25 Apr

Yesterday Paul wrote an excellent post called The People Known As Christians, it is very honest and true, and I appreciated reading it. Prior to Paul’s post I had been thinking quite a bit during the day as I felt very convicted after I read a comment on my blog from Paul (yes the same one – he’s got a great heart!). His words made me realize that emerging/missional Christians seem to be constantly criticising institutional church (IC). I would like to apologise to anyone who I have offended with my words – I am not meaning to bad mouth IC at all. I have some wonderful friends who are part of IC, and who will probably always be part of it. IC has blessed me and my family in many ways over the years through friendships, Christian community, prayer, and indeed financially. If it was not for IC, then most of us would not have become Christians. There are some very beautiful things which have come from institutional church – it is part of our heritage and history and we should embrace it. I don’t want new forms of church – emerging/missional – to be about constantly knocking down IC. The IC is part of the Bride of Christ, and He will continue to work through it. We need to recognise what we have gained from our walk in the IC, but embrace the fact that to reach the next generations (and maybe for our own sanity!) we have to do something new. IC hasn’t got it right, and we probably won’t either, but we are all One Body.

This morning as I checked my daily reader I saw that John Smulo had written an excellent post on similar things to what I was thinking about yesterday. After reading John’s post I thought, either God is doing something here through some people to encourage emerging/missional folk to focus on their tasks and not criticize the past, or He is just trying to talk to me! The reason many of us have moved away from IC is because we are frustrated with the system, we are pained because, as Eddie Gibbs recently wrote, The Great Commission has almost become The Great Omission in most IC’s. The ways in which people have moved out from IC and have been church – when I write church here, I mean the Body of Christ, can look quite different. Some communities still have a weekly service – though nothing like a “traditional service”, they have a church building etc but they are engaging with their community, the culture around them and are being church (the Body of Christ) within their local area. Other communities are really engaging within their communities/cultures, being church (the Body of Christ), and they meet up as a community as and when – 2 – 3 times one week, maybe not at all the following – there is no set day or time, it just happens, like relationships do.

Wolfgang Simson wrote in his book Houses That Change The World, “instead of bringing more people to the church, we should be bringing church to the people.” As Christians within the emerging/missional community we need to focus on our relationships within our church community – being real, open and honest, sharing the journey. As well as this we need to get out there in our communities and really be, really serve, whatever the cost. Jamie Arpin-Ricci has a great post on this today.  Whilst people are detoxing from IC they will experience and be vocal about different emotions, hurts etc. As John wrote though, there needs to come a time for closure, so that we can productively move ahead.  (sorry, long post!)


9 Responses to “Church”

  1. Paul April 25, 2007 at 15:20 #

    lol, clearly a great heart and a serious blog addiction 😉

    i loved mr smulo’s post too – i know a lot of people are in transition and are quite hurt so of course we’re gonna wanna unload, detox and recover. I know i went through alot of anger myself at church. But maybe a time is coming when we start defining ourselves by what we are not but what we are, and then as we do these things realise that we too have our flaws and blindspots 🙂

  2. Paul April 25, 2007 at 15:20 #

    oh and thank you for your words about me and my post! 🙂

  3. lynhallewell April 25, 2007 at 15:25 #

    Well said!

  4. John Smulo April 26, 2007 at 00:25 #

    great thoughts Lyn. I think God is speaking to us all! That Paul has a great heart indeed, he’s always keeping me in check with my negativity.

    thanks for the feedback on my post 🙂

  5. sonja April 26, 2007 at 02:29 #

    Lyn … love this post almost as much as your previous! 😉

    Thank you as well for your kind words on my post. I do understand the need to process, grieve and reorient … I simply don’t want us all to get stuck in that place. I also want us all to remember where we came from and who our Lover is, as you so eloquently pointed out here.

  6. Dave April 26, 2007 at 08:57 #

    You are spot on Lyn, especially the ‘time for closure bit’. This is so crucial, yet I for one have wanted some vindication, some justice (though rarely now), because I felt ripped off that I had given so friggin much of my life to the IC, just to have it all ripped off chewed up and spat back in my face.

    Yet the response of Jesus to similar actions is my ideal response and I’m a lot closer now than I was yesterday, but by God’s grace tomorrow will find me even closer than today.

    The most difficult thing for me has been that I found some security in nursing my hurts and injustice, it gave me a place to belong, to have identity, I belonged to the ‘church of the displaced’. Now I do not have that I find myself in a place that is very unusual, for without the IC, or without my hurts, I am alone, and I have found myself just sitting on the beach with Jesus cooking fish and a few disciples hanging around.

    Is this enough? Doesn’t matter really, ‘cos this is all there is. It really was, right from the beginning, only ever and completely all about Jesus!

    So for all who are struggling to be free from the IC, and who may be tearing garments when you feel the hurts that you have suffered I say this…live in that hurt, feel it and embrace it, it is part of the grieving process, you (we) will come out the other side, we will all one day gather on that beach and Jesus will always continue to send us out in ones and two’s without much gear, he really is all we, you, I need.

    Big Up for Jesus


  7. lynhallewell April 26, 2007 at 10:46 #

    John – thanks for your encouragement – you have a great heart too!

    Sonja – you are so right, we shouldn’t get stuck in this place.

    Dave – thanks for your thoughts, and for sharing your experience. You are right, He is all we need.

  8. tina April 26, 2007 at 15:57 #

    It is always good to be gracious. But also, we are not responsible for those who choose to be offended by things that are not directed at them personally. A call to dismantle a system that was never really ordained or instituted by God is not a personal statement against anyone, but instead against a “thing.” We need to be able to call it what it is, while still embracing and loving the zeal and dedication of the people who happen to be a part of it.

    It is not because of the IC that we have become Christians, it is because of the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. If we were to become believers, it would have happened regardless of the IC. The IC is a thing, it is not a part of the Bride, although the Bride may for now be a part of the IC.

    The IC has not blessed us, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing through Jesus, who uses our systems and foibles in spite of ourselves. That doesn’t make the system right, though.

    Offered in love.

  9. lynhallewell April 26, 2007 at 16:25 #

    Very goode points Tina, thank you.

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