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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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Is God Logical?

Lets get straight to the point.  All of us cling to traditions that were part of our lives growing up and now some of us are challenging those traditions.  Whether these traditions are religious or just other ways to live out life.  I’m going to attempt to add to what James was saying about looking at the Bible and reality.  I’m going to add culture to the equation (which is part of biblical interpretation) and try to help us all understand this difficult cluster of life’s crap we are all trying to balance out.

First, let me make clear that I believe all of God’s decisions are logical.  Lets not forget that we are merely human and God created logic and reason (if you believe in a God).  In life we all experience moments that seem so illogical to us that it must be certain that God forgot what he was doing.  This brings us to ask questions about religion, God, the Bible, eternity, or whatever we put our faith in.  God wants us to ask question and use the brain he gave us to grow in our faith and challenge ourselves as well as others. If we just go through life never questioning our own beliefs than shame on us.

Now that we have gotten to the point of questioning our belief system, as Christians we look to the Bible first.  We look to the Bible to find answers. Guess what? Most of the time we find the answers we are looking for.  The problem is that we find answers that we want to hear and stop there. Again shame on all of us for doing this (I’m including myself).  This is where bad traditions in the church and the “Christian life” come from and start to screw everything up.  We misinterpret the Bible and create a belief based on false foundations.

As Christians we distort reality or distort the Bible to fit our liking.  I became a writer of this blog to stop this from happening.  I’m sick of the “Christian life” and living the way the church tells me to live.  These ways of living are distorted and have created so much turmoil among the Christian community it makes me beyond angry.

Now this is where culture needs to get added to the equation.  The reality is that culture changes and since the Bible was written culture has changed a lot (that is an understatement).  I will use slavery for an example since it was used in previous comments on the last post.  Slavery in the Bible never seems to be a problem or a sin but we choose as American Christians that slavery is wrong. I totally agree with the previous statement and I’m sure most people do.  This is a great example of Christians using their own brains and questioning their beliefs.  The problem is that we stop using our brains when defining the correct way to live out our lives as believers in Christ.

I want to challenge Christians to reevaluate their traditions, church culture, and walk with Jesus.  Actually read the Bible for what it is and keep it in context.  See how the Bible can work in today’s reality and culture.  Talk to people with a different belief system and learn more about life outside the church and Christianity.  Question ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.  I also want to challenge people of others beliefs to share your ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.  Share with us how you perceive Christians and dialog with us.  The GodDamblog Team wants to here everyone’s thoughts.

~K.R. Morris

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Bible, church, Logic, Religion

 

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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

 
18 Comments

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

 

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Fight Me

I continually find myself completely amazed at the ignorance and intolerable pretentiousness of modern Christians. Though judgment and criticism of other worldviews is extremely common there is also a brawl going on within the church. I wouldn’t quite call it a war because there aren’t sides. The fighting is not just occurring on a day-to-day basis but also on a conversation to conversation basis. These theological fist fights are breaking out all over the place. The issue is that, instead of arguing, people are fighting. If that doesn’t quite make sense I’ll explain myself.

Argumentation is a style of conversation and it has a purpose in life. This purpose is growth. This is a specific type of argumentation however and is not what you usually see in the world. What I’m talking about is a conversation where I sit down and try my best to understand your side of the conflict and why I disagree with it, as well as explain my side of the conflict in a way that might help you understand it more and figure out why you disagree with me? It’s interesting how, nine times out of ten, if you simply listen to what the other person is saying you will find that they usually agree with you about 90 to 95% of the time. With this type of conversation we may reach a point where we disagree on something and we must part ways. IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!!!! We will both continue to live our lives and may be better enlightened about other views or even our own.

The issue is that this type of argumentation doesn’t happen any more. Even with some of my closer friends and mentors I find it increasingly difficult to reach any sort of conclusion with them because all they do is antagonize and… well… fight. This isn’t helpful for any one and it doesn’t get us anywhere. If we could sit down and I could hear you out without being attacked and you could hear me out without attacking, we could reach enlightenment together.

This will to introduce extreme conflict, which doesn’t belong, into the daily conversations about our Lord and our Bible is destroying people’s ability to communicate. The other day I found some one who had never heard of Old Earth Creationism. Since I thought it was an interesting concept I explained to him that some people believe that the earth was created by God over a long period of time based on the fact that the Hebrew word yom means time period and not necessarily “day” as it has been translated into English. This argument doesn’t stop there. People also believe that we judge time by the rising and setting of the sun and moon however the Bible says that there was evening and morning three times before the sun and moon were even created. In fact I told him it was interesting to find that there is much more support for an older earth or some weird combination of days and years which were about the time that God created the world in.

