Grace Emerges

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blueprint of an Anti-Institutional Church

by Brad Duncan

Blueprint of an Anti-Institutional Church.  What would it look like?
In my last post I described my optimistic view, my hope for the church, that it could re-create itself as an "anti-institution."  Here are some things you might hear in an anti-institutional church service, or read in the church bulletin, or hear people say about the church.  See what you think, maybe add some phrases of your own?
  • Sunday is no different than any other day.  This is building is no different from any other place.  People are people, and the church is people.
  • We enthusiastically welcome you here!  Especially if you are different!  If you have anything YOU think we won't like in your life, please don't worry.  We are a safe haven for you here.
  • We're up here singing and talking, but we're nothing special.  The point of this meeting of fellow Christ-followers is YOU.  This service is for you.  It is to give you an opportunity to participate and explore faith with each other.  What can we as the church leadership, do to help you follow Christ better?  Not a Christ follower?  Just a looker?  It's for you too -- take a look and see what you think.
  • God is not going to be impressed with anything we can do for him/her today by having a church service.  So we're not going to try.  Instead, we will focus this service on YOU, the people whom God wants to give love to.  Worship songs?  Today they're for you, not God.  They are to help you, encourage you, lavish God's love on you, not the other way around.
  • Certainly, God is here with us today.  But God is also present in the homes, streets and ditches of our town at this very moment.  We should not deceive ourselves.  By declaring God's goodness within these walls, we may be doing nothing at all.  God already knows.  The question is, what CAN we do here today that will have value to you.  What can you take with you?
  • If I tell you "the Bible says so" that's not good enough.  Much harm has been done throughout history by apply scriptures with no context, thought, or understanding.  To do good with scripture, means digging for deeper truth.  It's not the easy out.  Like love, like hope, and like faith, it's not complicated, but it's not easy.  You be the judge of truth between you and God.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My hope for the church

by Brad Duncan

I have both optimistic and sarcastic sides to me.  Maybe two sides to the same coin.  On one side I see a problem, that I feel is so obvious but no one else sees.  I want to stand up and shout about it.  On the other side I have hope.  Hope that my thinking is not unique, but part of a waterfall.  What happens when church leaders, church staff and elders, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, start to think more like I do? What happens when the people in the pews start to be hungry for something more relevant, more earthy, more authentic, than sitting in the pews just to be sitting in the pews?

This is my hope for the church.  The waterfall, the tide, the upswing of optimism.  When we start demanding that Christianity be a positive, powerful influence in the world.  When we demand that discipleship means following Christ.  Following Christ not by building a kingdom for man, where we can isolate ourselves and declare God's goodness to blank walls.  Following Christ not by expanding the global domination of the church system, not by opening more franchises where people can pay an entry fee to worship God and see each other doing it, and not by declaring that the entire world must go to our church or suffer eternally.