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Puddle Jumper
11-07-2005, 07:40 AM
I think the topic has been discussed in various threads but I'm not sure there is a thread specifically about this. I'm curious as to how many Christians on this board do not go to church because they're burnt out on church? You still love God, but things have happened in your experience with churches that makes you just not want to go. You feel like saying, "I love God, I'm just not crazy about all by siblings."

I'm one who fits into this category. I got burnt out on church. After the third church I was a member of forced one of its pastors out under bad circumstances and in every church, it was a pastor who I'd come to respect and care about, I found my heart couldn't take it. And having no one in the church care one ounce about me made me feel the lonliest I'd ever felt in my entire life. But I haven't given up on God because I know enough to know that humans fall short and that you can't look at humans and think that God is the same way.

I wish I could find a church where people embraced the truth and were filled with love and humility.

There's a song that I like on the "My Utmost for His Highest" album. The song is titled "Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds" and is sung by Steven Curtis Chapman.


Sometimes he comes in the rain and we question the pain and wonder why God can seem so far away. But time will show us, he was right here with us.
I have come to feel that the reason why I have experienced this, why I have come to a place where I seem to loathe the idea of going to church is so that I can relate to the many people in the world who also have experienced a burn-out on church. Online especially I seem to meet a lot of these people and have found it comforting to know I'm not alone in feeling this way.

Lyra Jean
11-07-2005, 09:46 AM
I am not burnt out on church. I can never stay awake long enough to figure out what is going on. (I may have narcolepsy and I'm looking into it to see if I can fix my problem.)

Why do I go? I have a good christian boyfriend who wants me to stay strong in my faith. He tries very hard to help me stay awake and sometimes I do.

kelker11
11-08-2005, 07:43 AM
Every church I've attended has either been very clique-ish (reminding me of high school where you had to be one of the cool kids to belong), had extreme ideals that didn't coincide with what I believe, or was dead (I might as well have been in a meeting at work for all the Spirit I felt there). Sometimes around here, it seems like the church's extra-cirricular activities actually outweigh the services.

I'd like to think I just haven't found the right church--I am praying that God will direct me to a good one, where His Spirit lives, people are loving and kind...you know, the kind of church you visual when you think "I want to go to church". People on fire for Him. That's what I want.

I live in Georgia, south of Atlanta, in the Henry County area. So if anyone knows of a church like that around here--PLEASE email me.

Di

Tim Dixon
11-08-2005, 08:03 AM
I don't want to sound rude, but maybe you should think about church being a place where you can be of service and love to others an not a place that has to feed you. It feels like, at least in America, the church has to be a feel-good place that fulfills some emotional need for the members. I don't see that as a Biblical model for the Church. I also am not criticizing anyone in particular, just challenging you to look beyond your own needs and try to figure out how you might bless someone else.

Puddle Jumper
11-08-2005, 08:09 AM
I'd like to think I just haven't found the right church--I am praying that God will direct me to a good one, where His Spirit lives, people are loving and kind...you know, the kind of church you visual when you think "I want to go to church". People on fire for Him. That's what I want.
Imagine the kind of church we could form if everyone who felt as we did formed our own church?

I haven't gone to my church in quite some time. But there were certains things I didn't like. In my favorite service (favorite mainly because of the music style of worship they used which was unique from all the other services) the people in charge up on stage would usually say every week not to worry, they would get us out of there on time for the big game. That bothered me. If I would rather watch a game on tv than be in church, I'd stay home. I go to church because I'm passionate for the Lord and worshiping Him with other believers. I'm not eager to get back home to do something else.

On the flip side, in the other services the pastor has a tendancy to drone on and on and is very politically minded - one of his biggest passions is to inspire the congregation to get politically active. I don't go to church to hear a sermon about getting politically active. I want a sermon that will help me grow spiritually, teach me how to walk the walk and not how to vote.

I hate seeing cliques in church. I've never liked them and I rather despise them. In my experience when I find people who become close friends, neither them or myself exclude anyone else from hanging out with us. I've been in groups of friends where people come and go but they go on their own, we don't push them away. When I feel pushed away I feel sad, though it is their problem and not mine.

I think some of the worst people for being "cliquish" are pastors and pastors wives. The excuse that I've heard is that because everyone wants to be their friend, they can't be friends with everyone. And what they end up doing is promoting cliquiness. (Is that a word?) I'm sure that could feel overwhelming at times being in a leadership position where everyone wants a piece of your time, some who would like to develop a deeper friendship with you. But my thought in the matter is if I were in such a position where so many people were wanting to be my friend - "Who am I to turn anyone away?"

If I trust God, I will trust God to guide these people. If they seem to really want to be friends with me and get to know me, then maybe I should take that as a sign that God has put that person in my life for me to befriend, perhaps mentor and be a role-model. But usually I see pastors and their wives don't want to befriend people who seem desperate for friendship, people who are needy for positive Christian relationships.

Which really throws out what the Bible says that we are to live as broken people. What I see is pastors and their wives wanting friends who are mature, they want to raise leaders up to lead others, they don't want to deal directly with the little people. So I think they lead by example and this example is passed to those that they lead many times.

In my experience, I've seen more cliques in bigger churches. I think you really begin to lose a family like atmosphere when a church gets to be so big. It definitely starts to become a lot more impersonal and from what I've seen, a lot more like a country club.

Puddle Jumper
11-08-2005, 08:26 AM
I don't want to sound rude, but maybe you should think about church being a place where you can be of service and love to others an not a place that has to feed you. It feels like, at least in America, the church has to be a feel-good place that fulfills some emotional need for the members. I don't see that as a Biblical model for the Church. I also am not criticizing anyone in particular, just challenging you to look beyond your own needs and try to figure out how you might bless someone else.
We were not created to be islands unto ourselves. We need other people. We need God, but He also created us to need the fellowship of others.

I don't care how strong a Christian you are, if you are only around people who are mean to you, snub you, are unkind to you, and you have no one who is there encouraging you, praying with you, keeping you accountable and showing that they love and care about you, you will eventually become like those you are around. It can occur slowly and gradually over a long time, it did for me, I never noticed I was changing until one day I took a good look at my life to see I was a different person than when I was younger in my faith because of all the negatives other Christians put into my life and the lack of positives.

We are all seed planters and we all plant seeds in others. If people keep planting bad seeds in us, it will affect us.

It's all good to say that we should be focused on others and their needs and not our own. That we should focus on blessing others. But there is such a thing as burn-out.

Biblical proof? Look at the model for marriage found in Ephesians where it talks about wives submitting to their husbands and husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church. If the husband is loving his wife in the manner in which Christ loves the church, she will feel so complete and fulfilled that it will be her joy to submit to her husband. And if she is loving and submitting to her husband and showing him respect, it will be his joy to love her sacrificially placing her above himself. The Biblical model for relationships shows that if we are being cared for by others we can care for others and all is Godliness.

Likewise Jesus told us to in humility, treat everyone as better than ourselves. If we all treat everyone that way then we will feel the same as those we are treating. We will all feel fulfilled.

Problems come when only one person is living according to how the Bible tells us. If we are loving others sacrificially and placing them above ourselves and no one is loving us in the same way - we will eventually burn out. That's human nature plain and simple. Because this is a sinful world and sin is all around us and even as Christians we still feel tempation and are capable of falling to sin. And God is distant, He is not detectable by any of our physical senses. And so when you lose all relationships with Christians and have no one else helping you on your journey, slowly you begin to lose focus and stray off the path. This is how Christians become lost sheep. Like the parable where the Good Shepperd had to leave the 99 sheep in his flock to go find the one who became lost. If that sheep was in Christ's flock to begin with and somehow strayed away and became lost, they were a Christian. Maybe the other 99 sheep were all being cliquish and were unkind and uncaring to the one. And so the one got its feelings hurt and went off alone somewhere to cry but no one cared that they had left and the flock moved on or perhaps the sheep moved off on its own too grieved to realize it was becoming lost.

The Bible very clearly shows us we need positive relationships with other Christians. The Bible tells us we should not give up the habit of meeting together - it says that because we need fellowship to survive. But if your fellowship with others is tainted because everyone is being selfish, no one is being truly humble, then even fellowship can be harmful.

There's a saying that the single greatest cause of atheism in the world are Christians who confess Jesus with their lips and deny Him with their lifestyle. It doesn't just cause atheism, it's a cancer in the body of believers seperating Christians from each other and causing some believers to become lost, though not unsaved, merely strayed from the flock and hurting because no one in the family of God cares one bit about them.

Jamesaritchie
11-08-2005, 02:28 PM
I think the topic has been discussed in various threads but I'm not sure there is a thread specifically about this. I'm curious as to how many Christians on this board do not go to church because they're burnt out on church? You still love God, but things have happened in your experience with churches that makes you just not want to go. You feel like saying, "I love God, I'm just not crazy about all by siblings."

I'm one who fits into this category. I got burnt out on church. After the third church I was a member of forced one of its pastors out under bad circumstances and in every church, it was a pastor who I'd come to respect and care about, I found my heart couldn't take it. And having no one in the church care one ounce about me made me feel the lonliest I'd ever felt in my entire life. But I haven't given up on God because I know enough to know that humans fall short and that you can't look at humans and think that God is the same way.

I wish I could find a church where people embraced the truth and were filled with love and humility.

There's a song that I like on the "My Utmost for His Highest" album. The song is titled "Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds" and is sung by Steven Curtis Chapman.


I have come to feel that the reason why I have experienced this, why I have come to a place where I seem to loathe the idea of going to church is so that I can relate to the many people in the world who also have experienced a burn-out on church. Online especially I seem to meet a lot of these people and have found it comforting to know I'm not alone in feeling this way.

God says go. If you're burnt out on church, maybe it's because you're the one who's supposed to be lighting the fire.

There are all sorts of reasons and excuses for not going, but God says go, and when God says go, then you go.

Nateskate
11-08-2005, 05:42 PM
Once upon a time, in a far, far away kingdom, there was a wide-eyed boy, searching for meaning in the Universe. He listened to atheists, and gurus, and read books on the occult. These only caused more questions than answers.

Deep down, hardcore atheism, which I leaned to, was indefensible, in that it is always no more than an opinion, and based upon certain Archetypes. Many of the atheists I knew were either mislabeled agnostics, angry at God and protesting his existence, or arrogant, and not wanting a god to interfere with their agendas.

In an Archetype, you start with a collective conclusion and weigh the evidence accordingly, like a stacked deck. "I don't believe in God". Once you start with that premise, then you look for all that is wrong in the world- social injustice, Tsunamis, and you avoid all that is right with the world.

Ultimately, I had to honestly admit, my unbelief was based on the fact that I didn't think the Universe was fair. Not that it wasn't good, but only that it seemed things happened randomly, especially insofar as mankind goes. You don't get to choose your parents, your intelligence, your looks, and so you have these gaps in fairness, where some seem to have one the lottery, and others are sadly thrown into chaos not of their choosing.

