Leaving Church Finding God: Being Done not None

The old adage goes, “You can talk about anything, except religion and politics.” On this blog, I guess I throw…

The old adage goes, “You can talk about anything, except religion and politics.” On this blog, I guess I throw that advice out the window. My hope is that you find this blog an outlet to those lingering thoughts that you find in the back of your mind. Those things, that at least for me, I am usually not bold enough to say. In this post, I can feel that I will probably hit on both religion and politics. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Pew research and many blogs analyzing their research has made a big deal lately out of the rise of the “Nones”, those people who identify no particular religious affiliation. It’s no secret that the category, “Nones”, that researchers use can be deceiving and does not really tell the whole story.

For instance, I don’t hold any religious affiliation, I would qualify as a “None.” However anyone who knows me personally would say, “Wait! You talk about Jesus, say you follow Jesus, etc.” Yes, this is very true. I do follow the teaching of Jesus, someone who I believe was very anti-religious. In fact, frequently when Jesus found himself at “church”, violence erupted. I’ve talked about this some here, but that whole topic probably deserves its own blog post as well.

The point is, I don’t identify a religious affiliation, yet I do not consider myself secular. I’m not a “None.” I’m a “Done.” This term, “Done”, first came to me through a blog post by Derek Flood about being done. My lack of religious affiliation doesn’t reflect a lack of belief, instead it reflects my state of being done with religion. I’m done with the systems and institutions that have proven themselves unworthy stewards of the Divine.

The scandal of religion is that it never was really the steward of the Divine. The mystics, prophets and even Jesus himself all flow from a counter-religious movement that has always been present. In fact, I’m convinced, if I look closely at my own religious heritage, I have had the beginnings of being “Done” for much longer than I have been able to name and recognize it.

So yes, I’m done with religion. I’m not trying to start a new group, a new synagogue, a new church, a new mosque, a new temple, a new anything. The tribalism that all of these things carry with them is simply too much to overcome for whatever redeeming qualities they may have. This is a big shift for me. I’ve long held out hope that the next movement, the next organization would be different. I’ve been around religion long enough to realize that they aren’t. So, I’m “Done.”

This my sound very cynical. I hope and pray that in reality it isn’t. Don’t mistake this for something that it isn’t. I’m closer to God or the Divine (whatever word you resonate with) than ever. Losing the ties of religion has freed me to find the Divine in places I simply didn’t feel permission to find it in the past. I’m more alive, more free than ever.

Religion has the never ending pull towards tribalism that I’ve become more and more convinced we can’t escape. To identify as Christian simply carries too much baggage of things I don’t want to be associated with. The devaluing of women, persecution of minorities, creating taboo around sexuality, authoritarianism, false humility, devaluing of human experience, tribalism, the list goes on and on of things that are completely valid critiques of Christianity. The same is true of Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. There is simple too much done in these religion’s names that are counter to the law of love.

Islam cannot call itself peaceful. Why? Because if you want to be tribal, you take the load of the entire tribe upon you, including ISIS. Christianity isn’t peaceful. Why? because if want to be tribal, you take the load of the entire tribe upon you, including Donald Trump. Ahh, there I go, I just hit on politics. Well I guess this post has probably offended everyone now.

The point is, it’s simply too complicated, too confusing, too divisive to try to distinguish between the good and the bad that come with organized religion. For me, it’s better to be “Done” and live a simple life, ruled by love, that connects to God in my own way.

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April 30, 2016 @ 1:25 pm Trackback URL No Comments on Leaving Church Finding God: Being Done not None

Limitless Love, Limited God

The topic of God’s sovereignty is one that is both hotly defended and a point of particular pain for many…

The topic of God’s sovereignty is one that is both hotly defended and a point of particular pain for many Christians. The idea of an all-powerful God is pivotal to many people’s understanding of God. Yet, at the same time it brings up questions that don’t have easy answers. How can a sovereign God allow death, violence, evil, sin and all the things that move us to increased pain and suffering?

I too have run up against this question. Pushed through it, and I believe I have come through on the other side with a new awareness and understanding of what it means for God to be all powerful. Instead of trying to explain all of the death and violence in this world, I have come to a place of rethinking God’s sovereignty. The root of this new understanding is based in an understanding of God being in very nature Love. I start from this place because I know of no where else to start that does not degenerate quickly into a fearful theology that provides no hope.

