Church as Home, Church as Family

Isn’t church supposed to be like a home and our fellow church-goers a family?  In a May 4th post on his blog, “The Accidental Missionary,” Scott Dannemiller argues against that notion, and he makes some interesting points along the way about why mainline churches are losing congregants.  Here’s a couple of excerpts:

“when we think of the church, we see it as ours. Like our home. A possession.”

and

“As church leaders, we must begin to see ourselves as caretakers of sacred ground rather than owners of a house.”

What do you think?  Here’s a link to the post:

The Church is Not Your Home

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Justification by Faith

After our discussion at last week’s St. John 101 session about (amongst other things) Paul’s writings concerning grace, faith and works, I stumbled across this blog post, a daily meditation written by Richard Rohr.

I find comfort in Mr. Rohr’s idea about Paul taking an “outer” God and internalizing God . . .  making God part of our very beings.  Isn’t that what we mean when we talk about a church transforming someone?

Here’s a link to the article.  Do you agree with Mr. Rohr’s other point, that “All people and religions at the early stages try to justify themselves by some form of performance and achievement . . . .”?  Do even Lutherans require Works (with a capital “W”) in order to be justified; not just faith?  Perhaps, as Mr. Rohr implies, justification through faith is a more mature concept based on total faith in the grace granted from an all-loving God?

Justification by Faith

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Coming to Terms

Just read an inspiring piece in the April edition of The Lutheran.  In her column, “Coming to Terms with the Times,” ELCA Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton ruminates about something she is asked quite a bit:  how do we save the church?

Things have certainly changed in the our society since the “glory days” of mainline churches, like the church started by Martin Luther.  I agree wholeheartedly with the Bishop’s conclusions, especially that we sometimes get caught up in just keeping things going, maintaining what we have; instead of reaching outside of the church doors to share God’ love with those in need.  Of course, we know the church isn’t the building, and, even though we revel in our church family, the church isn’t just the people . . . it’s more than you and me.

It’s not my church or your church. This is God’s church. As the Bishop points out, we invite others to be part of our community “—not because we want to grow or pay for the boiler or attract young people,” but because we want all of us to be transformed.

Here’s a link to the article.  Do you agree with Bishop Eaton?  Has “Jesus become like wallpaper,” something that’s just there that no one talks about?  How can we see God at work in the the world, and share the good news of God’s love with others?

Coming to Term with the Times

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St. David’s Needs Help

Just received this email from Merryn.  How can we help?

“The 4 alarm fire of apartment building in NE Philly is My Philly church, St David Lutheran  Church diagonal neighbor. You can exit church without looking across at our neighbors.
St David is the church where the victims were interviewed and shown being put on bus on TV.

Please pray for saved lives and those who have lost their home.  Pray for the safety of firefighters, police, EMTs.  These are the rescuers who protect our Philly neighborhood.  One engine company and Medic unit is one block down street.

Talk about who are our neighbors?
If I was in religious slavery I would still be hiding behind walls and never see the variety of loving our neighbor.

Thanks for prayers”

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Love God with your mind? Freedom or Slavery?

Considering our conversation at this morning’s 101 session concerning loving God with our minds, free will, lifting of the spirit leading to freedom, and the close-minded, closed inward approach of some churches, I thought you might be interested in this article entitled, “Why Fundamentalist Christians Fear Intellectualism.”

http://www.liberalamerica.org/2015/03/14/fundamentalists-fear-intellectualism

What do you think?  Do Fundamentalist christians put up a wall against any thinking outside of their own dogma?  Does that mean they don’t love God with their whole mind?  Do we close our own minds to new ideas or practices just because “we’ve never done it that way?”

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Young Evangelicals Coming Back?

The author of this “Christian Pundit” blog thinks that young Christians that were brought up in non-denominational “evangelical” churches are turning their backs on their parents’ churches and are going over to Catholicism and high Anglicanism/Lutheranism in droves.

Do you think there’s any truth to this?  Have we seen it happening at St. John?

http://thechristianpundit.org/2013/07/17/young-evangelicals-are-getting-high

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Non-Judgement and Christianity

After our discussion at St. John 101 this past Sunday morning (3/8), I found this Henri Nouwen blog post in my inbox:

“One of the hardest spiritual tasks is to live without prejudices.”

http://wp.henrinouwen.org/daily_meditation_blog/?p=3591

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