Category: The institutional church

What I expect of Joshua Harris

The thing about expectation is it is often not rooted in love, but in pride. I expect you to live a certain way or believe a certain thing or walk a particular road, not because I love you and it’s best for you, but because of the pride I have in my own heart that would be embarrassed if you took a certain path. After all, I influenced you and trained you to be a particular person, right?

A Time to Speak

In the past, I never wanted to be part of a house church. There’s nothing flashy about that. There’s no place in “America’s Fastest Growing Churches” magazine for my little house church. I’d see these large churches with massive buildings and thousands of attendees and thought, “man what a testament to God’s Spirit being poured out.” Until you get involved in larger churches and then realize that most of those people aren’t even followers of Jesus. That was the part that kept nagging at me. All the time and effort (and tons of finances) poured out to grow the gathering but not adding to the Church. 

A New Church Plant?

The times in our lives where we felt closest to being the New Testament Church were when we had a small group of people at our home. We broke bread, we prayed, we worshipped, we read God’s word together… we reached out and blessed others… we met each other’s needs. We were a church.

The Fridge of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

I tell this story because that experience reminded me of one essential, fundamental truth about Western religion, something I’ve tried to keep before me in the years since:  Christians can often be the very least reason to consider Christianity.

The church often seems cram-packed full of disproportionately more broken, hypocritical, deceitful, loud-mouthed, ignorant, combative, hateful, and just plain ugly-minded people than one might encounter in almost any other sphere.

And this should come as no surprise. The church attracts the people that know they’re screwed up.  People who think they have their crap together find little reason to turn to God. Thus, it might be considered a legitimate complaint for people to say of the church, “Why do I want any part in that?  Those people are a mess.”

Ask a pastor 6/24/2019

First of all, here is a brief explanation of mammon for those who don’t understand the term. Both in Matthew and  Luke, the writers quote Jesus as using the phrase (in the KJV) when he said, “No man can serve two masters:  for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  Most modern translations replace the term for money.  For instance the NIV says, “You cannot serve both God and money” and the NLT uses a slight variant when Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”

Let’s start from the beginning. This Tennessee pastor from ASBC, an “independent, fundamental, King James Only, Soul-winning church” – where when you attend you shouldn’t “expect anything liberal, watered down, or contemporary” – preaches a message against homosexuality, and then Mr. (I’ll not call him pastor from here on out) Grayson Fritts loses his mind and calls for the arrest and execution of those in the LGBTQIA community.

Why is it so hard to confront bad character in the church?

In an age where our president can literally say (or tweet) anything he wants, and people who previously screamed at the top of their lungs for the head of other leadership with obvious moral challenges now defend the current administration with circular, straw man, and every other kind of bad arguments, I know now that the church lives in this same world of unaccountable leadership.

The Church Growth Consultant of a Declining Denomination

I made a mistake recently.  I attended a church meeting at a dying church where a denominational “consultant” came in and gave a report to the 20 remaining church members about how to change their status.  Honestly the consultant who gave the report was so rude and intense, I thought she knew the group of people who she was addressing.  But alas, she spent a half hour with each church member (before this meeting) and as far as a few of the members knew, she had never attended a service.  She was a consultant for the UCC denomination, and if you know anything about that denomination, you probably already know that a church growth consultant for them is an oxymoron.