Here is where I have come to part ways with a traditional understanding of sovereignty. The traditional understanding would say that because God is “before all” and has “created all” He can do anything that He wants. These understandings of God’s sovereignty find their logical and yet absurd end in the Calvinist teachings that God wills and controls all things. Even those things we would understand as antithetical to God’s love. Famines, wars and violence of all kinds are enveloped within God’s sovereignty. The problem with this idea is that it it can not be reconciled with an all loving God. Much theological thought has been devoted to attempting to reconcile an all powerful God and a loving God but I have yet to find anyone who combines those two concepts successfully.

What I have come to in pondering this incongruity is that leaving behind the traditional, Calvinist understanding of sovereignty is the only way to achieve a measure of harmony and peace in my theology. What then am I  left with? A powerless God who falls back on flimsy love and cannot affect us in any meaningful way? Nothing could be further from my thoughts.

I believe the real power of God is found in pure, unrelenting, unstoppable love. It is in this love that God’s sovereignty is revealed. If love is the defining character of God, we are forced to pin our hopes on love’s ultimate power. The hope of the follower of Christ is that Love has the first and the last word. The Alpha and the Omega. The first word is that of the divine risk of creation. Creation that is capable of choosing a path of love but is yet independent to choose otherwise. The final word is that of Love’s ultimate victory over all that is violent and that separates creation: “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”

Jesus framed this alternate view of power to his disciples in this way:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This type of sovereignty is entirely different from a traditional understanding. It is a sovereignty of ends, not individual events. It is not a power rooted in God being able to do anything it wants. Instead it is a power rooted in having the final word. Ultimate victory.

Where does this leave evil for me? It exists. Evil is not from God and it, unlike love, does not get the final word. Even more than this, I have faith that though God does not orchestrate evil, Love is able to reinvent or reframe evil. Brother David Steindl-Rast frames this power in the words of gratitude:

“You can’t be grateful for war in a given situation, or violence, or sickness, things like that. So the key when people ask, can you be grateful for everything? No, not for everything, but in every moment.” ~ David Steindl-Rast

Gratitude can be found in every moment. Even if we aren’t grateful for all things. Love can be found in every moment and is working toward final victory.  “Perfect love drives out all fear.” This, is God’s movement, God’s power in the world: Unrelenting, unending, “final word having” love.

 

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March 9, 2016 @ 12:12 pm Trackback URL 1 Comment on Limitless Love, Limited God

Leaving Church and Finding God: Tribes, Temples and Trajectories

This is a continuation of my “Leaving the Church and Finding God” series, yet, this is something new. It’s an…

This is a continuation of my “Leaving the Church and Finding God” series, yet, this is something new. It’s an experiment. I’m not sure what it is exactly yet, maybe they’re sermons, maybe it’s a solo podcast, maybe it’s nothing. I’d love it if you would give this “thing” a listen and let me know what you think!

Hopefully this will all be on iTunes etc. shortly. In the mean time,  feel free to subscribe thought this simplecast link http://pca.st/IgCP.


This series of posts comes from the experiences and explorations that I am currently living. Being a long-time, church-going Christian I have recently moved beyond the confines of traditional Western Christianity and consider myself somewhat of a spiritual nomad currently. Though I am not currently in the church, I have many friends and family that find the church context extremely valuable. These posts are in no way meant as a criticism of that context. Instead, I hope to share a little bit of my journey. Some of this journey may wander outside of “Orthodoxy” and what is considered safe within the church. But I, at no turn, mean to offend or cause hurt. You can find an archive of this series here.

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January 20, 2016 @ 3:39 am Trackback URL No Comments on Leaving Church and Finding God: Tribes, Temples and Trajectories

Leaving Church and Finding God: Sabbath

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads…

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

I have heard this set of verses from Mark 2 quoted frequently. Most often as a prooftext for why it is ok to work on Sunday. I think that I have even used this as a prooftext for that point. Sadly, this application misses one of the richest practices that Christianity and Judaism have to offer, Sabbath rest.

Our world’s pace is increasing exponentially. We are able to do more, access more information, connect with more people than ever before. First we had laptops that would allow us to take our work home. Then phones that allowed us to take our work to the beach.  Now we have watches that allow our work to follow us everywhere we go. It is somewhat ironic that in this digital world that is largely controlled by on/off electrical signals, there is rarely anything that turns off.