Sifting through my brothers pagan libraries, I found interesting stories. At least someone had seen something to suggest there was more to this world than salt, carbon and water. My question with these many paths, was that God seemed milk-toast, who caved in his personality to be manipulated by spells and incantations. It was the tail waging the dog.

If we were in control, then WE were doing a horrible job. If God dropped a box of mystical legos in our laps, and just let us at it, learning to juggle through spells, then why were people using them so selfishly, to "Make others do what you want them to do"-take away their free will.

Now, I'm going to be a little metaphorical here. What if a three eyed wart toad, sitting on a day lillie could cast a spell and make me fall in love with it? Now am I benefited or a victim whose will is stollen?

And frankly, it went well beyond that. I simply knew too many people who were malicious and self-centered, and I believe the truth would make people more loving, less demanding, more "other" focused. But being disenfranchised, and at the time, feeling ugly, which I wasn't. I panicked and wondered if anyone would ever fall in love with me. The ability to make someone love you was tempting. However, in the end, I knew I wanted someone to choose me, and that was the beautiful option, otherwise they were no more than a robot serving my selfish desires. (Tempting)

Still, I figured this was also a puppet/puppetmaster area. Do people have intrinsic power, or are they given powers, Example, Pilate saying to Jesus, "Do you not know I have the power to kill you or free you..."

Jesus answer, "You have NO power, except that which is given to you from above..." Even Satan needed permission to take Judas, and Jesus said, "Go quickly and do what you must do..." Then he entered Judas.

I'm only saying what things I was working through. There are clearly good spirits and bad spirits, and spirits can change form. How could you know you were not dealing with an evil spirit pretending to be a good spirit. And when I looked at spiritists, reading Taylor Caldwell, and looking into Edgar Cayce- well, I could go on and on.

The point is that I was not simply looking for a place to "choose" as if I shopped for a religion. I wanted truth, even if the truth was that there was no God, and we just made up stories to comfort ourselves.

Obviously, if God is God, then he doesn't fit in a box, or our pre-conceived notions. And if any accounts of God were true, then God is able to hear. And I assumed, if God could hear, then why not ask him, "Who are you? Where can I find you? Are all religions a road that leads to you?"

Well, getting an atheist to say a prayer is no small chore. Lets just say, God has a way of getting past our quirks. So, eventually I came to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah of the Old Testament. Then later, he was God and not simply a man.

Now, I'm in the middle of a proverbial ocean of choices, and realized that the churches were in a mess, misguided (most) outright decieved (more than a few) and filled with people who had no idea who God was, who Christ was, how they fit in, or what their purpose was in life.

Concerning churches, in general, there is no perfect church. As long as men fill the pews, that will continue to be so. The question though, is not "Where is the best church?" But either, "Where is the best place to grow" for right now. "Where does God want me to be right now..." And these questions are not answers people find over night. In general, "Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened, and ask and it shall be given" applies.

If our hearts are in the right place, God has a way of taking care of the rest. So the larger issue is always dealing with the stuff in side of us, which may be attitudes, prejudices, stubborness...etc. Being "Alone" is counter-intuitive to Christ's prayer, "That they may be one, even as you and I are one" (See John 17) You can't be one isolated and apart from others.

So, the question is this, "Do we tollerate sup-standard places where there are flawed people?" According to the churches Paul address, and Jesus addressed in Revelations 2-3, if you want to find a really good church, start by going to a nation where Christians are impoverished, and suffering persecution. If you want to find selfish, and self-centered churches, then start by looking in places of relative wealth and ease.

Of course that is a little tongue in cheek answer. But it is true that sorrows and trials purify people. "What's more we rejoice in our suffering...for suffering produces...character..." Since most would prefer not changing countries, or cities, I think the best we can do is find the best imperfect church, and the best people within that imperfect church, until something better comes along.

And be proactive. I have said, "The difference between a critic and a prophet are motivation". Both see the problem, one sits on the sidelines complaining about it, the other gets in the game and tries to do something about it.

In other words, we will do better in a flawed church trying to make it a better church, presuming if we see a problem, maybe we were put there to fix it, rather than disbanding from fellowship because we can find nothing but imperfect people.

The whole idea of Paul comparing us to parts of a body, was to imply every part is needed for the whole to opperate right. And not only do we need others, but they need every bit of what we have to offer. So, it comes down to a wisdom decision, "Why was I put on this earth?" If God wants me to have fellowship, which is actually commanded in Hebrews, "Do not forsake the fellowshiping...as some are prone to do..."

But I think its' that sense of futility, "Who am I? What can I do," vs faith, "God can raise up children...from rocks" And if God can use a rock, he can use me...and maybe I am the solution or a catalyst to the solution.

Robin Bayne
11-09-2005, 12:57 AM
I find this topic very interesting and have just ordered a related book, called "Revolution"-from www.prophecynewswatch.com

I see more and more fellow Christians who are getting more from home groups and online fellowships than they are from churches filled with routines and traditions.

kelker11
11-09-2005, 03:40 AM
I find this topic very interesting and have just ordered a related book, called "Revolution"-from www.prophecynewswatch.com (http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/) . I see more and more fellow Christians who are getting more from home groups and online fellowships than they are from churches filled with routines and traditions.
I checked out the website you mentioned and found the blurb from the book, Revolution. It starts out like this:

There is a new breed of Christ-follower in America today. These are people who are more interested in being the Church than in going to church. They are more eager to produce fruit for the kingdom of God than to become comfortable in the Christian subculture.

I think that describes what I'm feeling exactly!

I'm not opposed to church, don't dislike going, and I'm not 'against' churches in any way. But if I'm going to go, I want my time there to be of value. And while childrens plays, different programs, or discussion of field trips may have their place in the church world--they are not THE point of church.

One church my family has visited three different times (its my brothers church of choice so he invites us often) is socially oriented. They constantly have family programs, outings, etc...but not once in three visits to the church have I seen or heard the pastor preach--he's never there. On one visit, apparently the person designated to speak in the pastors place didn't show or was late, because someone from the congregation got up to speak, and it was blaringly obvious that the man didn't really know his Bible. You could tell that while he did know some scriptures, he had no faith in their power. And if memory serves me correctly, he was an elder of the church. The church has no statement of faith. You can asked members what they believe, what is taught, etc --and they can't tell you.

I know that no church will be perfect, but if I want social activities, I have friends for that. I want a church where the preacher knows the Bible better than I do. I want to be able to learn when I go there. I want a place where worshipping God is prevalent in their attitudes and actions. I want God--not social activities or cliques or trips--to have priority.

Yes, I should be a help and blessing to others. As believers, we all want that. But church should be a place where my knowledge of Christ and His teaching is enriched--not where He's given second place to everything else the church is doing.

James--I agree with you too. It is God's command. But that doesn't mean any church will do. I believe that God has a place for each of us. Its up to us, through seeking His will by prayer, that we will be lead to where He wants us to be. Until we find that place, I don't think we can be content just anywhere.

Pat~
11-09-2005, 09:32 AM
We were not created to be islands unto ourselves. We need other people. We need God, but He also created us to need the fellowship of others.

I don't care how strong a Christian you are, if you are only around people who are mean to you, snub you, are unkind to you, and you have no one who is there encouraging you, praying with you, keeping you accountable and showing that they love and care about you, you will eventually become like those you are around. It can occur slowly and gradually over a long time, it did for me, I never noticed I was changing until one day I took a good look at my life to see I was a different person than when I was younger in my faith because of all the negatives other Christians put into my life and the lack of positives.

We are all seed planters and we all plant seeds in others. If people keep planting bad seeds in us, it will affect us.

It's all good to say that we should be focused on others and their needs and not our own. That we should focus on blessing others. But there is such a thing as burn-out.

I agree that man is a social being, but there's a difference in saying that and in saying that we are dependenton the fellowship of others. Think of the great saints--John Bunyan, alone in prison for years, writing Pilgrim's Progress; the apostle Paul, abandoned by all in the Philippian prison, and yet saying, "I have learned in whatever state I am to be content"--his spiritual walk was not hindered by lack of fellowship. There's a deeper secret; Christ must be sufficient, He must be "enough" in the final analysis, even when our life is in the pits. This only comes about when you can see things, events, and people with God's perspective...and see it all as 'good' because it is His sovereign will for you. It's the difference between reluctantly 'kicking and screaming' and accepting His will when things aren't going well versus embracing His will--all of it, even the 'bad times.' The one who embraces His will even when it means people are treating him poorly, is the one who loves God more than self, who loves God's will more than his own--and that is a tall order, indeed. There are not many who have that same agape (sacrificial) love for God that He has for them.


Biblical proof? Look at the model for marriage found in Ephesians where it talks about wives submitting to their husbands and husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church. If the husband is loving his wife in the manner in which Christ loves the church, she will feel so complete and fulfilled that it will be her joy to submit to her husband. And if she is loving and submitting to her husband and showing him respect, it will be his joy to love her sacrificially placing her above himself. The Biblical model for relationships shows that if we are being cared for by others we can care for others and all is Godliness.
The Biblical perspective is not conditional in this way; there are no "ifs". The actions of the marriage partners are not conditional on the other person treating them the way God would have them treat them. Marriage is actually a picture of Christ's love for us. And Christ did not wait for us to treat Him the way we ought before He decided to love us sacrificially, and even die for us. The Bible says, that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". That is the true Biblical model. And that should be our example in earthly marriage, or any relationship. We love GOD by loving others; we can continue to love Him by loving others even when they are unlovable, because it is actually God we are loving and serving when we love and serve them.


Likewise Jesus told us to in humility, treat everyone as better than ourselves. If we all treat everyone that way then we will feel the same as those we are treating. We will all feel fulfilled.
That's assuming your fulfillment comes from how people treat you. But the paradox of the Bible is that 'getting' is not fulfilling; doing the will of God is fulfilling. That's why you can treat others as you would have them treat you, and even if they don't respond in kind, you can still feel fulfilled...because your will is one with God's. (This is not to say you won't feel sadness or grief from the treatment of others; but you will have an abiding peace regardless.)


Problems come when only one person is living according to how the Bible tells us. If we are loving others sacrificially and placing them above ourselves and no one is loving us in the same way - we will eventually burn out. That's human nature plain and simple. Because this is a sinful world and sin is all around us and even as Christians we still feel tempation and are capable of falling to sin. And God is distant, He is not detectable by any of our physical senses. And so when you lose all relationships with Christians and have no one else helping you on your journey, slowly you begin to lose focus and stray off the path. This is how Christians become lost sheep. Like the parable where the Good Shepperd had to leave the 99 sheep in his flock to go find the one who became lost. If that sheep was in Christ's flock to begin with and somehow strayed away and became lost, they were a Christian. Maybe the other 99 sheep were all being cliquish and were unkind and uncaring to the one. And so the one got its feelings hurt and went off alone somewhere to cry but no one cared that they had left and the flock moved on or perhaps the sheep moved off on its own too grieved to realize it was becoming lost.
If no one were loving you and God was distant, yes, you'd burn out. But Someone is loving you, and He's not at all distant; it's just that self--especially wounded self--can distance itself from God. The Shepherd doesn't wander from the sheep; the sheep is the wanderer. And when that sheep wanders, it doesn't need the flock, but it does need to feel the Shepherd's arms around it. It needs to keep from wandering in the first place by listening to the Shepherd's voice, even if all the other sheep are snubbing, wandering, bleating, or whatever.


