Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pentecostals...?

From Steve Addison at Movements.net

Pentecostalism, like early Methodism before it, often improves the lot of the poor. Typically the mother of the household converts first, followed by her children. If her husband follows he is more than likely to stop drinking, gambling, womanizing and becomes more engaged in family life. Household income rises and the whole family is better off.

Pentecostalism is a religion of the people. Again, like early Methodism and evangelicalism generally, it is the democratization of the faith. Everyone has direct access to God, the scriptures, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

When a strong emphasis on the community of faith and human dignity is added to the mix, social transformation becomes an unintended consequence.

Religion can be an opiate for the oppressed masses (Marx) but more often evangelicalism and Pentecostalism have proven to be powerful forces for change.

As Pentecostals become upwardly mobile—better educated and more affluent—they no longer see the world as a place from which to escape. They tend to want to make the world a better place to live.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I have an idea.

Now if you want to get on board, you should. It is going to be grrrr-eat!

Coming soon. The Bible study blog. Very original, no?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday Mornings.

Sunday morning are miserable. Usually I am waking up with a major hangover from Saturday night. Too many beers. Just kidding. I'm not a drinker. (PS, can someone come up with another social beverage besides coffee and alcohol? I don't like either but feel silly ordering a coke, water or hot chocolate when out meeting with friends...)

It's true though, some activity has kept us awake late Saturday night and we're all tired Sunday morning. Last night it was picking up the in-laws from the airport. The problem is the circadian rhythm my body is dialed into waking me up every morning at 7. So I get up, followed closely by the boy. Then it begins...

For over 30 years I have gotten up and gone to church on Sunday morning. Often I have looked forward to it. For the last 10+ I have had something to do with putting that service on. Some kind of active role in serving the service. So I'm ready to activate. But now nothing. No where to go, nothing to do. My wife is more than pleased to catch up on sleep. Apparently she was born without circadian rhythm and could sleep for a month if I let her.

I'm up and it hits. Guilt. Guilt that I should be somewhere. Guilt that I should be pastoring my family better. Guilt over leaving the last fellowship. Guilt over failures in ministry.

So I get on the computer every Sunday morning and I am determined to find a church. Only to look at the same exact websites week to week. Always with mounting frustration. I don't want to go to the place that has "the made over" starbucks logo that says "saviour" instead of Starbucks with a guy on a cross rather than that mermaid girl. I don't want to go to the place that has a $15 million dollar media budget. I don't want to go to the place that has the gospel listed 7th on the values of the church. I don't want to go to the place that has 17 people supporting a 92,000 squarefoot money pit with a leaky roof. I don't want to go to the place where there is a guy that teaches and that is the sole ministry (practically) of the church. Or the place that's key slogan is "Church for people that hate church".

Once again I must digress and confess. I'm broken. I know not to judge a church on whether they preach topically or "line by line! Precept by PRECEPT!!" Whether they have a horribly cheesy website that offers no information and was built of a Tandy 300 tape deck computer with a black and white TV in 1987. Whether they have a kids ministry called "Zapped" and every other ministry is an acronym for something. Whether their exterior is painted mauve or has a cross the size of Montana (with a accompanying ground lighting).

I know. I know. I KNOW!!! And I feel guilty about this! I do! I freely add this onto my list of other things I feel guilty about on Sunday mornings!

I just want a church that is:
  • Centered and focused on the Gospel. God plan to reconcile the world to himself. Titus 3:3-7. Not extra biblical issues. About the point of the story. Every story in the bible. About Jesus and how this story is for people entering the Kingdom and for believers that have been around for 8o years. But not necessarily a place that lords "their love for the true Gospel" over everyone. That's kind of annoying.
On a side note. I really fear the word "gospel" unfortunately is going the way of "evangelical", "charismatic" and a bunch of other terms. All polluted by stereotypes and misconceptions. But that happens when people have been tagging "gospel" onto everything else. Prosperity, Full-gospel, foursquare gospel ;), liberation gospel...
  • About helping one another. That is what leadership is. People that have a gift helping people that need that gift. It's not solely by preaching from a pulpit. Jesus preached some sermons, yes. But a majority of what he did was helping people along. Encountering them, revealing their heart and pointing them to the Father.
More on preaching: I love it. I could listen to the greats everyday of the week on my drive to work. Many, many times I have been blessed and challenged from a Sunday morning sermon. I love it. My fantasies involve preaching messages that pierce hearts and cause people to wail and faint. Really. But practically... If the majority of church meets together, and the majority of their church experience is made up of the listening to the same guy talk week after week after week after week after week after pouring in a majority of their resources to make this happen... and now we have the technology to broadcast that guy onto every wall that has two nails to hold up a screen? There just seem to be some inequity in that. The overall lack of fruit that exists in culture after this dominant model has prevailed for what...? 1000 years? (and no, unnamed church that doesn't have a sermon but a "conversation" about Matrix movies... you don't get off the hook)