This “always on” phenomenon is very new to our species. Nature as a whole has ebb and flow, on and off, activity and rest. Trees sprout leaves, grow, then lose them again. Animals migrate south in the winter and then north once again in the summer. The earth itself marks every 24 hours with light, then dark, then light again. Sine waves are the mark of nature, not the hockey stick growth demanded by wall street.

This same sine wave, on then off then on, pattern is what Jesus is pointing out about the Sabbath. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Turning off is an incredibly important part of being human. Indeed, the inability to turn off physiologically leads to death (Fatal Familial Insomnia).  I would suggest that just like sleep, Sabbath rest is indeed made for man. It was instituted to be a time of restoration. The “off” in an always on world. The bottom of the sign wave. Christians often get this confused and say that the Sabbath was created to worship or honor God. Not so, according to Jesus..

What Jesus is getting at in the story that I introduced this post with, is that the sabbath isn’t about rules of working or not working but instead, it is about rest and refreshment. Resting, but being hungry, is not very enjoyable. That’s Jesus’ point. The Sabbath is to be enjoyed. How does this all actually play out?

For me, it means turning off devices. Taking photos. Going on hikes. Enjoying good coffee and good food. Letting my mind rest, and my relationships with my family grow.  And, not just “when I have time.” Because in reality “when I have time” never comes. Sabbath for me has become a restorative practice that needs to be regularly observed. In my case “Sabbath” is most often observed on Saturday mornings complete with sleeping in, getting coffee and muffins from a coffee shop and visiting the local farmers market.

My employer recently implemented a benefit that captures this same spirit of Sabbath. Called “True Days Off”, each employee receives one day off each month to unplug and do nothing. The idea is to let your mind rest so that you can return to do your best work. The “off” is what sustains and makes the “on” possible.

Sabbath may look different for you than it does for me. But, it just doesn’t feel right if the focus is not on refreshment and rest.  It’s something we need. And it would do us well to heed Jesus’ advice.


This series of posts comes from the experiences and explorations that I am currently living. Being a long-time, church-going Christian I have recently moved beyond the confines of traditional Western Christianity and consider myself somewhat of a spiritual nomad currently. Though I am not currently in the church, I have many friends and family that find the church context extremely valuable. These posts are in no way meant as a criticism of that context. Instead, I hope to share a little bit of my journey. Some of this journey may wander outside of “Orthodoxy” and what is considered safe within the church. But I, at no turn, mean to offend or cause hurt. You can find an archive of this series here.

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January 1, 2016 @ 1:58 am Trackback URL No Comments on Leaving Church and Finding God: Sabbath

Leaving Church and Finding God: Incarnation

As we arrive at Christmas I wanted to reflect on some thoughts I’ve had recently about the Jesus narrative. And about…

As we arrive at Christmas I wanted to reflect on some thoughts I’ve had recently about the Jesus narrative. And about how our our presuppositions about God can greatly change His story. These thoughts, center around making sense of incarnation. That beautiful, confusing, controversial, incredible idea that God in some form became a man. This post presupposes the desire to believe in God. I know not everyone is there. But even if you don’t need a God in your belief system, hopefully this post will help you think about the idea of incarnation and Jesus in a different light.

The narrative that I have followed for most of my life about incarnation has gone something like this: God the Father, a being in heaven, told his son, Jesus, to go to earth and become a human because people were sinning and He was going to send them to hell. Jesus, another being, then is incarnated into a third being. A human being. This human being then is killed by God the Father to satisfy His wrath so that he doesn’t send all of us to hell.

The fact of the matter is, if I took this story out of the context of the Christian narrative, it would make my head hurt. Why does God need to kill his son to not send us to Hell? Why is it Jesus and not God the Father that is the one who gets incarnated? Along this line of thinking, I arrived at a fundamental question that has changed my perspective on incarnation.

“If God was already a being, why did he need to become another being in order to come among us?”

This line of thinking blew the lid off of one of my most basic assumptions about God. The idea that God is fundamentally a “being”.