The Bible very clearly shows us we need positive relationships with other Christians. The Bible tells us we should not give up the habit of meeting together - it says that because we need fellowship to survive. But if your fellowship with others is tainted because everyone is being selfish, no one is being truly humble, then even fellowship can be harmful.

Jesus said, "Unless you 'hate' your mother, father, sister, brother,etc. you cannot be my disciple." Even close relationships are to be held loosely; loved for the gift they are, but acknowledged as the loan that they are. We are to not forsake the habit of fellowshiping together because it is conducive to spiritual growth, but it is not mandatory for it. I agree some 'fellowship' can be harmful (eg. abusive people)--but these extremes are rare, and the occasional failings of others are some of the ways He tests and purifies the dross out of us. God's ultimate purpose is not for our 'personal happiness,' but it is for us to grow into the image of His Son, and the closer we are to that image, the happier we are for that to be our goal as well.


There's a saying that the single greatest cause of atheism in the world are Christians who confess Jesus with their lips and deny Him with their lifestyle. It doesn't just cause atheism, it's a cancer in the body of believers seperating Christians from each other and causing some believers to become lost, though not unsaved, merely strayed from the flock and hurting because no one in the family of God cares one bit about them.
There are hypocrites in all walks of life, and no Christian will be 'perfect' until he reaches heaven. But hypocrisy does not do away with the free will of every sheep--to choose to stay close to the Shepherd and His voice, or to wander off, and blame the other sheep for leading him astray. Even Job in all his friendless misery said, "though He slay me, yet will I follow Him". It's a tough road when you can't find healthy fellowship, but it's still possible to stay close to Him, especially because it causes you to find your all in Him.

Shwebb
11-09-2005, 09:47 AM
Pat, that was an awesome response!

I agree--if God is one's source of strength, then we won't burn out. God is ultimately our source of healing, strength, ability to minister.

I'm not burnt out on church at all--just frustrated in my attempts to find one. It would be great if I saw a huge finger come from out of the sky and point to the place I'm supposed to go. But we all know that ain't gonna happen!

Over the last few years, the healing I have experienced has come from being away from the church and spending time with God, getting to know him, and understanding His expectations of me. And learning how to accept His blessings--that's been the most difficult lesson of all.

Lyra Jean
11-09-2005, 10:17 AM
I love my church. Yes, often I am asleep to my utmost shame and I don't always agree with what my pastor says but I have learned a great deal and have grown in my faith. I'm not afraid to talk about my faith, I pray more, and I read my bible more.

My church is Sawyer Road Baptist Church in Sarasota FL. I don't know if any of you are in my area but you are welcome to come. We are a small church and looking for other christians to fellowship with.

Sunday school: 10 am
Sunday service: 11 am
Sunday evening: 6:30 pm

Wednesday evening: 6:30pm

Puddle Jumper
11-09-2005, 10:31 AM
You can appeal with logic all you want, the problem is my brain and my heart aren't matching up. My problem is that I get it, I understand Christianity on a very deep level, I know the answers - but my heart has been so battered that its instinct is to avoid anyone or anything that causes it pain and right now that place in church and other believers. So I have a war raging between my heart and my mind and my heart keeps winning because it feels the more strongly. Essentially I'm feeling burn-out and frustration - frustrated because I want to be a part of a church, I want to be in fellowship with other believers, but past experiences are keeping me away.

So you can give me all the logical explanations you want but I already understand all the logical explanations. My brain is convinced, my heart is not. My understanding is not what's hurting. But in all of it I also have peace because my heart believes my brain when it says that we don't go through dark times in life without reason. Most likely I have a lesson to learn which I've not learned yet. At least that's what my heart hopes.

Canada James
11-09-2005, 11:05 AM
Church is important, but so is our understanding of what Church is and is not.

Church is not the pastor. It is not the bricks. It is not even the sermons.

Church is the body of Christ, the people who gather together for the sole purpose of worshipping Him. Jesus did say that where 2 or more gather, so shall he be. You don't need hundreds of people to have a Church, you just need a group of people dedicated to the Word of God as we are given it through Scripture. (Helps to have a guide who is dedicated to studying it.)

Try reading (it's very, very short) "Church, Why Bother?" by Philip Yancy. If nothing else it may change your perception of the Church, and free you to find what you've been needing.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0310243130/qid=1131519687/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-8089604-3834361?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

*whoever it was that said they might have a sleep disorder:
I had to go to a sleep clinic to get tested. I don't have narcolepsy, but I do have sleep apnea. I also have trouble staying awake and often just fall asleep.

Shwebb
11-09-2005, 04:13 PM
You can appeal with logic all you want, the problem is my brain and my heart aren't matching up. My problem is that I get it, I understand Christianity on a very deep level, I know the answers - but my heart has been so battered that its instinct is to avoid anyone or anything that causes it pain and right now that place in church and other believers. So I have a war raging between my heart and my mind and my heart keeps winning because it feels the more strongly. Essentially I'm feeling burn-out and frustration - frustrated because I want to be a part of a church, I want to be in fellowship with other believers, but past experiences are keeping me away.

So you can give me all the logical explanations you want but I already understand all the logical explanations. My brain is convinced, my heart is not. My understanding is not what's hurting. But in all of it I also have peace because my heart believes my brain when it says that we don't go through dark times in life without reason. Most likely I have a lesson to learn which I've not learned yet. At least that's what my heart hopes.I understand where you are. And God is bringing me out of that same place.

I have had to find out God's opinion of me, instead of the hurtful opinions that others have had--what their opinion of God's opinion was regarding me. (I hope that sentence makes sense, because it's too early in the morning for me to edit it!) Granted, my church experiences were probably not typical, and not all of it was bad, but some of it did terrible, painful damage. Couple that with my home life, and it was a disastrous mix. But that's not God's fault.

God told me once that He was going to restore everything others have taken from me. I hold on to that promise! And He is doing it, but sometimes only as quickly as I allow Him to. Even now, I hold Him back from that, but He lets me know when I do. But God is a gentleman--He doesn't push. And I know He's also okay with me, where I am, right now. His grace, for me, is that He is able to see me as He has called me to be, as the completed work. I take hope from that vision.

And as frustrated as I am about finding a church, I know that, in time, I will find one. I'm not expecting a perfect church, but I am expecting to find the right one for me--one that will welcome me and my children, that will be open to using the gifts that God has given to us all.

Pat~
11-09-2005, 08:45 PM
You can appeal with logic all you want, the problem is my brain and my heart aren't matching up. My problem is that I get it, I understand Christianity on a very deep level, I know the answers - but my heart has been so battered that its instinct is to avoid anyone or anything that causes it pain and right now that place in church and other believers. So I have a war raging between my heart and my mind and my heart keeps winning because it feels the more strongly. Essentially I'm feeling burn-out and frustration - frustrated because I want to be a part of a church, I want to be in fellowship with other believers, but past experiences are keeping me away.

So you can give me all the logical explanations you want but I already understand all the logical explanations. My brain is convinced, my heart is not. My understanding is not what's hurting. But in all of it I also have peace because my heart believes my brain when it says that we don't go through dark times in life without reason. Most likely I have a lesson to learn which I've not learned yet. At least that's what my heart hopes.

I understand that war between the heart and the mind. The heart is governed by emotion, the mind by logic. It's interesting that the Bible teaches that all of our speech and action flows out of the heart (rather than the mind). That's why simply 'reprogramming the mind with truth' is not the whole answer to changing our behaviors; I firmly believe that we have to develop a passion for choosing the right choices (a passion for pleasing God), because we are driven by our passions, not our logic. Fear is one of the primary emotions of mankind; the only thing stronger and more compelling is Love. (And now I'm starting to sound like my book here...bear with me!) I think that God will give you the grace to operate out of a LOVE base rather than a FEAR base, but He only gives the grace one step at a time--to keep us totally dependent on Him. Six years ago I was in the pits; but God was using it to teach me this type of dependence--and coaxing me one step at a time to make my choices from a love base rather than a fear base. (I was clinically depressed and anorexic, and on a self-destruct mode.) As I finally turned to the Bible in desperation, He began teaching me that operating from a Love base requires coming to the altar of obedience; giving up my fearful instincts in love to Him, and making choices that preferred His ways over my own harmful ones. Like Gideon, I am a total wimp my nature; but God did a major work in my life by supplying the courage I needed for each step He showed me to take. It took time; give yourself time, and much grace (because God does). When you reach the point where you love Him so much for who He's revealed Himself to be to you, then you are at the point to start laying those fears on the altar. Love always makes obedience easier--in fact, I think that we will only truly obey Him to the extent that we love Him. And that's a life-long process!

Sorry if this got rambly...

Puddle Jumper
11-10-2005, 07:28 AM
I love finding secular songs that you can attribute a Christian meaning to it. I heard Bryan Adams song "Remember" the other day and listening to it, I felt like the woman he was singing about and as though it were God singing the song. God with a raspy voice - yeah. But here are the lyrics...

I just love when you can find a Christian aspect to a secular song...

Pardon me,
Have you got the time
To let me say hello?
Couldn't help but see
That you look like a lady I used to know
A long time ago.

Remember the time we spent together.
Remember the days I dreamt forever.
Remember the nights we stayed together.
Whatever I do I still remember.

It's hard to believe
That I held her up
And then she let me down.
Someone's sayin' to me
That she broke my heart and left me
Spinnin' round and round and round.

Remember the time we spent together.
Remember the days I dreamt forever.
Remember the nights we stayed together.
Whatever I do I still remember.

Unique
11-10-2005, 10:45 AM
I don't want to sound rude, but maybe you should think about church being a place where you can be of service and love to others an not a place that has to feed you. It feels like, at least in America, the church has to be a feel-good place that fulfills some emotional need for the members. I don't see that as a Biblical model for the Church. I also am not criticizing anyone in particular, just challenging you to look beyond your own needs and try to figure out how you might bless someone else.

It's hard to be of service when you're running on empty yourself. I go to church to be spirit filled. Then I can take my joy out into the world and share it. When I come out of church feeling worse than when I went in - then something's seriously wrong.

I check to see if it's me - but sometimes it's not me. I think churches need to minister to the body they have and quit trying to chase down those 'unbelievers' who don't want to be there any way. The best witness is a joyful life and it's darn hard to find out in the world and it seems like it's getting harder to find in the church as well.

