Showing us the way?

The global Church seems to be captivated with bringing witness to Christ. In contrast, the American Church, as a whole, seems more preoccupied with the mechanics of the widgets of Christendom. As the majority world Church grows rapidly through our brothers and sisters among the nations, their purer, primal Christianity shows us our need for the rediscovery of the primal expressions of Christianity in North America.

Here is the whole post.

Thoughts?

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5 thoughts on “Showing us the way?

  1. Spot on…

    What this misses are the reasons both of these sets of phenomena are happening. The deal is the US Church, like the Churches in Europe from which most of us came, was all about building institutions nearly from the beginning and supported by a variety of cultural and political arrangements in doing just that. The churches in Asia and Africa, for a whole variety of reasons, have not been– indeed, in many places in Asia, the churches have been explicitly opposed in their attempts to build institutions of any kind.

    The take away here isn’t about institutions. At least it isn’t for me. You actually DO need the church building some institutions to keep promoting its mission beyond the lifetime if its original member/participants. The difference has much more to do with social location and the degree to which different cultural settings for the church reward (or prohibit) different behaviors from the church. Building institutions in the US and Europe was extraordinarily positively rewarded by church and “society” alike– so it’s kind of no wonder churches here have built lots of them, and in fact continue to do so, while letting others fall into ruins. Building disciples here was actually neither rewarded NOR opposed– internally or externally, at least after the first generation or so of “post-Revolutionary” churches in what would be the US. Meanwhile, in Asia, in particular, building institutions is strongly opposed, and even building disciples can be externally opposed while it is also internally highly prized. That intrinsic reward mechanism– so long as it can be sustained– will enable that disciple-building dynamic to continue to some degree and potentially across generations even in the absence of institutions– though having a few good institutions could probably make some of that effort become more efficient and effective.

    • I don’t know if I’ve ever thought of this next point before. You shared that “You actually DO need the church building some institutions to keep promoting its mission beyond the lifetime if its original member/participants.” I’ve thought the same thing before for sure.

      As I read that today though I wondered where God is in that. I’ve heard that we’ve planned and programmed so that “church” works even if God doesn’t show up. (I’d hesitate to say He doesn’t show up, but back to the point..)

      In one sense building long term structures is a sign of great faith. What do you do if Jesus is coming back tomorrow? Plant a tree.

      In the other though I wonder if we don’t really believe that God will raise up others in the future to do what he has called us to? Do we think God will forget?

      (This isn’t a well developed idea yet, but it seemed worth sharing.)

  2. Generally speaking, I prefer an automotive mechanic who knows how to use his/her widgets. Should I take my car to the more primal neighbor down the road who has only a crowbar to fix my muffler? Our problems are not purity or our lack of primal nature. Our problem is that we refuse to say who we are. Every growing group of Christians in the world, so far as I can tell, share one thing in common. They are dogmatic. They know what they believe, and they share what they believe. We have equated being Wesleyan to having no firm theology or dogma, which necessarily leads to a lack of vision and focus.

  3. I do know that we have unnecessarily complicated things and lost track of the

    I wish I could go to that conference. If they have it again in the future I will attend.

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