If God is a being, incarnation seems to ring a little hollow. God becomes something like a shape shifter that transforms from one being to another being. Why couldn’t have God, after all, just come among us as God? This idea of God existing as a being somewhere else is rooted in what many have called a three tiered perspective on God. This is the idea that there are three tiers to reality. There is a a God up above (Upper Tier) looking down on us on earth (Middle Tier). And we  are in danger of being sent down to the depths of hell, shaol or whatever you want to call it (Lower Tier).

This idea permeates the way we talk about God. We say things like, “God came down and touched me” or “I’m sending up some prayers for you.” While this idea can be nice, it also muddies the water by assuming that God is a being that is mainly somewhere else. It’s also a very old idea that isn’t very congruent with what we understand about the nature of reality. When we look up at the stars today, we don’t see “heaven”, we see our galaxy. Our exploration of the universe demands that we at least consider the language we use to describe God and his location in reality.

Our understanding of God is ripe for a renewal. Along with this, our understanding of incarnation is also ripe for new life.  Consider this famous Bible passage, “God is Love.” What if we actually treated that verse as reality? What if God instead of being “a being” in our minds was instead “Love”? What does that mean for incarnation? It means that Jesus is the physical, here and now embodiment, flesh and blood example, of Love. Now that is something incredible. The idea that something as intangible and abstract as Love, incarnated itself as a man, is truly a powerful idea. It also just makes a lot of sense. One being doesn’t become another being. Instead, God truly puts on flesh and bones and dwells among us as an example of the new life that is possible.

Now this may all sound like idle ponderings to those of you who are tightly tied to the Bible as a basis of understanding. I would suggest you at least hear me out as I leave you with my favorite description of incarnation.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Word made flesh. That’s the incarnation I’m celebrating this Christmas. Merry Christmas!


 

This series of posts comes from the experiences and explorations that I am currently living. Being a long-time, church-going Christian I have recently moved beyond the confines of traditional Western Christianity and consider myself somewhat of a spiritual nomad currently. Though I am not currently in the church, I have many friends and family that find the church context extremely valuable. These posts are in no way meant as a criticism of that context. Instead, I hope to share a little bit of my journey. Some of this journey may wander outside of “Orthodoxy” and what is considered safe within the church. But I, at no turn, mean to offend or cause hurt. You can find an archive of this series here.

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December 26, 2015 @ 4:37 am Trackback URL 2 Comments on Leaving Church and Finding God: Incarnation

Grace, Sin, and the Kingdom

I read a blog post by Stephan over at Sacred Tension, please go over and read the full article here…

I read a blog post by Stephan over at Sacred Tension, please go over and read the full article here http://sacredtension.com/2014/01/30/what-if-im-wrong-about-homosexuality/. I won’t try to to paraphrase what he is saying because the topic of grace and sin is one that it so polarizing that the nuances of what someone says about them are often lost. So please go read the article before reading further.

Hmm this is a tough one. Can God’s ever pursuing love reach anyone? Absolutely. But Paul also admonishes us to not use grace as a license to keep on sinning. I think when we look at the entire flow of scripture, we see that grace is not a proverbial “get out of jail free card.” The term grace itself is sometimes unhelpful in the English language because we often associate it with looking past an evil or overlooking it. That’s why I have tried to personally re-frame things, when thinking about God’s pursuit of us, in the terms of love instead of grace. Love, it seems to me, is more clear in the English language to communicate wanting the best for another.

Love, does not, necessarily look past all wrongs. In fact love actively works in oppositions to wrongs. It works to right wrongs. In my understanding of God’s kingdom being worked out, the main action taking place is the righting of wrongs through love.

When we look at accounts of “judgment day” in scripture there is something interesting going on. In the account of the sheep and goats, one of Jesus’ most descriptive accounts of judgement, we hear the discussion centering around what people did not what they believed. The goats are found saying “when Lord?” it’s not that they failed to acknowledge Jesus as Lord that causes Jesus to send them away. No, instead it is that their actions were not congruent with the kingdom and what Jesus wants people doing. As Keith Green poetically pointed out in his musical version of the Sheep and Goats, “The only difference between the sheep and goats, according to the Scriptures, is what they did and didn’t do.”