  • About discipleship. Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them... Not erect huge buildings, not... a lot of things. Churches should be the fruit of discipleship. They should happen out of them. We should be inviting people into our lives and not to a building to hear some guy talk cause we can't ourselves. Because we can't explain anything.
  • About meaningful, tested and deep relationships. That withstand offense and disagreement and demonstrate the love of the Father that people can't see besides. (1 John)
I'm sure this place exists near my home... (Oh yeah, I want one close to my house. I'm not driving to some other community 30+ minutes away) I'm sure, and I've probably looked at their website by now a dozen times. But... my eyes are probably blinded because I have a hard heart right now and God doesn't want me there stinking the place out. But I miss it. I know it exists somewhere. Not sure. Maybe that place in Oklahoma (which is more than 30 minutes away from my house.)

So back to my Sunday morning routine. It's currently 10:17 and 90% of the church universe local to me just began their worship "celebration". God bless them. Keep them. Sustain them. Point them to you Lord. Point me to you. Salvage me again Lord. Include me into your rescue plan. Again. I do love your people Lord. I just don't love the nonsense. The fluff. The extra stuff that confuses me from see you in your body. Help me not to grow more hostile. Help me to help others. To be helped by other. I plead this Lord. In your Sons name. Amen.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A prayer.

So some stuff that is going on with the Hugh.
  • Not much! Actually I'm getting sick of saying that. People say, "what's new with you!?" and I say, "Nothing! Doing the exact same thing as a year ago. Same jobs, same schools, same depression, same apathy!" It is starting to grate on me a bit. I am hating it actually. What's new with me? Well, me and the boy are going to the bottle depot today! Woo hoo.
  • The biggest difference from a year ago is that we are no longer going to our old church. And as a matter of fact, not going at all. I thought it might be a life giving thing to find a new fellowship for the discipleship of my family, but it hasn't been. It's actually been a vortex of suck. But staying there was equally difficult because we aren't in sync with what is happening there. Eventually this "lack of sync" would have manifested itself in some sort of grief to someone. And there has been too much grief there already.
  • People are starting to wonder and worry about or lack of church attendance and all. Wondering where and when we will be somewhere on Sunday. When are we going to church? I would love to do church. And I love being a part of the church. I'm just not sure I'm thrilled with attending some social event that happens at 10am on Sunday morning where people sing and listen. I want deep fellowship, deep gospel, deep discipleship and deep helping others. (Not necessarily in that order). I don't want deep bureaucracy, deep budgets, deep lectures and deep facades.
Listen, I know "no where is perfect". I know that and I don't want to be that guy. You know, the one who only listens to this "preacher" from Oklahoma via cassette that he gets from his friend, (who isn't really his friend, just the closest other almost member of the remnant, that lives nearby and isn't "almost" deceived by the anti-Christ and knows all about the secret bible code.) I don't want to be that guy. But I don't want to be the guy that just settles for what everyone else settles for because it's the most "practical" way to do it, and heck we've been doing it this way since Constantine, so something must be working right!

Nope, I want simple church that doesn't look like a meeting of the nut jobs that carry on about hating the traditional church. That want to read "the shack" rather than Galatians. That have set Defcon 9 in order to prevent any sort of form of a leader from emerging and showering toxic religiosity on everyone else.

And I want a traditional church that doesn't look like it was opened and put together out of a box. Where there is this one, charismatic good looking guy who speaks great and has a detailed list of how his church will grow down to which song will be sung on the third Sunday in April in 2015. Feel free to come and listen and let me shape your life.

I know these are stereotypes. That is one of the curses of being in church exodus limbo hell. You tend to get wrapped up in stereo types. It sucks. But what do you do?

I hope and pray there will be a resolution for this soon. It is much more complicated than what I've described here. Actually what I've written here makes everything look pretty shallow. The amount of time that I've invested thinking about this can't be described. It's pretty obscene. I might describe it as a stronghold actually. All that to say I would love some freedom. Hopefully, if I knew the way out I hope I'd take it.

God. Your probably the only one who is reading this. And really it's all just a broken prayer to you anyway. You know my wicked heart. It truly is deceitful above all things. It want to worship the world more that you. So often I love such base things more than you. Chips, talk radio and Facebook. The dodgers, the internet and my library book get more attention and love than you do.

There is a deep place in my heart that is reserved for you though. And I wish that it would grow. Let all others find there death with Christ on the cross. Let the fantastic imaginations and visions I have in my heart of serving you only finally be born. And when they find their way in my life please protect them from the devourer who seeks to kill. Let the seeds of your Spirit be planted in good soil bearing a great harvest for your Glory.

Please let my family live directly in your will, being lead by you Holy Spirit.

I ask all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bck in the game.

I'm thinking this might be a good time to revive this beast.