Lyra Jean
11-10-2005, 11:17 AM
My pastor said that non-christians shouldn't even come to church because they aren't christian, although he will not turn them away. He has seen churches get rendered in two because non-christians gained power and tore it in half because they wanted to do things a certain way and get people to follow them and stuff.

He also says that church for christians is like an oasis in a desert. A place where christians can go to rest, fellowship, and fill up for the coming week.

That's what I got from what he said. Those might not be his exact words. I was in a sleep haze at the time.

Unique
11-10-2005, 05:43 PM
Your pastor sounds like a smart guy, Rosemerry. I believe in missions, don't get me wrong - but to me church is a place for a spiritual 'fill-up'. It's for the existing Body of Christ, not the 'maybe someday bodies'.

It's hard to be an effective witness to others when you are having a hard time witnessing to yourself.

A lot of the churches around here are bursting at the seams because of all the new subdivisions being built. They are also trying too darn hard to please the 'masses' by offering 'Contemporary Worship' services. BLECH.

Fine - there's a place for Christian Rock/Rap/Whatever. But I don't want to hear it on Sunday from the 'Worship Team'. Especially when that 'team' has more members than the choir sitting right behind them.

I find it extremely telling that my 8 year old prefers the 'old hymns' to the 'new worship choruses'. He told me that all on his own with no influence from me. I hadn't mentioned it because I didn't want to present any negatives re: church. He just flat doesn't like the 'new stuff'.

He heard Contemporary Christian music at the roller rink the other day - it sounded like plain ol' radio music to me...but he didn't like it there either. So with this injection of 'Contemporary' - just who are we trying to persuade?

Running a bunch of social programs trying to gain new members is like pouring honey on the ground. Yes, you'll catch more flies, but sooner or later the wasps are going to show up, too. They won't pass up 'free' and pretty soon, they drive the flies away.

Puddle Jumper
11-11-2005, 04:53 AM
My pastor said that non-christians shouldn't even come to church because they aren't christian, although he will not turn them away. He has seen churches get rendered in two because non-christians gained power and tore it in half because they wanted to do things a certain way and get people to follow them and stuff.

He also says that church for christians is like an oasis in a desert. A place where christians can go to rest, fellowship, and fill up for the coming week.

That's what I got from what he said. Those might not be his exact words. I was in a sleep haze at the time.
I think it's extremely rare to see non-Christians just walk into a church on their own. Unless maybe they had some kind of agenda of their own. It seems to me that a non-Christian isn't apt to come to church unless they're brought by a Christian. I'm all for that because church has an immediate personal appeal to the non-Christian through the person who brought them.

It's hard for a Christian just to start up going to a new church when they don't know anyone. At least it is for me. I think we all need that personal touch.

Robin Bayne
11-11-2005, 05:11 AM
I checked out the website you mentioned and found the blurb from the book, Revolution. It starts out like this:

There is a new breed of Christ-follower in America today. These are people who are more interested in being the Church than in going to church. They are more eager to produce fruit for the kingdom of God than to become comfortable in the Christian subculture.

I think that describes what I'm feeling exactly!

I'm not opposed to church, don't dislike going, and I'm not 'against' churches in any way. But if I'm going to go, I want my time there to be of value. .

Exactly! The book arrived today. I'll post after I read it.

Ralyks
11-11-2005, 10:27 PM
I've pretty much always gone to church out of a sense of duty. Sometimes I get something out of it, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I'm bored, sometimes I'm not. But God deserves our collective worship, and I can't imagine any other context under which I could collectively worship Him. Also, Christians need to be around other Christians...and I can't think of any other way to make sure I am in community with other Christians. Church is one of my few sources of friendships as well, and after a move, it is often the only source.

So I go to church and will continue to do so. I've long ago given up trying to find the "right" church or the "right" denomination. I just go and stick with it, until I move to another geogrphical area, and then I try new churches. When I move, I often try a new denomination. I've only left a church once for a reason other than a geographical move, and that was because it was becoming very, very narrow and I just wasn't comfortable there.

I've stopped being and idealist when it comes to church. I go to pay my respect to God, not to get anything for myself--and often I don't get anything for myself. I know some will say there is no sense going if you are not on fire, but I don't feel that way. Duty is not a bad thing. You've got to do what is right even on those days when your heart isn't exactly in it. I wish I loved playing Ring Around the Rosie for the tenth time with my daughter today--I wish my heart were in it--but its not. But I do it anyway, because I love her.

I wish things were other than they are, but in all my church-hopping, I've never found that church that set me on fire...so I will hunker down and do my duty wherever I happen to be, and get and give what I can.

Ralyks
11-11-2005, 10:38 PM
the 'masses' by offering 'Contemporary Worship' services. BLECH.

My church offers both contemporary and traditional services. To each his own. I am glad people who relate to God in different ways can find different styles of worship. I just hope that those who relate best through the richness of tradition aren't left by the wayside in the rush to assist others to relate. My problem with the contemporary worship is that "temporary" part of the word. I don't want the temporary, I want the permanent. I don't want what's hot today, I want what's been anchored in time, passed down from generation to generation, tying people togehter acorss the years.

I'm relatively young, but I think more and more evangelical Christians are overlooking people like me who long for the beauty and richness and permancy of tradition, of something that extends back into the ages and trancends the temporary. They tend to think all Christians of my generation want what's "hip." Hey, I love rock n' roll--but I got to be honest, the secular world offers a much better version of it than the Christian church. I like community service, but I can do that without the church. I like hanging out with friends, but I can do that without the church. The secular world can give me everything the "contemporary" church can give me--and often give it better. What the secular world can't give me is the anchor of tradition and a sense of the wonder and awe of God. And I don't feel awed by God in a contemporary service. But hey, some people do. So I hope to see both forms continue. I fear, though, the more traditional is slowly dying. I'm not just talking about music here--I'm talking about the dumbing down of liturgy (or its nonexistence), the rewriting of scripture to make it more "accessible," the slow draining away of the beauty and complexity and intricacy of Christianity.

Ralyks
11-11-2005, 10:40 PM
I think churches need to minister to the body they have and quit trying to chase down those 'unbelievers' who don't want to be there any way.

I agree with this completely.

Cheryll
11-13-2005, 05:07 PM
My husband and I just got back from a few days in the Smoky Mountains, and all I can say is that I feel closer to God sitting on the balcony of a hotel drinking in God's incredible creation then I ever do sitting in church.

That's not meant to be mean-spirited. It's just where I am right now.

Blessings,

Cheryll

Pat~
11-13-2005, 05:18 PM
I have a balcony where I drink in His creation, so I know what you mean. I think church and fellowship with other believers is a need that we have, but we also need those alone times with Him. The beauty of one doesn't negate the beauty of the other, for me. But I am blessed to attend a wonderful church.

Shwebb
11-13-2005, 05:20 PM
I'm in agreement w/ Unique here, too. Church is intended to be for the edification of the members. I think outreach and missionary work is important--and churches should be involved w/ that, but as a ministerial work separate from the services.

Unique
11-13-2005, 06:05 PM
I'm sitting here wanting to go to church this morning and dreading the thought of that dangnable basket going by with nothing to put in it.

Some folks say: 'If you put your 10% in it, you'd have more'.

I say: 'If I put my 10% in, not only would we not eat, we'd likely be sitting in the dark shivering.

Sfs:'You need to trust God more.'

I say:'I trust Him completely. He also trusts me not to be stupid.'

Rant over.

Shwebb
11-13-2005, 06:16 PM
You know, they could just start charging at the door. I prefer churches having a box posted somewhere where people could drop in their money, rather than passing the plate.

I hate the "hand shaking" thing, too. I like the way the Catholics do it; they just turn around in their seats and say "peace to you" or something like that. No awkward getting out of seats or anything.

Cheryll
11-13-2005, 06:35 PM
I hate the "hand shaking" thing, too. I like the way the Catholics do it; they just turn around in their seats and say "peace to you" or something like that. No awkward getting out of seats or anything.

LOL! My husband is the same way. The church that we occassionally attend is quite large, and he hates it when, as he puts it, "you paste on a smile and act as though you're glad to see total strangers who you wouldn't look twice at if you passed them on the street."

Cheryll

DeniseK
11-13-2005, 06:38 PM
Amen

Puddle Jumper
11-13-2005, 08:50 PM
At the service I attend when I go, they used to have the collection plates next to the communion plates. During communion time, you go to one of the tables and take your own communion and if you wanted, you could drop your donation in the donation plate. Now they still have communion that way, but they decided to start passing the plates instead. Maybe they think people will give more if the plate goes through their hands. I dislike it, I liked it better when the plates were next to the communion.

You should give only that which God has moved your heart to give. You should never give just because someone tells you to, you should always give what your conscience tells you to, whatever that might be. I like to give 10% but there are times I just don't feel I can make it.

I also debated about going to church this morning. I prayed about it that if it was His desire that I would feel the desire. I didn't and I got busy with other things.

Pat~
11-13-2005, 11:56 PM
Two quick comments regarding some posts here...

One thing I like about our church is that, although we pass the collection plate, visitors are encouraged not to give--that it's something just for those who consider FBC their church home. (Incidently, my husband and I never give to the plate, as we have something set up with computer giving, and do it when we pay our bills. We don't feel pressure to put something in the plate just because it's passed. What people think of my giving is no concern to me--I don't mean that in an ugly way; it's just true.)

Praying for God to give you the desire to go to church...
That's a good prayer, and I think it's good to pray for Him to give us a heart for doing His will, but I suspect He still wants us to do some things even if the desire doesn't come as a response to the prayer. In other words, I think God wants us to do some things out of a sense of sacrifice, out of love for Him because it pleases Him (even if it doesn't 'please' us at the moment, for whatever reason). For example, God tells us to love our enemies, and to do good to those who are spiteful towards us. Now I could pray that God would give me the desire to love them, but even if that doesn't come, He still wants me to obey Him and to act in love toward them, feelings or no. Concerning obedience, I think sometimes God really wants to see what we're willing to put on the altar for Him. The picture that comes to mind is the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22). God said, "Take your son, your only son whom you love, and sacrifice him to Me..." It made no sense for Abraham to have to sacrifice Isaac, and I'm sure he didn't feel like putting his only child on the altar, but God was testing him. (And the beauty of the story is that after Abraham put his son on the altar, God stepped in and said, "Abraham, Abraham, don't harm the boy..." and provided a ram instead. The test of love (in God's eyes) is obedience. But it's not all one-sided; the rewards of obedience are rich, and not just in the afterlife, either. We're told in the Bible (John 14) that

15"If you love me, you will obey what I command.

But also...

21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

And

23Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

In other words, obedience is the door to intimacy with God. For anyone who's ever experienced this, this is a reward beyond measure, and one which practically defies description, though some poets and songwriters have come close. This intimacy is depicted in God's response to Abraham, just as he is lifting the knife..."Abraham, Abraham!" In Hebrew literature, to repeat a name denotes intimacy--and Abraham's act brought about this immediate response from God, which then carried over into what must have been a glorious worship experience as he sacrificed the ram instead.

