Being The Church

Sadly we, the church, spend too much time debating how to do church as opposed to actually being the church. Do we sing traditional songs, contemporary songs, or modern songs? Do we build a building, do we not build a building? Do we let women serve in positions of leadership or do we not? The list goes on.

I appreciate the words of Brian McLaren when asked, How would you suggest that the church work in a postmodern world?

His reply was a refreshing.

"A good start would be for us to talk less about being Christians and more about being followers of Jesus. If we were to actually live the way Jesus taught us to live, it would humble us. We can be very proud if we understand the right doctrines and have certain opinions. But when we deal with the very nitty-gritty of living the way Jesus taught us, none of us can act very proud. We would start taking seriously the things Jesus said about caring for the poor. If we see our neighbor in need, we go and do what we can to help. The most important thing is that we stop being content as members of the Christian religion and actually aspire to start living in the way of Jesus."

The interview with McLaren can be found in it's entirety at Beliefnet.

Let's live more like Jesus and less like the church.


The Armchair Theologian said...

My goodness gracious. Brian McLaren this, Brian McLaren that. Okay. You want "very nitty-gritty of living the way Jesus taught"? I'll give you MY nitty gritty:

I AM out there reaching the poor and living like Jesus did. So, I lead a bunch of homeless/street people/mormons/witches to the Lord. I front the cash to put them through night courses so they can get jobs, or raise support for them to go to Bible college, or find them places to live when their families disown them (and pay their rent) or whatever. I spend 2 years disciplining them. Then one day in a bible study, one of the women says that she feels 'called' to be a pastor but she read 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and is confused. She wants to know why the Bible says something bad about women and is confused as to how God can give her a 'call' and yet forbid it at the same time.

So how do I get through that situation without theology? Where's Brian McLaren now? What do I do Brian? How do I get through that by 'simply living like Jesus lived'?

Or another example. All the street people/ex-homeless/ex-mormons/ex-witches/etc. that I've lead to the Lord, along with dozens of others that my friends have lead to the Lord, are having a meeting (ie. a Sunday night service in our emergent church). We want to sing some worship songs and one of the guys wants us to sing "Jesus Walks" by Kayne West as a worship song. Many of us object simply becasue the song has profanity in it but he counters that the song isn't like 400 years old and boring and it 'speaks to him' because it's so 'real' and he 'feels it'. I mean, THAT is a modern 'worship' song. It's also very religious and has a positive spiritual message. But, I'm worried about singing 'shit' in a worship song me old fashioned, but I'm kinda uncomfortable with swearing while I'm praising the Lord. So, how DO we decide what songs to sing?

I wish you emergent guys would spend more time REALLY struggling through the issues and DEALING with the problems and less time doing impressions of Yoda. Brian McLaren has written lots and lots of books and I've met a lot of 'intellectuals' that eat him up. If I had a dime for every time I asked these questions to emergent church types and got either blank stares or 'WWJD' answers, I'd be blogging from my Scottish castle in Tahiti. My problem is that none of his answers work any better than the ones we're all rebelling against. The whole 'let's BE the church, not be IN the church' stuff sure sounds profound, and I even agree with it. The stupid problem is answering the question of how in the world do we do that by reducing all of Christianity to a new credo/orientation? The minute we face the same problems again, and they DO come back with a vengence, we immediately fall back into the same ruts and struggles.

One day soon I'm going to write a book on all this. Until then, I need some answers. Anyone got any out there?

Brian Eberly said...

That's fantastic that you are out there ministering to those in need.

I'm also glad you are wrestling with some harder theological questions. Fantastic. I wrestle with you.

I have no problem with working through theology. We need to study it and work on figuring out what we believe. We must not allow ourselves to become arrogant though, because of it.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly." 2 Timothy 2:15-16

What troubles me is when people are so caught up in being right in what they believe, that they forget to be good and loving with their life.

I'm glad you are giving your life to loving people. Never stop. That IS what Jesus did and "would do."

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