's more about living the Word rather than simply parroting it.

You know the people I'm talking about: The ones who simply cannot wait to quote scripture to anyone and everyone they see. Yet I offer that this is actually committing the sin of pride. Even Christ advises to offer the Word of God IF they are ready for it. Sometimes that takes building a great deal of trust with a person who is broken by the world and sees those evangelizing Christians as just looking for another scalp to bring back to church. The cynicism exists for a reason after all.

I also think a big part of the problem is the entertainment disease. Megachurches have had a nice run of it, but there's research showing that the upcoming generation is already beginning to migrate back to more traditional and liturgical churches. Because the contemporary services embrace a philosophy of pursuing the Next Thing in music or presentation in order to teach what is timeless. There's an inner contradiction there that they're not even aware of, yet the upcoming generation of Christians see it. And given how God exists in the quiet places of the heart, how can you be attuned to what He's saying with the rock bands and the constant noise?

Finally, I think item #3 is huge. The Catholic church is the obvious example with the child molestation scandal, but have you noticed how the new pope is turning heads because of his attempts to strip away the luxurious trappings of the church? This is a pope who seems to take the Gospels seriously in his own life and teachings by example. I am rather encouraged by what he is doing and hope he is up to the power struggles ahead.

On the other end of the spectrum, the megachurches have deep and profound leadership problems. In my own city the pastor of the largest megachurch is earning a large salary, lives in a million-dollar home in a gated community, and takes his kids to Disney World multiple times each year. Is that really living the Gospels? When he hires in an assistant pastor who was fired by his church in Louisiana for canoodling with his assistant a scant four months ago, is that sending the right message? To be sure, I don't expect a rector to live in a refrigerator carton under the interstate. But he shouldn't be in it for large financial gain, either.

So when you have the twin examples of corruption in both Catholicism and Fundamental Christianity, the two most vocal portions of the faith, people tend to associate the faith with the examples they set.

And that is deeply sad to me, for Christianity is as much an ethical mindset as it an approach to God. It is about attitude, not legalisms. Christ's message is about how we treat one another and how we should live humble lives. I am in a Christian counseling course right now, and one of the things that is taught to us time and again is that we are to show people how to live through our own lives, not tell them how to live, for our acts speak so much more loudly than our words. So we do not shout passages of scripture at them, for that is really vanity and an agenda in action. Instead, we are to demonstrate our Christianity through our love and concern for others. The theology can come later once there is actual trust in place.

Yes, it's done imperfectly by us all. I falter every single day and fully admit that to myself and others. But it's far more effective than proselytizing aggressively yet living a life that is subject to serious question.
Quoted, bolded, and underlined for emphasis. Well said, cpg35223. That's it. That's it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-19-2013, 07:54 AM
 
183 posts, read 140,294 times
Reputation: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcamps View Post
It is what you make it.

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome 1 John 5:3. And to reiterate Jesus said HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is Light.

I encourage all to guard your heart against the millstone which much of Christendom would burden you with.


It is not my desire to quarrel.


There is the wisdom of the world, that which lays at the surface, common knowledge.
Then there is true Wisdom, Wisdom is granted through diligence.

I reject common knowledge, I have learned through experience.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2013, 07:59 AM
 
Location: New England
32,221 posts, read 21,094,471 times
Reputation: 2274
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShepherdMaster View Post
It is not my desire to quarrel.


There is the wisdom of the world, that which lays at the surface, common knowledge.
Then there is true Wisdom, Wisdom is granted through diligence.

I reject common knowledge, I have learned through experience.
Wisdom listens to the mind of Christ.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2013, 08:27 AM
 
183 posts, read 140,294 times
Reputation: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcamps View Post
Wisdom listens to the mind of Christ.

John 8:39
"Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do what Abraham did.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2013, 08:37 AM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
10,202 posts, read 6,085,728 times
Reputation: 4527
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcamps View Post
Wisdom listens to the mind of Christ.
Wisdom listens to logic and the scientific method.

Anything else it's just wishful thinking.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2013, 08:40 AM
 
Location: New England
32,221 posts, read 21,094,471 times
Reputation: 2274
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShepherdMaster View Post
John 8:39
"Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do what Abraham did.
What did Abraham DO ?. He certainly was not a squeaky clean born again christian. He followed the leading of God in his life.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2013, 09:02 AM
 
183 posts, read 140,294 times
Reputation: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcamps View Post
What did Abraham DO ?. He certainly was not a squeaky clean born again christian. He followed the leading of God in his life.