Nateskate
11-14-2005, 01:51 AM
Hmmm, if I drift off topic, just let me know. I'm addressing this understanding that each person has particular circumstances that are unique.

God has made us to need each other. That is the basis of getting together with others of like faith. Each one of us has a particular gift. We are needed as much as we need others. If a teacher decides to drop out, the church will hurt. Someone won't get taught, or at least not by someone with the gift they need. If I drop out, I won't benefit from other's gifts that I need.

If you look at Jesus relationship with the disciples, some times they got on his nerves, and he was clear that he was frustrated. However, he didn't give up on them. This does not mean we need to be a part of a particular church, but it does mean we need to be incorporated with others or we will never reach or potential, and because they don't benefit from our gifts, they won't reach their potential.

So, fellowship has to be a goal.

In John 17, John records a prayer of Jesus. And in it, he prayed that we might be "one", even as he and the Father are one. "That the world might know that you sent me..."

Christians fighting and being unable to get along hurts everyone, including God's purpose. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

So, problems in relationships are discouraging, and a reality, but not a reason for giving up on the whole idea of pursuing it.

Jesus addresses 7 churches in Revelation 2-3, and the majority of them are srewed up in some way. Yet, they are regional churches, and in those days, you couldn't hop over to the church five hundred miles from where you lived. No bus, no trains, no tv evangelists. You either became a part of that church, or you didn't.

I say that to make a point that messed up churches are the rule, not the exception, and the best we can do is find the least messed up one, and try to make it better. And more important, not to be a part of the problem. However, for real growth we do need mature people who at least have some inkling how to have a relationship and approach God.

So, some people might need to find people of like mind, and have small groups, at least something to feed their spirits if they are in a drought.

All the same, I think every good relationship will be tested. And so, deep in the back of our minds, we still need to realize that although we can't find perfect people, God's will for us is to be in relationships.

Honestly, when Jesus said, "Unless you take up your cross and deny yourself, you cannot be my disciple," I think he was specifically referring to the sacrifices necessary to make relationships work. "Peter...if you love me...feed my sheep..."

Why? shouldn't have been natural for him to want to do what his call demanded? No. In fact, relationships are work, frustrating, a demand on us. They are the most crushing thing in nature. Loving our enemy might mean loving the guy in the next pew.

scarletpeaches
11-14-2005, 02:02 AM
Hebrews 10:24,25

Let us not forsake the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom...

Pat~
11-14-2005, 02:20 AM
Nateskate, so true. Our sermon today was about how we are Christ's church, from Ephesians 2. The passage speaks of a building not made by human hands, but a spiritual building or temple that God is constructing using His people as the building blocks:

17And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;

18for through Him we both [Jews and Gentiles] have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,

20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Our pastor emphasized that the Cornerstone (Christ) is the primary stone upon which the structure (His spiritual temple or dwelling place) is raised. All the other stones are 'fitted' by the stone mason who, in effect, chooses each particular one for a particular spot. As our pastor said, this being 'fitted' is not always comfortable for the stone--the chips may fly, as the stone is chiseled to fit into the structure perfectly. (Incidentally, it was common in parts of Israel where there were few trees, for a carpenter to be also a stonecraftsman! The carpenter's son is also our Stonemason).

Our pastor also noted that problems arise when we, in our human nature, desire to be the cornerstone around which all the others are fitted...

If you are interested in the sermon, it can be found at friscobible.com

Ed Rogers
11-14-2005, 03:15 AM
What can you say about a group of people who run into a building on Sunday morning and close the door behind them. If you are not from the south then come to the Bible Belt on a Sunday it is the most segregated day of the week.

Jesus never built a church. It was Paul who set about building churches. Jesus said to care for the least among us. Unless these building you call churches are being built to care for the least among us, I see nothing biblical about them.

Puddle Jumper
11-14-2005, 08:48 AM
What can you say about a group of people who run into a building on Sunday morning and close the door behind them. If you are not from the south then come to the Bible Belt on a Sunday it is the most segregated day of the week.

Jesus never built a church. It was Paul who set about building churches. Jesus said to care for the least among us. Unless these building you call churches are being built to care for the least among us, I see nothing biblical about them.
I seem to recall Jesus saying in the Bible that people were being destroyed because of traditions. People who focus more on traditions than anything else I guess. When I think of a church building, where people gather on Sunday morning or night or whenever, I think of traditions. The church I was raised in as a kid was steep full of tradition. Then when I was in Middle School we got a new pastor who threw most of those traditions out the window and the church seemed to come to life. It was during that time that I became a Christian. After he left they brought back the old traditions and the church seemed to die - most people left as well. Can I say that I can't stand repetitive reading in church? I can't stand it.

I like the tradition of singing to the Lord, that's the only tradition I like because it's direct praise and I like to sing.

When I read the New Testament I see instances where there are comments in regards to a church that met in someone's home. They were very relationship oriented back then. I've been a part of small home groups before. People come and go so quickly (at least in my experience) that there wasn't the opportunity for anyone to stay long enough to develop a relationship with. I finally got burned out by this. I got tired of working on developing friendships only to see those people move on not too long after. I'm the type of person who doesn't develop friendships quickly or easily so when I do develop them they are deep and people I feel very loyal to. When not long after I develop such friendships those people move on, I feel like a piece of me has been taken with them. It's hard to focus on others when you feel so wounded. It's hard even to focus on God at times. When you've felt let down so many times you almost become afraid of being let down by God. Which I know is absurd, God doesn't let us down. But when the heart is hurting, it doesn't think clearly and logically. And as I said, there seems to be a constant war between my heart and mind.

Ralyks
11-15-2005, 12:20 AM
I seem to recall Jesus saying in the Bible that people were being destroyed because of traditions.

No, what he said was that the Phairisees were teaching as doctrines the traditions of men. That doesn't mean tradition is bad or that tradition destroys--it only means that you shouldn't teach a tradition as a doctrine: i.e., "If you use musical instruments you are going to hell." That's teaching a tradition as a doctrine; but there's nothing wrong with practicing a tradition of NOT using musical instruments--as long as it does not become a doctrine.

The Apostle Paul said, "Hold fast to the traditions we have given you."

There is no denomination and no form of Christianity that does not have traditions of men. Some of these traditions may be traced back to the practice of the early church, but a great many of them cannot--such as drinking grape juice out of plastic shot glasses. It is impossible to live in a vacuum, absent tradition. Tradition can be a rich and beautiful thing, a prop, a support, and a guide. It can also be an idol. It all depends on how it's used.

Nateskate
11-15-2005, 12:58 AM
What can you say about a group of people who run into a building on Sunday morning and close the door behind them. If you are not from the south then come to the Bible Belt on a Sunday it is the most segregated day of the week.

Jesus never built a church. It was Paul who set about building churches. Jesus said to care for the least among us. Unless these building you call churches are being built to care for the least among us, I see nothing biblical about them.

Definitions are important. Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church." Obviously, what he meant by that will be debated, and hopefully not here. But his purpose is more specificially outlined in John 17, where he prayed for those who believed, and those who would believe.

Despite the problems of the early church, Jesus addressed them, "To the church at Ephesus write...To the church of Sardis write..." (See Revelations 2-3) So, he does recognize groups of believers, at least regionally.

But you are right in that technically the church is neither the building, nor the creeds, but the believers.

As far as segregation and the other issues, there is no lack of problems facing the church, but one of the worst is caving into regional societal norms, including segregation and prejudice, but not by Jesus' design. "Be not conformed, but be ye transformed..." James addressed this very issue of treating people differently based on outward preferences, rather than the intrinsic value God places on them.

Ed Rogers
11-15-2005, 04:02 AM
In the eighteen hundrens, the churches in the south and some in the north supported slavery. The preachers, preached about how biblical it was to own slaves. How the good slave in the Bible obeyed his master, ect. With the war over and the slaves now free, these same preachers, preached the Negro had the mark of Cain and was less than a human being. I heard a man not more than a month ago say: "It is alright to kill a ni----, they don't have a soul." This was a God fearing, as soon as the church doors were open he was there Christian.

I have belonged to three churches. Baptist,Methodist, and Assembly of God. There are good people in all of them. The one thing they all have in common is money. The people in the church that have the money dictate the tone of the preaching. If they don't like it, the Preacher is gone. That is how come slavey was supported, that is how come hatred towards Blacks is allowed to flow unspoken within the churches today.

If your Preachers can be bought? And they can, and are. Then why do you not trust your own judgement. You are writers and readers. Do you need someone to tell you something that you can find on your own. Read the word if you want, or don't, but do the Christian thing and go feed the poor. You will be welcomed into the gates of Heaven faster for doing that, then spending your time worrying about Gays getting married.

Nateskate
11-15-2005, 05:27 AM
No doubt, it is rather horrible what people have and haven't done in the name of God and religion. But the problem remains "Archetypes" in the world infiltrating Christianity.

But in honesty, Jesus had the same problem with his own disciples, "You do not know what spirit you are of..."

His disciples wanted to nuke a town "calling fire from heaven" when that town rejected Jesus, and he said that wasn't why he came, "...did not come to condemn, but to save..."

And the Corinthian Church had to be rebuked, because they fell to the sin of their culture, "Pride". The terms "boast" or "boasting" repeat itself throughout the book. If you look at the sins of churches throughout history, and look at the society around them, often times their sin was rationalizing the sins of that society, and bringing them into the church. But again, that is not the design, but the failure. And there is a difference. Churches should be on the cutting edge...the first to speak against slavery...the first to speak against oppression.

Back to the point, I see problems. We all see problems. If everyone who sees problems walks away, then who addresses them, and influences, and changes? Yet, I'm not telling anyone to be apart of anything, or jump into anything, but to have an objective which is not to give up on the idea of something which Jesus clearly made his goal.

Again, just food for thought.

Puddle Jumper
11-15-2005, 10:24 AM
I don't remember the exact verse, but even Paul dealth with problems in the church as far as the wrong things being preached and so on.

At my church, the room where we meet to have service is called a "Worship Center." I don't like that name. When I was a kid, we called that room the "Sanctuary." The word "Sanctuary" means "a safe place." I love that word because of it's meaning. I love the idea that the sanctuary is a safe place. But Worship Center sounds like a club location. I guess because it's a big church, the room is too big to be considered a safe place anymore. Shoot, they have invisible security measures around their audio and visual equipment.

I love the idea of a sanctuary being open 24-7 to allow people to just come in and pray if nothing else. I guess when churches go high-tech, they can't trust that their stuff won't be stolen so they have to lock up. Which is sad though understandable. I just wish my church felt like a safe place.

DrRita
11-15-2005, 05:24 PM
I'm sitting here wanting to go to church this morning and dreading the thought of that dangnable basket going by with nothing to put in it.

