Fellowship Church rocks

Maybe you’ve noticed: the church doesn’t have a very good reputation.

One of the reasons that the church doesn’t have a very good reputation is because in many cases it hasn’t earned a good one.  Christians do stupid, heartless, self-centered, Christ-ignoring things.  A lot.

But there’s another reason the church has a lousy reputation.  That reason is this catch-22.

When you’re being all Christ-focused you’re not doing it for the attention.  A church that is doing the right things, for the right reasons, won’t advertise that it’s doing the right thing.  On the other hand, when bad stuff is going down, if we are being principled in our reactions, we are public with our admissions of guilt.

The result is that the church ends up looking worse than it is. 

I want to err on the side of bragging.  I like to think a bragging in Christ, for Christ, which is what we’re told to do.  (Can somebody help me with that verse?  It’s an epistle, I think a Paulian one, where he says “don’t brag about yourself… brag about Christ.) 

The church which I attend and serve in rocks.  I’d like to proclaim that again.  The church I attend rocks.

I’m going to spend a few posts trying to convey the depths and extremes to which my church rocks.  We certainly have our struggles.  To whatever extent we humans are in the drivers seat of the church we’re certainly screwing it up…  but I want to focus on the fact that there are some things being done right in the church, that sometimes Jesus is in the driver’s seat.

Story #1: At Sunday’s outside service, Pastor Marty preached about trying to see problems and issues from a God’s eye view.  And he gave us an experiment to do.

He passed out envelopes.  Inside the envelopes were bills.  One and five and ten dollar bills, and somewhere, a fifty.

(If you’re reading this you might be thinking “O.K., so he put a fifty, a ten dollar bill, and a whole lot of ones.” 

All I can say to this is I know only what three people got.  None of them were one dollar bills.  Not exactly scientific evidence… but it’s highly unlikely that three random people got the only amounts which weren’t one dollar bills.)

He challenged us.  To use the money, however much it was, for somebody other than ourselves.  We weren’t allowed to put it back in the collection plate.  We had to ponder the position from a God’s eye view and use it in the way we feel He would.  Then we have to log what we did at this website.

This would be an awesome exercise even if that’s all it was.  But it’s more than an exercise for us.  It was a profound show of faith and leadership from Marty.  Investing a ton of money in a project such as this is such a beautiful modeling of what Christ was all about: subverting the norm, investing in people, challenging people, taking risks, reversing the status quo.

I haven’t figured out what to do yet with my little envelope.  But it’s really awesome to pray over this decision and be mindful of the question of what to do with it… If it’s appropriate, I’ll share what I do with the money from the envelope in this blog.  And be sure I’ll be revisiting this topic in the next couple days: Fellowship Church rocks.

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Jeff

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

4 thoughts on “Fellowship Church rocks”

  1. Really?!? Did you say that? I was sure you said there were some ones.
    Anyway, that all just further proves my point about how cool it was that you took that step of faith.

    Like

  2. By the way, can I say how cool I think it is when people make quantum physics jokes? This probably more indicates that I’m a geek than it does the joke is cool, but anyway…

    Like

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