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Category Archives: Failure

Response to “House Churches”

This is a blog response for a post that was put up back in November. GDB has been out of commission for a while so we have a lot of catching up to do. You can’t find the original post on rough-hewn blog. It is written by David Hoopingarner and you can follow this link to get to it, http://javaman56.wordpress.com/house-churches/

First off I want to say that I am extremely blessed to have read the article. It is great to see that there are other people out there who share my passion for ministry and my ideas for discipleship. The one thing that is driving me crazy is that I have never been to a house church before. I wouldn’t quite call what we do at GDB to be a house church but we do meet weekly to talk about our faith, grow in fellowship, and enjoy the company of friends, family and the Lord.

We at GDB have seen first hand the incredible positive affects of this kind of group and my favorite portion of the article “House Churches” talks about something that we have been trying to get at for a long time, the alienation of new coming Christians within the mainstream evangelical churches. David talks about going to new churches and sitting in rows, “… politely waiting for the service to be over.” It might seem ridiculous for me to rhetorically ask if that’s the kind of service we want to be having but it is constantly the kind that we are putting out there. The personal relationship between the pastor and his congregation often ends abruptly at a handshake.

It really makes me sad to know that for most of my life I have experienced this kind of relationship with my pastor. Until just recently when I moved from Colorado to Arizona I knew my pastor as, “The preacher man that talks loud on Sundays.” When I transitioned to the new church I realized that I had a much more personal connection with my pastor. We go shooting and talk about guns, and then stop to get coffee and discuss theology. This kind of relationship has definitely caused incredible changes in the way I view how a church ought to be run.

I’m extremely excited to see that David is on the same page with GDB and hope to have more exchanges with him in the future. If you haven’t checked out his blog then you definitely should and make sure to check in with GDB next week for our continuation of “The Bible is Not a Text Book.”

 

~Arayl

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Bible, church, disillusionment, Failure, Religion

 

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Hurt shouldn’t make us deaf

Hurt shouldn’t make us deaf

I am one of those stereotypical Christians who has been very much damaged by my relationship with the church and the Church. I have not been entirely driven away from faith, but where I currently stand in regards to God and church is a place far removed from what most Christians would consider “enough”.

I am not going to try and defend where I currently am; I understand that by definition I am not being a very good Christian. Right now I am kind of okay with that. At the same time I am doing my best to not appear as a super Christian; I am not serving in a church currently, nor am I disciplining anyone. Anyone who comes to me for any kind of counsel or theological discussion is told about where I currently am; I will still talk with them but I do my best to make it known to them that I do not want to put on a mask of false piety.

I wanted to start a discussion from this side of the road, following in the vein of our “topic” this month. Knowing all of the other authors of this blog quite well, I’m comfortable saying I am in a unique place amongst them. I know James (as mentioned in his previous post ) discussed his own questioning. I am not really at the questioning phase of this journey just yet.

I am apathetic and I know that this is a problem that falls on my shoulders. I refuse to blame this on anyone or any particular church. However a large part of my disillusionment with Christianity is that so many Christians live hypocritical lives (myself included, I gladly point the finger at myself). I feel that my current place gives me a unique view of both believers and non-believers alike; I am not fully sold out on Christianity and yet I am not walking away from God just yet. It has given me several opportunities to speak to non-believers and have them be open considering I am not “cramming Christ down their throats.”

Now you might be asking why I have spent so much time talking about this. I want us to talk about talking. Discussions between believers and non-believers are not happening enough. Any more it only seems to be Christians sit in their groups talking in hushed tones and the non-believers are on the other side of some figurative border in their own groups. Right now most of the communication across this “border” is in the form of shouts and accusations, full of anger or judgment that has not brought either side ahead of the other.

Christians: stop bringing only messages of “You’re wrong!” and judgment to the table. Listen and openly discuss with those that hold different views from you. You’d be surprised how much you might actually learn.

Non-Christians: stop closing your ears on what you might consider “silly superstitions” and anger over judgment. Not every single Christian is responsible for the hurt that has been dealt to you; in fact it is probably the vast minority that you should be angry at. Be willing to talk and listen to them in their beliefs. You might find some things that shock you in their legitimacy and positive effects on the world.