Some folks say: 'If you put your 10% in it, you'd have more'.

I say: 'If I put my 10% in, not only would we not eat, we'd likely be sitting in the dark shivering.

Sfs:'You need to trust God more.'

I say:'I trust Him completely. He also trusts me not to be stupid.'

Rant over.

When was the last time you took a deep breath, put the grocery money in the basket and threw yourself on the goodness of God? If you haven't done that yet, then you don't know if you'd go without food or the other needs. I'm not saying that's what you should do. I'm only saying that if you've never tried it, then you don't know if it works.


Somewhere earlier in this thread the point was made about the church being a place where we come to serve and not be served. Another has made the point that the church is where we come to be fed and encouraged and when that doesn't happen we go away feeling used or neglected. Both views IMO are correct and incorrect. The church body is a family and the church building is a place where it meets. There is a prime example of the end times church in scripture in the form of a parable in Luke 13:19

19It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."

A mustard DOES NOT grow into a tree and the BIRDS represent the enemy. So this is a perfect picture of the abberation the chuch has become . . . an unnatural thing infiltrated by the enemy. My point? Our enemy is not the other Christians, church members, and pastors etc. The fact that we fight amongst ourselves and are so concerned with our own family squabbles has weakened us to the point that the church is no longer any threat to society. We simply have become another abberation in the midst of the chaos. Satan had done his work well. Now we have a mess and the family members are either sold out to the craziness, thinking it's the way church should be or are so fed up with the garbage they have abandoned it all together. So what do we do? Start with our own attitudes. Get back to focusing on God and trusting Jesus. Studying the word for oursleves and finding the truth and following that. Fellowshipping with others, not putting our trust in the church but trying to be of service WHEREVER God directs. And quit whining! We are the biggest bunch of whiners on the planet. The church in other parts of the world is not anything like it is here. Believe me, they are thankful, worshipful and prayerful and band together for comfort and support.

If anyone has been watching the news lately, the handwriting is on the wall. As soon as we lose our right to worship freely (and it's coming folks) the American church will be deflated like a huge balloon. And when the churches are stripped of the tax exempt status, we shall see how many faithful are left. Then let's see how many are still whining about the same old stuff.

I have both pastored and been pastored, have served and sat, have been on the mission field and ministered at home and belonged to most major denominations. We are a spoiled, self centered group in this country for the most part. If Jesus came right now to our major churches they'd through him out on his ear. The church in this country could do with a little healthy persecution. And I think that's exactly what God is going to allow.

Now I'm done with my rant.

Unique
11-15-2005, 06:33 PM
When was the last time you took a deep breath, put the grocery money in the basket and threw yourself on the goodness of God? If you haven't done that yet, then you don't know if you'd go without food or the other needs.

Every time I drop a dollar in, that's what I'm doing. Outgo regularly exceeds Income. I am thankful that He allows me to survive on negative numbers. It's a real life modern times loaves and fishes existence. So far, we've always eaten. I expect we will continue to eat by grace.

<big snip>
Fellowshipping with others, not putting our trust in the church but trying to be of service WHEREVER God directs. And quit whining! We are the biggest bunch of whiners on the planet. The church in other parts of the world is not anything like it is here. Believe me, they are thankful, worshipful and prayerful and band together for comfort and support.

I agree. I find it very amusing that other countries send missionaries to the US. And that there is a need for them to do so...

If anyone has been watching the news lately, the handwriting is on the wall. As soon as we lose our right to worship freely (and it's coming folks) the American church will be deflated like a huge balloon. And when the churches are stripped of the tax exempt status, we shall see how many faithful are left. Then let's see how many are still whining about the same old stuff.

I hope you're wrong about this part - or at least I hope the pre-trib folks are right and I'm long gone before it happens. I've always been a rebel so unless I hide deep, deep in the woods. I'm sure I'll be shot on sight or 're-educated' for my radical beliefs.

I have both pastored and been pastored, have served and sat, have been on the mission field and ministered at home and belonged to most major denominations. We are a spoiled, self centered group in this country for the most part. If Jesus came right now to our major churches they'd through him out on his ear. The church in this country could do with a little healthy persecution. And I think that's exactly what God is going to allow.

Now I'm done with my rant.

Ranting is good for you. It's good for us, too. Thanks for sharing.

The pastor of the church I attend now told me his focus was on missions, so I knew that going in. I like the church because it's very close to home and the people are super duper. I have no beef with anyone there - really, no beef at all.

I should either get over my embarrassment (the 'basket' goes 'round in Sunday School {sometimes twice!} and again down stairs. Only a few would likely notice) But *I* know. and it hurts. I like to be generous and when I'm able - I am. So either I get over it, or ..... I do something else.

Lyra Jean
11-15-2005, 11:39 PM
Unique, God likes a cheerful giver. We don't only have to give with our money. You could give with your time as well. My mom is in a similar situation she feels if she puts money in the basket there won't be food or electricity so she helps out in the church kitchen. Her church has some sort of outreach program. She volunteers her time since she doesn't have money. Maybe you could do something similar.

Shwebb
11-16-2005, 12:22 AM
Well, there is Jesus pointing out the widow's mite--she gave what she could, and God honored it more than anyone's extravagant offering, because she gave out of her poverty.

I know God honors what you can offer him, Unique, whatever the amount. Thank goodness God sees our hearts, even if no one else does!

DrRita
11-16-2005, 07:22 AM
Every time I drop a dollar in, that's what I'm doing. Outgo regularly exceeds Income. I am thankful that He allows me to survive on negative numbers. It's a real life modern times loaves and fishes existence. So far, we've always eaten. I expect we will continue to eat by grace.




So you DO KNOW how to do that. See, you are a widow giving a widow's mite. You are exercising the faith God loves for us to exhibit. As the two ladies above this post have said, it's not what you give, it's the heart. Sounds like your heart is as big as your pocketbook is small! And besides you can never out give God. Bless you, Unique. And I pray my rather rough remark didn't sting too much. Sometimes I am too straightforward.

Puddle Jumper
11-22-2005, 09:29 AM
I'm sitting here wanting to go to church this morning and dreading the thought of that dangnable basket going by with nothing to put in it.

Some folks say: 'If you put your 10% in it, you'd have more'.

I say: 'If I put my 10% in, not only would we not eat, we'd likely be sitting in the dark shivering.

Sfs:'You need to trust God more.'

I say:'I trust Him completely. He also trusts me not to be stupid.'
I wish this was my problem. Because that wouldn't keep me away from church.

I'm curious. Did you post this because the reason you are burnt out on church is because people there persecute you for not tithing 10% or because your self-conscious though no one has really given you a reason to or something I'm missing?


You know, they could just start charging at the door.
Yeah, that would go over well. "Admission is 10% of your income before taxes, please show us your last pay-check stub so we can know you've paid us accordingly. This is the price of admission. If you are unwilling to bring us your 10% we won't be able to let you in."

Watch the church go downhill real fast.


I hate the "hand shaking" thing, too. I like the way the Catholics do it; they just turn around in their seats and say "peace to you" or something like that. No awkward getting out of seats or anything.
Yeah, Jesus never wants to take us out of our comfort zone, does He? "Forget preaching the gospel to all nations, move as little as possible and keep your head down to avoid eye-contact with anyone."

I'm not big into the hand-shaking thing only because you shake a hand, say hi, maybe your name and that's it. You're not creating any real bonds of fellowship. But I'll shake hands if someone approaches me.

Lyra Jean
11-22-2005, 10:09 AM
Some churches have you fill out a paper stating how much you will give each week. One year I put down $2.00 maybe. I was out of a job and if they didn't like well tough for them.

I'm in a church now where I give gladly and out of faith. I only have a part time job but just so happy I can give I do. Doubly glad because this church doesn't make you fill out a paper saying I'll give x amount this year. At the end of the year you get another piece of paper saying you are x amount short from what you said you would give.

To everyone who is burnt out. Keep looking don't give up. (okay not trying to sound like a parent commercial) I'm 26 and finally found a church I'm comfortable with. I know I'm probably one of the younger people in the group but 26 years is a long time still. I was never very comfortable at any of my other churches I chose myself or the ones I went to with my parents.

Puddle Jumper
11-22-2005, 10:34 AM
Some churches have you fill out a paper stating how much you will give each week.
I'd be out the door immediately. I prefer giving cash when I give simply because I don't like the idea of church authorities keeping track of how much I give or don't give. It's none of their business how much I give. How much I give is between me and God and I want it to stay that way.

I tend to resent people who try to pressure me into things - regardless of what it is - good or bad. If it's good, then they should be praying the God moves in me to do whatever it is.

I'm 28, so I'm not much older than you are. When I was younger I was always so excited about going to church - there was nowhere else I would rather be than around Christians I knew cared about me. Now I can't recall when the last time I genuinely felt cared about by another Christian. My heart just aches and longs when I'm in church. There's nothing worse than sitting in a crowded church and feeling complete lonlieness. I'm fine on my own because then I don't feel lonely. It's just when I'm around other Christians.

Years ago I heard someone say that the lost world isn't asking if Christianity is right, they're asking if it works. They're looking at Christians and they're not convinced because they don't see Christians living by the principles that they teach. That's where I'm struggling. I know what we are capable of and my heart breaks because we don't even seem to be trying - and I'm just as guilty of that. It's a lot easier to be selfish.

Unique
11-22-2005, 07:01 PM
I wish this was my problem. Because that wouldn't keep me away from church.

I'm curious. Did you post this because the reason you are burnt out on church is because people there persecute you for not tithing 10% or because your self-conscious though no one has really given you a reason to or something I'm missing?



Oh, it's definitely me. That isn't the only reason. That's just one of the reasons. I went this Sunday past. And I'll probably go next Sunday. It's just not easy being me sometimes....;)

Shwebb
11-22-2005, 11:03 PM
Yeah, Jesus never wants to take us out of our comfort zone, does He? "Forget preaching the gospel to all nations, move as little as possible and keep your head down to avoid eye-contact with anyone."

I'm not big into the hand-shaking thing only because you shake a hand, say hi, maybe your name and that's it. You're not creating any real bonds of fellowship. But I'll shake hands if someone approaches me.

PJ, I don't mind so much if it's GOD taking me out of my comfort zone. But I can't stand it when people try to force God's spirit--it never works, it offends God, and it offends me, too.

That being said, I can handle hand shaking. I just don't like to, unless God is leading it.

I've already said that what I'm looking for is fellowship--merely shaking hands is such a paper-thin counterfeit of that sometimes.

Same thing with worship--when people step back and allow themselves to be used by God so He can lead worship, it's beautiful, regardless of which songs are sung. I grew up w/ both hymns and with worship choruses, and worship choruses do annoy me, too, sometimes--it's like they can get in the way rather than facilitate the Spirit.

When praise and worship go the direction God intends, I can even anticipate what is going to happen next, even when I know it's going to deviate from the normal. I never mind what happens, as long as God is allowed to lead.

