Monday, March 21, 2005

Values in relation to community

This is part of another comment section on JP's Blog.... I guess I am feeling lazy today and this is the most inspired thinking I can muster.

We have great freedom in Christ... but not all things are beneficial. The main point is do we accept those who do not fit our idea of the "Christian" or do we cram them into “our” image of Christ.
I believe when one is in Christ, one has the Holy Spirit to guide them... but also God wants us to have fellowship with one another.
In Emerging thought we call this community. Each community must find its "values". In some community it may be important that we learn to approach "middle class peoples" in some the homeless. One friend calls his "People" his "tribe”. Issues of the early churches varied with every church... not all had the same problems...Galatians battled legalism while Corinth well battle a too permissive Grace. (A man amongst you brags about sleeping with his father’s wife?!...Slight paraphrase).
I was in a service last Sunday where the pastor was trying to explain that we live by principles... not rules... I tapped my wife on the shoulder and she turned and said what I was thinking... "Don’t we live by the life of Christ?"
From the outsider looking in principles and rules are the same thing... there is no difference.
We as a church must learn to understand our culture and reach out to it... embrace the "seekers" and bring them into community.
Kristin brought up music. Great example.
If one is reaching out to the death metal culture... then we need to understand it. The difference is that though I can't relate to that "style", others might, and reach those yet to find Christ. I know many who do not enjoy Miles Davis as I do. My wife always asks... "Can we listen to something else?" I always say, "He's a jazz giant". In other words she would not relate to that part of the "Jazz" community.
The idea is to accept the people and bring them into community that leads to developing values of that community that in turn can reach out and reach more people of the culture around us.
To many churches have isolated themselves from culture and wonder why no one enters their doors. One church in Billings thinks that their church growth program is to keep the church from growing.... literally! I think without realizing it many churches do this or send the signal to their community this message.
I find it interesting that Jesus was condemned for sitting with people the religious people would not accept. Jesus said it was the sick that need the Doctor…not the well. The issue is that we are all sick.
In some ways we have gotten too attached to the idea of how we “do church” here in America. I was told I did not have a church because I had too few members… and meet at a coffee shop. Yet, I recall sitting in a church that had about 6 people sitting in the pews and thinking that these people had nothing to do with each other outside of church and seemed to be content with their “religious duty” of attending church.
The idea of community is the development of the people in the fellowship. In other words growth. Will mistakes be made on the way? You betcha! (as we say in Montana).
That is all a part of growth.


JP said...

hmmm. this post sounds familiar :-) I made a response to it over at my blog, I shall copy/paste it over here....

JP said...

"I am no fan of death metal...but if that music can help lead someone to Christ, then so be it. Screaming is not for me but hey, it may be for you. Many in the churches of Christ strive not to be the definition of what is known as a"seeker-friendly" community church. As long as we are not going against the Word of God, shouldnt we strive to be that type of church, trying to get people to reach and hear the gospel....I dunno. Postmodernism scares me a bit, more so because I do not fully understand it. I hear folks defining post-modernism as no absolute truth or at least that verbage is redundant..... Fill me in if my understanding of it is off track."

iggy said...

I believe there are groups today who were afraid of change... the Amish. Most their communities still use horse and buggy... and do not accept "modern" technology.
I think we in the "modern" church are like that in many ways.
About absolute truth...
Brian McLaren in his book "More ready than you realize" puts is like this...(not a quote) it is not that Postmoderns do not believe in truth or Absolute Truth, but that if we see Truth we corrupt it with our own perception. Another friend... john o'keefe of ginkworld has an article where he explains this a little more..sorry abou the cut and paste

hope that helps a bit.

JP said...

thanks man, I will check out that articles. I have read both of his "A New Kind of Christian" books, awaiting the release the 3rd.

Hugo said...

I think we need to learn to become all things to all people - approach them where they're at, instead of always asking them to come to our comfort place (church). When we value what others value, it becomes easier to engage them in conversation.

Short, I know - trying to get work done on our school newsletter, but taking a quick break to scan my blog list. :-)

Blessings & Peace,

iggy said...

Yeewsa! ding! ding! ding!
Hugo, spot on...You said it much clearer than I have.
The church is so fixated on "come to us" but Jesus said to "go". are we upside down or what?
I am not against "seeker churches" or "purpose driven" I see they have their place... and value. But, we need to "go". In a way that is why I meet with my "church" at a coffee house. We are out. I see a time for privacy and a time for worship that is not a spectacle but we need to tangibly reach out to the community around show Christ.
Get this... on my blog there is a link to xxxchurch. these guys (with their wives there to keep them accountable) go to porn festivals and set up a booth that talks about porn addiction and how to get help... they are reaching out to the porn industry... does this mean they need to go out and buy porn to understand it? no. But, the concept of "going" and reaching a people who value sex and then helping them to learn of the proper and higher values that sex can have... beside degrading and conquring and having power.
So with that, "go" find your people.