Let’s stop fighting and start talking like civilized adults instead, what do you say?

-Ender

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in church, disillusionment, Failure, Philosophy, Religion

 

Pointing Fingers in the Right Place

Does anybody have the courage to ask themselves the hard questions in life?  Presently I have gone back and forth in my own mind if I am even asking myself the hard questions that would truly improve my walk with the Lord. For example, all people have issues with different areas of their life and can choose certain ways to handle these issues.  One issue that many individuals are having when it comes to the Christian culture is the church.  Instead of church being a place of community, fellowship, and worship it has become a place that individuals make themselves feel better for being a Christian at least one day a week.  All of a sudden church has become a check on our to-do list instead of a group of people coming together to love one another and live life together, which Jesus has called us to do.

I was recently involved in a debate between friends and new acquaintances. It really got me thinking about the real truth behind people seeing what church is to them. A few of the people around the table were bible college students, pastors, and people hurt by the church growing up that lead them elsewhere in their beliefs.  Of course the topic of religion and Christianity came up and the conversation was heated.  From this debate I learned more about the church and the different ways church has made an impact on people.  Anytime people are involved in a church, individuals are going to get hurt, it’s just inevitable.  I found myself stuck in-between two sides of the debate.  There was the “on fire” Christians who are highly involved in the church and the non-churchgoers who have been hurt by the church early on in life.  I am familiar with both side of the debate (not just knowledgeable about both sides but experienced both sides) but really listening to the context of the conversation I came to a conclusion.

Nobody is asking the hard questions!  The debate was continually going in circles because nobody wanted to offend anyone on a personal level.  The only personal question that sparked a thought in my mind was asked by the individuals who were hurt by the church, “Do you really live the way Jesus wants you to live?”  Now to the Christians at the table the answer was textbook.  It sounded something like this; “I strive everyday to glorify God but will never be perfect because of the presence of sin in our lives”.  Good answer, but it really doesn’t help our cause as Christians.  The people who are hurt by the church or dislike the church still think we are hypocrites. This brings me to the question that should have been asked by the “on fire” Christians. Instead of turning away from the church, why didn’t you take on the challenge of showing others in the church that the life they are living is not honouring to God? Instead of turning away from the church, why join all the people who live to the world’s standards?  If you are hurt so badly by a group of people than why did you let them win?

There is a passage in the Bible that comes to mind when I need to get my thoughts back on track.  Proverbs 4:4-5: “Then he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth’”. Sometimes we come up with our own opinions and understanding about the way we should live our life, instead of focusing on the true understanding and wisdom of God.  The hard question that I need to ask is “Have I been in a daily walk with the Lord, or am I foolishly leaning on my own understanding?”

No matter where you are at in your life, please take a step back and ask the hard questions.  Even if it has nothing to do with religion, we always take the easy way out in life and just blame others for things that happened to us.  Who cares if others hurt you or me, if you truly want to take the next step in life, do something about it!  Stop pointing fingers at others and point it at you first.  You may find the answer you are looking for and it might just change your life.

~K.R.Morris

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Bible, church, Doubt, Failure, Religion

 

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Failure is NOT an Option

As my first post for this blog I thought it necessary and beneficial to lay some groundwork as well as clear the air. I want to make it clear to all our readers that failure is not an option. I think that it’s only honest to let you know that I’m talking about all kinds of failure here. Moral failure, physical failure, spiritual failure, grammatical failure, philosophical failure, etc… etc… etc… In your comments to our posts, in your daily life, and even in your drive through orders at McDonalds – Failure is simply not an option – It’s a requirement.

One of the most liberating statements that I heard during my journey through Bible College was that failure was a requirement. We, as fallen individuals, will fail. There is no way around it and that’s okay. I had spent the majority of my life fighting failure. I spent countless hours working to avoid failing a test, a relationship, a moral conviction, and especially my parents. And I spent countless more hours lost in grief because I had failed at not failing.

