Monday, July 21, 2008

What is the Church?

Somewhere along the path, churchianity replaced being the Church.
An easy study of the scripture reveals two basic concepts:
Concept #1) the Saints are anyone who names the name of Jesus and trusts in Him. Period.
Read Paul's letters and it becomes quite evident that there is no basis whatsoever for the saintology that has risen out of iconograpically based belief systems.
The Gospel message is pretty simple.
Easily understood by 4 year olds and yet deep enough to baffle the most astute thinkers of history.
Jesus Himself offered the answer in John 6:28-29
Then they said to Him,
"What shall we do, that we may work the works of God ?"

Jesus answered and said to them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

Jesus could have told them anything, be baptized, keep the Law, wear blue on Thursdays and only eat spinach, but He didn't. Much of what we do today smacks of man made traditions, from the separation of sects or denominations to the way our supervisory boards work.
The Acts of the Holy Spirit, (Yes, that's what I call it), and Paul's works show that the early Church was set up according to spiritual gifts and even that rather loosely. The prominent group being the Elders, who shoveled out spiritual food and the Deacons taking care of the physical needs of the body. Simple, right?
Fast forward a few millennium and the State of Nevada controls the articles of incorporation. (Insert wherever you happen to live.)
They "let" you become a Church.
Where's all that talk about separation of Church and State?
Why doesn't the ACLU defend our right to free and open association without State interference? Who told the State that they could levy taxes against the tithe of individuals toward their God?
I'm just askin'.
If Christians have to stay out of gov'mint bizness,
then the gov'mint should keep their noses out of Church bizness.
I'm just sayin'.

Concept #2) The Church is a group of 'called out ones'. Not a building on the corner. Most folk get that, but listen to your own language and the use of the word church over the next month. It rarely means the people, even when you know the difference. We have started I Cor at the Saturday Study and the first thing Paul tackles is the division in the church over who they are following. Martin Luther did not establish the Lutherans. All he wanted was a correct understanding of the scripture. John Wesley would be appalled that a group has co opted his name for their denomination. To paraphrase Paul; Did Wesley die for your sins? Was Luther hung on a tree and shed his blood for you? BY NO MEANS!

Decide in your heart that you will start being the Church and stop going to church.
No, I don't mean to stop going to the Sunday gathering, just a change of reference point.

Karen's Koinonia Connection has started to attract some with similar stories as hers and it has become a point of contact and great encouragement. the kind we should get from a body of believers. Problem is, it aint happenin' on Sunday, it's happenin' on the Blog-O-Sphere.

Next we'll look at the Church model. (continued)


Karen said...

Hey, 52XXL,
Really good stuff! :) John 6:28-29 really captures it all. Somehow I think that many people would prefer it if Jesus did command us to keep the Law, only eat spinach, and wear blue on Thursdays. The tendency is to put God in a controlled box with an "You get this part of me, God" attitude, rather than just believe in Him and love Him with all one's heart, soul, and mind.

Good point about the gov'ment bizness. :)

I am just wondering what has happened to brotherly love and compassion. There are so many Christians who are alone in their struggles and do not share any sense of true connection to the Body of Christ. To be honest with you, I haven't had that "take-care" kind of fellowship since the Perida home fellowship! You and Patty took in a poor, Christian school teacher when she really needed a family (yes, that would be me). :)

It might just be the community that I am in, but it seems like Christians are too busy to stop to see the needs around them. Showing up on Sunday to get something out of the service seems to be the only goal for some.

You are right. If we see ourselves as the Church, then we will take care of its members.

You know who loves ya!

52XXL said...

Hey Bear,
You can pick yer friends but you stuck wit da famly.
That's what is missing in the body today and quite frankly for the last millennium and a half.


Folk don't see themselves as bro and sis. Heck they can barely greet one another with a hug let alone a kiss. Most of it is fear and lack of good teaching. They don't get the concept of being BLOOD relatives. We must teach that sense of BEING the Body of Christ, quite literally. Weep with those who sorrow and rejoice with those who are glad.

"I wanna be your hands,
I wanna be your feet"
Audio Adrenaline

The greatest in the Kingdom is the servant of all. Prob is many Sunday gatherings are based on what I can get out of the service rather than who can I serve today.

When was the last time we saw each other?
Long time.
When we get together all we will do is catch up, not start over with an awkward moment.
There are no secrets, you've heard me snore.

It's up to us, Myra Korte, Susan and all those who have been disassociated to reach out and create community. It only happens when we are the instigators.
If we wait for it, it won't come.
Good things do not come to those who wait, but to those who create.

Wow, I didn't mean to get all cliche'-ish on you. I sound like a bumper sticker or worse, Jesse Jackson.

Patty and I set out to create community on the mountain by example.
That is what Father pushed me into again 7 years ago with the current Study that we do. Most in The Study do not go to our Sunday gathering. We have watched destroyed and broken people come in with no place to call a 'home' and then leave because they God moved in their heart to join a Sunday group after they were built up at The Study.
No kudos to me or Patty, Dad did it all.
And will, if we're willing.
(Sorry, 'nother sticker.)

It's not the community that you live in, it's the lack of a sense of community in the Church (people).
Show them how to do it KareBear.

Karen said...

No new junq this week????? You can't ever be too busy to blog! The blog-0-sphere needs you!

52XXL said...

I took time out to respond to Working Girl's entry on Chivalry being dead.
Speaking of 'what is the Church' . . .
The gist of the response was that chivalrous acts got beat up pretty bad through the 70s. Men got the mixed message and gave up. Now a new generation is complaining that men are not what they used to be, while at the same time claiming to be soft core feminists. Sorry, don't work like that anymore. For me though, it's always a good day to commit random acts of kindness.
See next Bog, . . . . uh, Blog.