This may be startling to some. Especially those, like me, that have heard “grace alone” all of their lives. I always wonder why I don’t hear more teaching out of books like James. I love James. He speaks in such plain language about the inter-working of faith and deeds, “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”

It seems to me that perhaps some of the hesitation to address the fact that what we do is intertwined with us being included in the Kingdom of God comes from the fact that the responsibility that it introduces is pointed squarely at ourselves. If we accept the fact that our actions matter, we can no longer point the finger at others, who, have not given the mental ascent needed to be bestowed with God’s grace. No, instead we must look inward at our own actions to see if they line up with what God’s kingdom is about. This can be, as I know from personal experience, an uncomfortable task.

Photo by nowakowskimarcin1 (Pixabay)

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September 27, 2014 @ 2:05 am Trackback URL 2 Comments on Grace, Sin, and the Kingdom

A Living Eucharist

In Rob Bell and Don Golden’s book “Jesus Wants to Save Christians: Learning to Read a Dangerous Book” the root…

In Rob Bell and Don Golden’s book “Jesus Wants to Save Christians: Learning to Read a Dangerous Book” the root words of “Eucharist” are identified as coming from the Greek for good and gift:

“The Greek word for thankful is from the verb eucharizomai – the Greek for eu, which means “well” or “good,” and the word charizomai, which means ‘to grant or give.’It’s from this word that we get the English word Eucharist, the ‘good gift.’ Jesus is God’s good gift to the world.”[ref]Bell, Rob, and Don Golden. Jesus wants to save Christians: a manifesto for the church in exile. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan :, 2008.[/ref]

I’m not an expert in Greek, so I cannot argue the merits of this root meaning insight, but I think the idea holds true with or without it. Jesus is indeed God’s good gift to the world. This is generally accepted among almost all Jesus followers.

Unfortunately, I think we often fail to take this line of thinking to its next logical out-working. If we are Christ’s body, Christ’s ambassadors, Christ’s spokespeople, then, we are also God’s good gift to the world. This is why Paul can say with confidence, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” ~ 2 Cor 4:10

But what does being a Eucharist to the world mean? Does it mean that we tell people that Jesus died for their sins? Does it mean that we help people develop a relationship with Jesus so that they can go to heaven?

Thinking about about Jesus being a good gift to the world, takes me back to the idea of incarnation itself:

If the incarnation does not have a profound affect on our lives now then the act of God becoming man seems to hold much less value.

If God were simply looking for a “spiritual” transformation, then a God-man coming among us is unneeded. All that is needed is God’s grace, which needs no human form to be enacted. If, however, Christ came to earth to affect his kingdom here and now, then the incarnation is a first fruits, an initial taste of God’s kingdom advancing here and now. As the recipients then, of this Eucharist, we have the honor, obligation and duty to carry this Eucharist into the world that it may have a world-changing effect now.

This means that we are not concerned as Jesus followers with spreading a religion. We are concerned with being a good gift to the world, a Eucharist, poured out for those around us. “Carrying around the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed.” We, “fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions.” (Col 1:24) When Jesus sent out the 12 in Luke 9 he sends them to proclaim the Kingdom of God. And what sign accompanies this proclamation? Is it an explanation of the law and gospel? Is it a passionate cry for people to turn from their sins? No. It is the simple command to heal the sick. To bring right to a wrong that sin has brought on the world.

This is how Jesus taught His disciples to advance His kingdom. When did we ever get the idea that it had more to do with mental assent to a set of theological ideas and less to do with God’s Kingdom happening now in real life? Julian, an emperor of Rome at approximately A.D. 360 observed this, “For it is disgraceful when… the impious Galileans [the name given by Julian to Christians] support our poor in addition to their own; everyone is able to see that our coreligionists are in want of aid from us.”[ref]Chinnock, Edward James. A few notes on Julian and a translation of his public letters. London: D. Nutt, 1901, 76.[/ref]May we, a Church that is a Eucharist to our world, live up to the reputation that our early brothers in the Roman Empire had. May we take our discipleship out of our heads and put it into our hands and our feet and be a “Good Gift” to our world.

Photo Credits: Untitled by digao3000d – Attribution 3.0

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January 30, 2014 @ 7:39 am Trackback URL No Comments on A Living Eucharist

Rethinking Church Structure: A Connectivist Approach

Church structure, or any structure for that matter, is absolutely fascinating to me. I love thinking about how things relate…

Church structure, or any structure for that matter, is absolutely fascinating to me. I love thinking about how things relate to each other and how to make those relationships better. As many of you know I have a professional background in education. In education there is a recently developed and popularized learning theory called connectivism. I won’t wander off into an in depth explanation, but the basis of the theory is that learning happens in the connections between thing, ideas, people etc. This mimics the way we understand that the brain work with its connections or synapses.