Hearing that failure was a requirement and realizing that this concept wasn’t new revelation but that it was the foundation of the gospel was a breath of fresh air. Scripture had been trying to get this through my brain for years. “All fall short of the glory of God”, “There is no one righteous, no not one”. Scripture had told me that I was a failure from the beginning and I had ignored it. Now don’t accuse me of being a Calvinist yet. This post is not my stance on Total Depravity. I had ignored the fact that I was destined to fail but I had also ignored the magical, brilliantly beautiful, gospel truth that failure was okay. That it was covered by Christ’s blood.

This renewed realization of the simple rudiments of the gospel changed my life, ministry, parenting philosophy, and self-esteem. It gave me freedom to fail and then learn from that failure rather than wallowing in self-pity and grief until the shame cycle drove me back to the same failure that had started the whole process. Now, instead of surprised or disappointed by my own failure, I almost get excited because I know God is and will continue to use failure in my life to teach me and mold me into the person he wants me to be. You see we often learn more from our failures than from our successes. As frustrating and counterproductive as that may seem on the surface it’s true.

 

Batman Begins

Image via Wikipedia

 

In the last couple of years I’ve adopted this phrase in my home, in my ministry and even with my peers. Failure is a requirement of life. When students in my ministry fail morally or spiritually, I jump at the opportunity to encourage them and teach them to grow through failure rather than be controlled by it. When friends fail I do everything that I can to be the one that is there to dust them off, pick them up and send them on their way. In the movie “Batman Begins“, Bruce Wayne continually remembers a quote from his childhood that His father had told him; “And why do we fall, Bruce?… So we can learn to pick ourselves up” (I bet when you started reading this you didn’t realize that Batman’s father and I are super close and have the same parenting philosophy.)So… as you continue to read this blog, as I hope you do. And as you continue on your own journey through life, always remember that Failure is never merely an option… It is a requirement.

~James

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Failure, Philosophy, Religion

 

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Doubt is not an Epic Fail

For some reason believing without question is completely fine within the Church, and in fact is almost praised. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard adoration or even jealousy given to those that never experience a hint of doubt in their walk. While some of these cases may be true gifts from above, I fear that the vast majority are not and are either delusions or self forced piety. Either way it’s not good.

We as Christians need to band together to strive for a different type of faith. A bolder faith, a more secure faith, a faith that has foundations beyond “It’s always been this way”. Doubt is a precursor to questioning and questioning is essential to finding truth. If we never ask the questions for ourselves how can we ever expect to answer them for someone else?

Take for example a common argument amongst believers and non-believers;

NB: Why do you believe in God?

B: Because the Bible says He exists

NB: Why do you believe the Bible?

B: Because God says it is true

NB: Where does God say this?

B: In the Bible.

For anyone wondering this is an EPIC FAIL at using basic logic.

​If we sit back and simply say “the Bible is true because it says so” we are foolish and in fact disobeying God by not using our great logical brains he gave us.

Now I’m not aiming at starting a conversation on apologetics, I’m sure that will happen anyways. I want us as Christians to realize one important thing:

IT IS OK TO QUESTION YOUR BELEIFS!!!!!!

You are not a sinner, or less holy, or anything negative because you happen to question something (even the most basic beliefs like “Is there a God?” of “Did Christ exist?”). We are promised several things by God and one of the bigger ones is that if we go searching for Truth (read; searching for Him) we will find it. God is not going to hide truth from us. He wouldn’t be completely benevolent if He did. In asking questions you will accomplish two great things; 1. You will make your faith stronger by reinforcing the things that are true and pruning things that are not or that you cannot conclusively call true based upon the research and 2. You will equip yourself for ministering in the real world to non-believers who are getting better and better at demeaning the Bible and God every day.

This is a call to arms of sorts because right now almost the entire non-believing world is banded together to be up to date about the newest inconsistencies in the Bible or the best ways to prove that God isn’t who we claim He is. Yet believers have deemed it almost unholy to engage in equally as aggressive tactics. I’m not calling for us to start attacking sinners, no I only want to see believers use their God given minds to find truth, seek it aggressively, and then use it to dispel the lies and tricks of this world.

-Asher

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Bible, Doubt, Failure, Logic, Philosophy, Religion

 

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