Master Bedroom
12-10-2005, 07:08 AM
I am not burnt out on church. I can never stay awake long enough to figure out what is going on. (I may have narcolepsy and I'm looking into it to see if I can fix my problem.)



Why do I go? I have a good christian boyfriend who wants me to stay strong in my faith. He tries very hard to help me stay awake and sometimes I do.




Absolutely Hilarious!



I have completely given up on church, the prosperity gospel, designed to promote covetousness, as well as experience, designed to lead you away from what is truly spiritual, has made it impossible for a genuine Christian fellowship. There is only two scripture verses that most seem to adhere to, Do not stop meeting together and Do not judge. The church today teaches it members to live in the flesh and to scorn the spirit of God, basically they live as he world does and if you do not follow them then you are not wanted. I have shaken the dust of the church; off of my shoes a long time ago and I see no reason to get them dirty again. Here is a good verse for you, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy, of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.

Meh… it works for me.

aruna
12-10-2005, 03:01 PM
But *I* know. and it hurts. I like to be generous and when I'm able - I am. So either I get over it, or ..... I do something else.

HE also knows, Unique, and because it is your widow's mite it is worth a fortune.
I have been down and out so many times I've lost count. And always I've been taken care od, sometimmes in miraculous ways - money comey at the very last moment, at esactly the time I'd given up - or, when I was younger, helo coming in othee ways, food and shelter. I love the Sermon on the Mount - Considetr the Lilies of the field, and all that.

Apart from that, I don't believe we all need a physical church, or even a physical community. The church should be in our hearts. I know that some people have a building as well, and it's important to them, buit it juist doesn't work for us all. I've been to services where the parson was so boringm so devoid of inspiration, I've felt like walking out. In such cases you're better off on your own.

Master Bedroom
12-11-2005, 06:05 AM
Jesus said:
Going to church, doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than going to McDonalds makes you a cheese burger.

Betty W01
12-12-2005, 06:49 AM
MB, He did not, but the sentiment behind it is certainly valid - just going to church (or giving or worshipping or - fillintheblank) doesn't make you a Christian or get you into heaven. The first and last thing God looks at is your relationship with Jesus Christ. And if your relationship with Him is right, you'll want to please Him, which may involve a number of things, depending on what He asks of you.

You may need to give up something or some action (or some person).

You may need to start doing something or going somewhere or giving away something.

You almost certainly will have to leave your comfort zone, at least from time to time (kinda like what I have to do in here from time to time, since discussing my beliefs isn't something I find enjoyable - I'd rather live them to the best of my ability and leave talking about it to someone more eloquent...)
And God's not really into making us comfortable, anyway. Or happy, for that matter. Righteous, yes. Holy, yes. Loving, yes. But comfortable and happy, in the sense we all think is our "right"? Not so much.

But one thing Jesus won't do is MAKE you do anything. He believes in free will. That's where all our problems started. Remember Adam and Eve?

Master Bedroom
12-13-2005, 05:06 AM
I hope I didn’t offended, anyone?

(Lightning strikes me, top of head smoking)

I have gotten myself kicked out of a forum, because of my discussions on religion, and since I like this one so very much, I will tread as one on very thin ice.

I.e. very carefully! (What’s that noise?, CRACK! )

What you said is unfortunately true, a truth that can be very painful sometimes.

One thing that I have learned is that, whatever we do, where ever we go, whoever we are with, or are alone, whatever our situation is. What’s important, what He wants, is for us to bare the fruits of the spirit, Love, Joy, Piece, Patients, Kindness, Gentleness, faithfulness and self control. He has been driving that home to me, that this is what is important above all else. I have no problems with not going to church though or with anybody else not going, that doesn’t mean that it is wrong to go, it is up to the individual, I guess, as long as the fruits of the spirit are there. Anyway, what do I know? How God, deals with other people is his business, what I am saying is how he deals with me, maybe God deals with each according to their individual need and mine could be different than someone else’s?

Betty W01
12-16-2005, 07:12 AM
MB, you're fine. We each must answer to God for our own actions, beliefs, and attitudes. We can and must encourage, teach, correct, and rebuke fellow believers as we are called to by God (which does not give us carte blanche to do it to everyone), but they are responsible for how they respond, and we are still to love them, if not their behavior. I know I'm called to go to church and have been called to the church I attend. We've gone through a number of swerves in the path so far, but God has never told us to go to another church, so here we are. It's family (and in our case, both ways, since my brothers and their families have moved here over the years and joined the same church).

I feel like the blind man who was healed by Jesus and then brought before the Sanhedran to defend his experience. Instead of arguing theology, all he said, over and over, was "I once was blind, but now I see". All I know is that I would be lost without the body of Christ, as He is manifested to me by our church. They have been with us through many trials, including the sudden death of our 21 yo daughter in 93, and they have been and continue to be to me His hands, His feet, his voice, in many ways.

Puddle Jumper
12-16-2005, 07:25 AM
I didn't have a problem with your comment, my reaction was, "Jesus didn't say that. They didn't even have McDonalds back then." :wag:

I believe I've heard the head pastor at the church where I have my name on the membership role say, "Sitting in church will no more make you a Christian than sitting in a garage will make you a car." Although you can actually become a Christian while you're sitting in church whereas you can never become a car no matter how hard you try and want to and sit in your garage.

Of course avoiding other Christians I don't think helps us either. I find my faith weakens when I don't have others holding me accountable. It's hard for me to care when I don't feel anyone cares about me. Which I wish wasn't true, but I think it's human nature. When the world beats you down it's easier to just retreat. When the church beats you down it's easier to just retreat.

Robin Bayne
12-17-2005, 03:44 AM
Exactly! The book arrived today. I'll post after I read it.

Just remembered my post about this book "Revolution" by George Barna. It's a quick read, but I highly recommend it for anyone feeling "burnt out" on their local church.

Barna's description of the "Revolutionary," a Christian devoted to God and living for Christ, but NOT devoted to a rigid church, sounds like some folks here on the thread. For me, it felt good to learn I wasn't the only one who did not seem to be getting anything out of the local church service.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1414307586/qid=1134776613/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-6613039-2939813?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

LightShadow
05-18-2006, 10:29 PM
I don't go to church to make me a better Christian. I go to church to worship. My wife and I look forward every Sunday. We go to a large Church (Greg Laurie's Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside California) and his teaching and the music and the worship is awesome. I never feel pressured, and always feel welcome. I get a lot out of the sermons. I tell people that Greg is not a preacher, but a teacher. I couldn't imagine ever getting burned out going to church. It sets up my week.

Puddle Jumper
05-19-2006, 08:55 AM
I don't go to church to make me a better Christian. I go to church to worship. My wife and I look forward every Sunday. We go to a large Church (Greg Laurie's Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside California) and his teaching and the music and the worship is awesome. I never feel pressured, and always feel welcome. I get a lot out of the sermons. I tell people that Greg is not a preacher, but a teacher. I couldn't imagine ever getting burned out going to church. It sets up my week.
You mentioned your wife. So even if you go to church you won't feel lonely because you've got her there with you. I have one person in my immediate family who goes to church and he lives a long way away and even if he lived nearby, we don't get along that well and I don't agree with the theology of his denomenation.

When you're single it's really easy to feel lonely in church, especially when you look around at all the couples and families. In my experience, married women don't want to become friends with single women because they want friends they can relate to who have families of their own.

Anya Smith
05-19-2006, 09:19 AM
I'm a liberal Christian. I don't go to church regularly, but I pray every day. To me, God, and it's not just the Christian God, is always present. The Creator is everywhere; within all of us.

Organized religion has too many rules for my taste, especially the Catholic, of which I was originally until I declared myself Christian. Man made those rules not God, so I tend to disregard a lot of them. That doesn't mean I'm against churches and attending, it's just not my first priority every Sunday. I did my firt Communion and Confirmation back then, and I got married in a chruch, so I'm not a complete rebel. It's also these new Evangelists that turn up everywhere that put a bad light on organized religions.

Also, the atrocities done in the names of various religious organizations throughout history turn my stomach. Preaching water, drinking wine.

SeanDSchaffer
05-19-2006, 09:40 AM
I've been burnt out on church for a long time now. I got tired, a long time ago, of being told that I could only grow in Christ if I went clear across town to a building (or even up the street to one) and listened to a bunch of preaching for two hours every Sunday, Wednesday, and any other day I got the chance.

I also am burnt out because of the manifold hurts I've endured throughout my lifetime: insults to my intelligence; accusations of my not-right ways; put-downs because I'm a drummer and I enjoy Rock Music; etc. All in the Name of God these things were done to me, and all in the Name of God I had to go through a torrent of stupid things that the Bible does not command us to have to go through.

I could talk for the next three hours on the things I was commanded to do by church folk that directly contradicted Scripture. I could also talk for quite some time about the accusations of rebellion against authority, because I dared give Scriptural truths that contradicted what the Preacher or other authority figure(s) in the church told me I had to do or believe.

I've always believed that Church is wherever Christians meet to worship the Lord. Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." Church is not a building, nor is it an organized denomination; rather, it is what the Bible says it is: the Body of Christ.

But as for the kind of church I was raised in, I don't want to go back to it. There was too much condemnation because of my various likes and dislikes (For instance, my love of dragons was constant fodder for the classic "You're not a godly enough man, Sean; you're inviting the devil into your house by having a picture of a dragon on your wall" comments.)

And there was too much hypocrisy on the part of the preachers and their staff members. Getting someone in trouble for obeying God is not something I consider to be the church's purpose.

This is not to say that I do not love the Lord. It is to say that I do not love church as usual. I love Christ supremely, but the way that some people demand I worship Him, is way off-base.

M Paul
07-03-2006, 08:57 PM
The Protestant congegational church structure is not based on Scripture but human tradition--that is the problem. The Barna research group predicts that in the near future 50% of all Christians will leave the congregational church for the house church. And yes, George Barna himself has decided to become one of us.

In the house chuch movement, we uphold that when the biblical model of church is practiced, the community experience becomes relevant.

Here is how I set forth succinctly why we believe the house church/whole church is the true biblical model. If church has become irrelevant for you, give this a try.

http://www.loveofchrist.info/church/noninstitutional.html

M Paul

Bigbunny
07-05-2006, 09:42 PM
I have to confess there are times when I have been bored. I think traditional church services have become formulaic in their approach (15 mins of worship, 5 mins announcements, 20 mins sermon.) I mean, YAWN. I want to be like the early church, when they went house to house daily and broke bread, or when they hung out in the Upper Room waiting for God to arrive. How awesome!

Right now we are attending a non-trad church that's more of a "ministry center" and there's no script to follow, except a general outline of a sermon. I LOVE GOD, and it's so awesome when He shows up, and His anointing is strong, and He moves in His people. When the glory comes, and the Holy Spirit moves, there's no better place to be than in church. That's how I think church should be.