When I was finishedtalking about it I asked him what he tho

ught and he replied rather contemptuously with, “that’s wrong.” I flinched for a second.

“Um… No it’s actually right.” I said as I showed him a few verses and researched some Greek. He refused to read the literature I had pulled up on my computer and spat out again.

“That’s wrong.” Frantically attempting to figure out why he was so opposed to hearing this interesting bit of news I asked him.

“Why do you think that?”

“Because it just is,” after a quick pause I blinked, “and you are a moron if you think that.” He finished and walked away.

First of all I’d like to point out that old earth/new earth doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with how we live our lives or how we understand God’s creation of the world. The passages about the creation were about CREATION, not really important how long it took. The reaction to an argument is what I’m getting at here. His particular reaction might have bothered me if I didn’t know this.

We are Americans and as Americans we have certain inalienable rights. Among these rights are the right to our opinion, our right to despise intellect and enlightenment, and our right to viciously commit ad hominem if any one says something we dislike. Maybe the constitution doesn’t read that way but it’s what people in America have come to believe is correct.

~Ray

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Bible, Logic, Philosophy, Religion

 

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Don’t Judge Me!

The other day I received a phone call from a friend of mine who I used to go to community college with when I lived in Colorado. I had recently moved to Arizona and this was the first of my friends that I had heard from. Since I hadn’t spoken to her in quite a while she didn’t know that I had moved and was wondering if I wanted to do something with her that evening.

“Hang out, have some beers, and talk about old times.” She said rather excited to see an old friend again.

“I can’t.” I said sadly. “I’m in Arizona.” I explained quickly.

“Why are you in Arizona.” The question I knew was coming and the serious wish that I wouldn’t have to answer it hit me all at once.

“I’m enrolled in Bible College.” I said reluctantly.

“Why?” She asked as if I’d gone insane.

“Well… because I’m a Christian.” Again reluctantly.

“How long has that been going on.” She continued as if it was a phase.

“Pretty much all my life.” I said still feeling rather ashamed.

“Wow I would never have guessed.” She said again. Feeling like I had, for one reason or another misrepresented my God when I was around her, asked why she wouldn’t have guessed and I got an answer that has stuck with me and changed the way I think about calling myself a Christian.

“You didn’t judge me.” She said outright. “When I talked to you about how I was living with my boyfriend you didn’t tell me that I was going to hell because I’m a sinner. You talked to me about how my decision was not good and that I would have issues in the future with it and you explained your view but you didn’t judge me. All the time I knew you, you didn’t ever condemn me for my unbelief of God. You didn’t treat me like an outcast when you saw that my arms, back, and neck are covered in tattoos and you never once thought that you were better than me. I would never have guessed that you were a Christian.”

I realized after this answer that I didn’t hate calling myself a Christian because of the fact that I was ashamed of the gospel of Christ which is the power of God for the salvation of all those that believe (Romans 1:16), I’m not ashamed to identify myself with Christ because even in my relationship with this friend I told her that I believed in a creator and why logically I thought that was the only answer. Even after this conversation she wouldn’t have thought I was a Christian. Because I know that I’m not ashamed of God I have come to the conclusion that I am ashamed to identify myself with a race of Christians who judge people.

To this race of Christians I say “you have no excuse, oh man; every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1) If you take this verse to any Christian or any person they will inevitably say… “I don’t judge people.” Every time some one says that I feel like they are saying, “I’m not like those that judge people. That would be bad.” I’m not sure if you all noticed this but that statement is judging people who judge! Do you understand my frustration?

A "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD) bracelet

Image via Wikipedia

I am reminded of a popular saying that I heard for the first time in high school which was something to the effect of “Don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or roll with those who do.” Its interesting to me to realize that the same people who brought this little rhyme to my attention also had another common expression referred to as W.W.J.D. standing for what would Jesus do. Well, assuming that Jesus continues the patterns that he began in the bible, he would walk right up to Zacchaeus and ask him to hang out some time. This makes me wonder, where it is in the Bible that says I shouldn’t do things with sinner and if it isn’t in the Bible (I dare you to look for it) then where in the world did our youth group leaders come up with this idea?

~Ray

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Bible, Religion

 

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