Abraham was righteous through faith and obedience.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2013, 09:10 AM
 
Location: New England
32,221 posts, read 21,094,471 times
Reputation: 2274
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShepherdMaster View Post
Abraham was righteous through faith and obedience.
He recognized that which was God in him and followed it. Again obedience like dying to self and forsaking of all have been made into something, that is not. if your yoke is painful and burdensome, you know Jesus Christ never put it on you, for he said his yoke is easy.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2013, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Somewhere Out West
2,260 posts, read 2,138,885 times
Reputation: 1902
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartstarr1960 View Post
You've both given me pause for thought. RevRandy, why do you think your flock is unresponsive to an interactive service? How the shepherd feeds his flock has become so entrenched in, what I guess is tradition, that to think outside the box can be, as you stated, considered heretical to both shepherds and the flock. I recently read an article about a Catholic priest who takes confession via smartphone and online. What a maverick. His concern? Being shut down.
They are not receptive to it because so many people are unwilling to do anything different than they have done for the last 150 years. I was called to serve here to bring about change; the slightest little thing I do has them screaming, filing complaints and asking I be removed. Even not preaching from the pulpit but from in front and moving around causes problems for people - what is worse is I don't have my sermons typed out perfectly and just read them... I rely on the Spirit to finalise the message. Add to that the comments that my sermons are too challenging and force them to think, and you can see why this group is unable to entertain an interactive sermon.

In the end they will prevail as I am working with the powers that be to be re-assigned. Who they called me to be as their pastor is not who they want me to be now that I am here... a situation they will have to resolve before the next minister comes.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2013, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
9,267 posts, read 5,488,464 times
Reputation: 4046
Default Your are correct

Quote:
Originally Posted by revrandy View Post
They are not receptive to it because so many people are unwilling to do anything different than they have done for the last 150 years. I was called to serve here to bring about change; the slightest little thing I do has them screaming, filing complaints and asking I be removed. Even not preaching from the pulpit but from in front and moving around causes problems for people - what is worse is I don't have my sermons typed out perfectly and just read them... I rely on the Spirit to finalise the message. Add to that the comments that my sermons are too challenging and force them to think, and you can see why this group is unable to entertain an interactive sermon.

In the end they will prevail as I am working with the powers that be to be re-assigned. Who they called me to be as their pastor is not who they want me to be now that I am here... a situation they will have to resolve before the next minister comes.
I once did a monologue sermon where I posed as Pontius Pilate reflecting back on his time in Judea including a couple of his great mistakes (historically) in dealing with the Jewish people (from Josephus--1, marching into Jerusalem with the bust of Caesar held high before his chariot, and 2, taking money from the Temple treasury to repair and update the aqueduct system) and added a 3, his reluctance at that point to upset the Jews (still again) by failing to crucify Jesus when they demanded it.

In it he is speaking to a fictional friend Gaius following a party he has thrown at his home somewhere in the Swiss Alps where he is semi-retired, semi-exiled and he reflects back on his time as procurator of Judea, his mistakes, and his meeting with Jesus. I have a costume that my wife created for me to add to the impression.

It is not a unique idea. I first heard the monologue while at a chapel service of my college from the pastor of the St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. I was so impressed that not a word of it has ever left my mind. And even though it's been 20 years since I stood in a pulpit and delivered it, it is still crystal clear--and uses much biblical language (i.e. "What is truth") to convey its message.

I've presented it perhaps a half dozen times, but perhaps my favorite time was at my father-in-law's church where, following the service and standing at the entrance to shake hands with people as they left, one elderly lady said to me, "A very fine service, not as good as a regular sermon, mind you, but still very fine."

Now personally, where I'm more a stick in the mud about services is the departure from traditional hymns to praise songs. Nothing wrong with praise songs in and of themselves, but there is not much theology taught as there were in the old hymns of the past -- Rock of Ages, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, The Old Rugged Cross, Faith of our Fathers, and many more theological thoughtful hymns. And perhaps my favorite is "It Is Well With My Soul" composed by a man who had learned in a telegraph from his wife that the sinking of the ship she and their four daughters were on had left her as the only survivor. Her telegraph stated, "Saved, but saved alone." He sat down at his writing table and penned those mighty words in It Is Well With MY Soul, in the midst of his grief. The story behind that hymn illustrates how God can speak even in the present and is not confined to the words of the Bible. I had sung the song with far less fervor before I knew the tragedy underlying the conviction in the message of the hymn. I pray that I would have the strength of that great Christian hymn writer.

I have a book that provides the words and tells the background story of how many of them arose. I consider them much more uplifting than even those praise songs that are simply a multiple repetition of a particular Bible verse or two.

Randy, if the people of the church shape your message or its delivery, you can be certain that it isn't a message from God. We have plenty of pastors that are willing to bow to the wishes of the congregation rather than speak the Word of God with clarity and purpose. You know you are speaking with clarity and purpose when "religious" folks are opposed to what you say or how you say it. Sort of like what happened to Jesus!!!!

Men's quartet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-J8cmw9QK4
Women's trio a cappella
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmUGekcTuLM

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, oh, my soul

Last edited by Wardendresden; 10-19-2013 at 11:44 AM.. Reason: added youtube link
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top