Rachael
07-06-2006, 03:14 AM
I'm not burnt out on church, per se, but I am a bit sick of all the showy stuff. I want to get into a Presbyterian church or something where they're not like, "Oh, let's just praise God!" I mean, that's good, but I feel like I'm never going to be as good a Christian as the people around me who are 'professional' worshippers because they know the right way to raise their hands and worship. I don't know how to worship, but I DO know how to hold a hymn book. I just want to 'get back to basics' with God for a while.

sassandgroove
07-08-2006, 12:42 AM
Okay... Well I grew up in church. My parents are both ministers. In college I went to church. I am familiar with church. I also don't go right now.

I witnessed three times people who claim to be christian acting very unchrisitan like. The first time was against my dad who was the pastor, my mom was still a seminary student. She was going to go back to finish school (in another state, she took a leave of abscence when my dad graduated.). The church he had was small and everyone was related somehow. Families have problems, which in this case meant the church did too. They scapegoated my dad, instead of going to him for pastoral care. They used my mom leaving as an excuse to ask my dad to leave. It was only a few, but no one else wanted to 'rock the boat.' Then, in highschool, my parents were co-pastors of a parish of three churchs. Again with the scapegoating, for problems that existed before my parents came and still did after they left. It only took three people, one from every church to leverage them out, becuase again no one wanted to 'rock the boat.' A third time, this time at the chruch I attended after I moved away from home. It became my whole network. My friends were there, I worshipped there, I did bible study there, I taught Sunday school there and eventually I worked there. There were weeks when I was there 7 days. We also had a pastor that I saw as a teacher not a preacher. I really admired him. let's call him Don... It was big enough that we had assistant pastors as well. The one whose role was pastoral care,( visitng people in hospitals, shutins, doing counseling,etc.) had really reached out to me. The college bible study I was in met at his house a couple of times so we could get to know the new guy (john was our newest pastor on the block). He remembered me and made a point of keeping up with me and what was going on. Well, Don, the teacher not the preacher, I think sensed the change in the church. There was an anti Don camp, people who had gone there all their life and didn't want to be challenged to grow, they didn't want to brought out of there comfort zones...Don sensed this I think and accepted a position at a university to do what he does best, to teach others how to be ministers. Part of why I stayed when he left was because of John. WEll the anti DOn camp turned their attention to John, and managed to oust him and split the church in one foul swoop, becuase those who liked Don and John didn't speak up becuase they didn't want to 'rock the boat.'

I loved that church, the people who made it what it was. I cared about people on both sides of the split. It tore me in two when that happened. It opened up old wounds in me, some from when I was 12 years old. It is one of the things that led to me moving home when I was 25.

I moved to NYC when I was 26, and even though I was greiving my chuch in CA, a church I can't even really visit anymore, I knew I needed a community, so I went church hunting in NYC.

When I moved here, to Alabama, I went some with my firends I already have, but I came to Alabama partly becuase, no largely becasue, I alredy have a community here. So I've been able to put off finding a new church. It has gotten to the point where Sunday comes and I don't even realize it until we go out to brunch and I see cars at the churches and I feel like a slacker.

I do miss church though. I miss singing. I miss bible studies and good sermons. Most of all I miss the people. I think that is part of why the prayer request thread in TIO has become so important to me. I wish I could skip being the new person, but I know I can't. (DO you know how often I've been the new person, and not just at church?...you'd understand really...)
I just found this thread today and man, has it given me a lot of insight. BUt I have a new obstacle. My Husband. He is a christian, we're not unequally yoked, I had a non christian boyfriend once, I'll not make that mistake twice...but he's not much of a joiner. We talk about going, but we don't. I suspect I'll be among those people who start going again when they have kids....

davids
07-08-2006, 12:47 AM
I meditate and practice listening to the still, small voice. The heart and the mind live in the same place so if I learn to listen-the still, small voice speaks gently to the two and tells me where the church is and why I should PARTAKE!

If I listen with an open heart, for me at least, the church is deep inside, the outside is the place I go to share my experience, strength and hope.

BarbJ
07-08-2006, 11:05 PM
Regarding tithing, don't allow a church demand you give more than you can, or make you promise to give a certain amount each week; you may lose your job, require major surgery, want to help a family in need, etc. 10% is a rule of thumb insisted on by man, not Christ. If you read about the tithing in the OT, it comes to about 30%, but it was asked of those who could give it. They were also required to leave fruits, grains and veggies in the edges of the fields for the poor to glean; the poor were not required to give back their gleanings. Jesus praised the widow for giving her last mites, but she was to be supported willingly by her fellow Jews; these days, you would be supported by taxes paid by all under force; hardly the same.

Christianity is based on common sense, not man-made laws; Jesus condemned the Pharisees for demanding their rules be placed above God's. Your family is your first responsibility, under God, and you don't make them do without necessities because a man with a title demands it. (Balancing this is the fact that much of what Americans call necessities simply aren't.)

I go to 2 churches here in California (also Calvary Chapels, Lightshadow). One in La Mirada because the teaching (not sermons, not preaching, but a verse-by-verse study that helps you to understand God's Word) is sound and the worship is wonderful; the other in Compton which is just starting out and in desperate need of prayer, as is Compton itself. It's very small and very much under attack by the enemy and very needed in this area of drugs, prostitution and abuses. If you haven't found the "right" church, it could be you're going to the wrong one, or it could be you are seeking perfection - in your definition - here on earth, or you simply haven't found where you're needed. Ask God, in sincerity. You may not like His answer at first, but He knows what He's doing; we don't.

Getting back to tithing - I only occasionally give to the church, and when I do it's usually to needy Compton, and I couldn't tell you a percentage. There are many Christian-based charities out there. Being stretched financially, I can't give to each every month, and I probably don't give 10%, so I ask God. (Sometimes they're biblically-sound even if not Christian; don't ask me to explain God.) Asking God is the best choice you can make; Christianity is a pertsonal walk with Jesus, not a set of rules to follow blindly.

BTW, we shake hands and sometimes even hug. Forcing oneself to step out of the comfort zone of careful distance and boundaries can be unnerving, but there will be fellowship in Heaven. Might as well start practising now. If you have a reason for not shaking hands (I did for several months due to an injured wrist; another woman has painful artheritis) just say so, or hold up the hand and give a semi-hug with your elbow. Smile. Some people use that, or their belief that every person in there except themselves is a hypocrite, as an excuse to turn away from God, and that is simply silly.

Hope I haven't offended anyone, but I base my Christianity on the Bible, and God Himself says that will offend. Sometimes you have to make a choice between God and man.

SeanDSchaffer
07-09-2006, 07:47 AM
Reading this thread over again makes me think of something Jesus said concerning offenses. He spoke it concerning offending the little ones who would come to Him.

I think it goes "Woe to him that offends these little ones; it would be better for him, that he had not been born."

The point I'm making is, a lot of us have been burnt out on Church because of offenses brought about by the Church. It makes me wonder what Christ is thinking of all these rules that we make for others to follow, while at the same time commanding us not to follow the rules given by Christ.

One reason I left church was because I was constantly commanded to disobey Christ so that Man could be pleased. This was highly offensive to me, and almost brought my faith in Christ to nothing.

One thing I remember a couple different church pastors telling me, was that the church they ran was 'Their church'. It was as if to say they were the head of that church instead of Christ being the Head of the Church.

I've since realized that being part of 'Church as Usual' is putting my faith in an institution rather than in Christ Himself. I now understand that my need to belong is not as much a necessity as my need to be right with God. I think that the way I was raised, in churches that demand so much of me that I cannot possibly please them, is offensive to God because it so easily offends those who might come to Him if it weren't for such stupidity on the Church's part.

If Christianity wants to win more people to its Savior, then it has to change and become what Christ intended it to be: His representatives to the world. It has no business pushing its own agenda. Ultimately, the people who pay the price for that agenda, are those who simply want to know what Jesus was really about, and make a decision for themselves whether or not to follow Him.

Lyra Jean
07-09-2006, 09:53 AM
I've recently stopped going to church. There were things that I just couldn't ignore any longer and my boyfriend and I broke up. Part of our breakup was because of church. I would have questions about what the sermon was about and he basically told me not to worry my pretty little head and to just ignore the parts I don't like.

Now I am looking for a new church. But I'm not looking too hard. Mostly just reading my Bible and praying. Which I haven't really done on my own when I attend church. So maybe it is better for me. I don't really know yet.

Unique
07-09-2006, 01:33 PM
I've recently stopped going to church. There were things that I just couldn't ignore any longer and my boyfriend and I broke up. Part of our breakup was because of church. I would have questions about what the sermon was about and he basically told me not to worry my pretty little head and to just ignore the parts I don't like.

.

Whoa. I'm glad you broke up and rightly so. What a condescending attitude. Lucky for him it was you and not me.

Yeah. I am kind of burned out on church. All the reasons stated in the back thread still apply but I have a question for all of you out there in cyberland.....

That 'turn around and greet your neighbor' bit - around here it comes very early in the service - does that bug anyone but me? I lived the first half of my life 'Up North' and the second half (so far) 'Down South'. Maybe this is a Southern thing or maybe it's a 'new' thing but I really don't remember it ever happening until....oh, the last 12-15 years or so. It really creeps me out. Maybe I should just sit in the back.....

Any thoughts on this?

SeanDSchaffer
07-09-2006, 09:44 PM
Snipped....

That 'turn around and greet your neighbor' bit - around here it comes very early in the service - does that bug anyone but me? I lived the first half of my life 'Up North' and the second half (so far) 'Down South'. Maybe this is a Southern thing or maybe it's a 'new' thing but I really don't remember it ever happening until....oh, the last 12-15 years or so. It really creeps me out. Maybe I should just sit in the back.....

Any thoughts on this?


I was raised in the Pacific Northwest, and we've always had that part of the service. But a couple churches I've gone to made that part very, shall we say, hard for me to handle. I have never been all that outgoing in a large crowd of people, and in other churches it was very calm and very composed, something that I truly enjoyed. But in the couple churches I was talking about a moment ago, they were just overly outgoing and I basically wanted to sit there and not shake hands.

One thing I remember being told was that I needed to shake hands, and in some cases they would not let the congregation sit down until everyone had greeted their neighbor.

Of course, those couple churches were run by southerners who had moved to this part of the country, so that could be why I was so bothered by it. They were used to a different kind of church service than the people they were ministering to, were used to.

sassandgroove
07-10-2006, 10:11 PM
I think the passing of the peace is nice when it is sincere. I guess often times it doesn't come off that way. When I was 12 or so, my mom was the pastor at a small rural congregation. I would go around and hug every person during that time. I loved it. But it was small enough to allow that. The big church I attended in CA had a passing of the peace. There I noticed some people would just nod and smile. THe bigger the church the harder it is I guess.

Rosemerry, I am glad you stood up for yourself. It is good to have questions and you need to be able to ask them and find answers. My mom says there is a problem when you are asked to check your brain at the door.

Jenny:)