With this as background, I began thinking about how the local church is structured and functions. I came up with a few diagrams to illustrate my thought process.

Connectivist Church-01

This first diagram shows a traditional church structure. There are all sorts of “ministries” or “boards” or “teams” or whatever a particular church chooses to call them. The overarching structure that everything functions in however, is the local church. Go outside of the local church and you are kind of in a no man’s land without a lot of guidance or direction. Depending on the denomination you may even be labeled as a liberal or not staying true to the teachings of the church if you do things outside of this circle.

Members are usually advised that the best way to serve God and each other is by joining some of these “teams” or “ministries” in the church. Perhaps if you are a musician, you join the worship team which is made up of people varying musical talent, some great, some not so great. Or perhaps you aren’t sure what to do so your pastor suggests you should be on the “cafe team” that makes coffee after the services. You don’t even like coffee, but you figure how hard can making coffee be? We’ve all drunk some of that coffee haven’t we?:P

This system has some inherent weaknesses. First of all, if a “ministry” or “team” doesn’t exist that matches a person’s giftings, they either have to start it from scratch or do something else. If they wish to start it from scratch they will most likely have to work through some leadership structure that may or may not help them. In many cases the leadership structure may even hinder them because the pastor(s) or board have too much on their plate already. Or, they simply don’t want to give up control of how the church runs. And in most churches if the pastor isn’t behind it, it just doesn’t happen.

Second, because there are many necessary ministries and a very finite number of people in most average sized churches, many “teams” are going to be staffed with untalented or under-qualified people. This is why you find pastors who are horrible at counseling people trying to give people advice, or people who don’t even really like kids teaching Sunday school, or people playing guitar on the worship team that would really benefit from knowing more than three chords. In the end, I believe this church structure often yields a top heavy institution that is ineffectual at doing anything well.

Connectivist Church-02

Here’s my alternative thought. What if we thought of the local church as an organism that serves as a launching point or community through which people can move out and accomplish all sorts of kingdom related work? Who says that all the teaching in a church needs to come from a pastor who may or may not be gifted in teaching? And who says that every church needs to try to produce the greatest worship experiences for it’s members?

What I envision is a church that connects people with the best of what is happening in its community and world. Coming back to the connectivist idea then, the value of the local church then does not reside in it’s institutional programs and systems. Instead its value is found mainly in the connections it fosters between people, , resources, organizations, companies, the environment, governments and all sorts of things. In fact I would argue that ideally in this model the local church ceases to be an institution and becomes a living organism that is constantly reacting, reshaping, and finding new ways to affect change based on the environment in which it exists and the hundreds of thousands connections it represents.

Connectivist Church-03

The really exciting thing for me is when I took this drawing one step further. Just like in education, having a connectivist approach to the church allows these separate organisms known as local churches to start to interact and add value and meaning to each other. For example, perhaps one local group of believers doesn’t have any really talented musicians, what is standing in the way of that community partnering with another community that has really talented musicians? Or what if a community has some really talented teachers, in the connectivist approach, what is stopping them from offering teaching sessions to other local church communities? The wonderful answer is really nothing.

So why doesn’t this happen more? Here are few ideas:

  • We are afraid of doctrinal differences and have not learned how to deal with them as believers.
  • The “value” of the pastor goes down and there may not be a justification for it being a full time position.
  • It takes more work on the part of believers. The ministries of the church cannot be simply handed off to professionals to organize and execute. Everyone has to be engaged and involved.
  • We have a lot of language that gets in the way. We think about “going to church”, becoming “members of a church”, “switching churches” etc. Instead we need to thinking about “being church”, “doing church” and “connecting with believers.”
  • We as humans like defined limits. The traditional church structure allows for very defined limits and “approved activities.” But I do not think it allows for a full expression of the Body of Christ.

I’m really excited to continue thinking along these lines and test out these ideas. Feel free to leave comments and thoughts below.

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January 7, 2014 @ 7:24 am Trackback URL 2 Comments on Rethinking Church Structure: A Connectivist Approach