Not only can your food experience be organic, but so can your church experience! He he he he he…I’m just kidding around. (Though Organic is such a buzz word these days, isn’t it?)
I am highly interested in the concepts that Frank Viola, George Barna, Rob Bell and others are proposing regarding the Christian Church as a unit/organization/institution (notice I did not say “corporate”?) and how it is expressing itself today. I’ve been especially fascinated with the Christian Church in North America and how it expresses itself/what that means for the future for about the last 6+ years.
Last spring I read a book that Viola and Barna wrote called “Pagan Christianity:Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices” (Thanks for letting me borrow it Trav!). It rocked my world in terms of what I think about church, The Church, and all the things that swirl around those terms and my experiences in and with them.
In the past 4 years my opinion and convictions about church have deeply changed (Influences of that change have been Dan Allender, Rob Bell, Frank Viola, George Barna and even Donald Miller-and new ways at looking at the Bible). I may regret saying this later, but I’m so annoyed with churches who only focus on discipleship and never have a serious means with which to put all that “learning” into play. I can only say that from past experiences coupled with my present experiences. What I mean is this: when I look at what Jesus did with his disciples and when I see what the early church began to do in Acts, I don’t see a bunch of people who excluded people or who sit and just increase their knowledge of God. What I see are people who teach one another and invite others in WHILE they are still moving in and through the world. I see people who bring others along side and I see people who are willing to put themselves “out there” by helping people, real people, who are struggling with life right there in their own communities.
Anyway, Christianity Today has apparently been interviewing Frank Viola regarding his perspectives on Organic Church. Here’s a quote from the article that was compelling:
Reggie McNeal once put it, “A growing number of people are leaving the institutional church for a new reason. They are not leaving because they have lost their faith. They are leaving the church to preserve their faith.”
WHOA! That’s a scary thought! Christians intentionally leaving the church because they are so disillusioned with their church experience? And yet, I get that.
My small group Bible study has just started reading “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am so excited to challenge myself and my thoughts on what Jesus’s followers are called to look like as The Church. Last week, we started by asking a series of questions about what we currently think the Church’s role is and why and how it looks as it does. Later, when we are done with the book we plan to compare notes and see how our opinions have changed.
I feel deeply convicted that we as Christ’s Church must constantly be asking ourselves if we look like what we are called to look like, if we are functioning like the Bible calls us to function and if we are loving like we are called to love. And if we aren’t, I hope that we will have the guts and the courage to go against the tide and against “tradition” to rid ourselves of everything that hinders us. It’s hard to go against the tide, but what is right isn’t always easy (unfortunately!).
I know this is kind of a deep post and way off my usual topic pool, but I am excited about it because sometimes, I just think I have it all together. Boy is that not true! It’s nice to be challenged and have to ask myself if I am helping or hindering Christ’s Church. My biggest question right now is if I am hindering it, what am I going to do about it!? We shall see!