o church church

o church church June 28, 2011

Look at all the people who would love to gather with others into the church!

But it was made impossible for them to do so.

I know many people, online and locally, who would love to gather with others.

So many have given up.

This cartoon reminisces Jesus on the brow of the hill near the end of his life weeping over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37). The saga continues.

Buy a print of this cartoon.

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  • deb

    yep

  • They ARE out there (the good ones).

    Churches that are NOT controlling.

    Churches that are bulit of the freedom of Christ.

    Here’s a very short youtube:

    http://youtu.be/mCwSfO5eH5E

    .

  • It’s hard to see so many people hurting because of “us”.

    I hope blogs like nakedpastor and others can be stepping stones that help people cross over into lasting hope and real community.

  • rob

    This is a very important one, David. We’ll done, seriously!

  • I agree with Steve, but I also agree with David that they seem to be few and far between.

  • jennw2ns,

    You are right. They are few and far between. It takes some work to find them.

  • Once I acknowledged that I was a recovering religious junkie, I could only frequent ‘church’ services once in a blue moon. It’s like the alcoholic who can’t go into a bar and drink orange juice.

    I have to say that I’ve found more true community among those who are seekers after Ultimate Reality than those who claim to have already found it.

    Who in their right mind would return to quasi-community when they’ve found the Real thing outside institutionalized religion?

  • Lynn

    I’ve found community in a church that is purposely liberal, concerned about community and presence, not beliefs. You don’t have to believe a certain list of things in order to be a member. I am so much more “at home” there than I ever was in traditional churches. The traditional churches I attended had a feel of “We (who hold the truth) vs. Everybody Else (who needs our truth.)

    Hypocrisy is always with us, but this new type of church gives you fewer things to be a hypocrite about. More real, more human.

  • Lynn

    I think another major difference is there’s no feeling of having a message that must be spread. It’s just people getting together with other people who want to be inclusive of others. QUITE refreshing.

  • Lynn

    NP,
    They don’t seem to have a “vision!” So it’s not a place to feel guilt for not achieving that grand vision. It’s just a place to be and learn and have communion. There’s not something that you’re supposed to be doing! I love it!

  • ivor2302

    It breaks my heart, after 47 years in ministry, to think that this is so right. Now I cling to this fellowship with the tips of my fingers.

  • Jenny

    Steve Martin, I think you pretty much made David’s point with your comment “It takes some work to find them.” It shouldn’t.

  • Jeff Sjolander

    Nawww, there hasn’t been ANY of that in the last two thousand years or so, has there?

  • fishon

    Steve,
    A couple things. I listened to you pastor, and he said at about 1:34–“God does not call us to be holy, he declares us to be holy.” His statement is only partically true. Those who are in Christ are declared holy; however, Christians DO have a part in enriching and elevating holiness within.
    **2 Cor. 7:1 1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, PERFECTING [caps mine] holiness in the fear of God {KJV}.

    **1 Pet. 1:13-16 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “BE [caps mine] holy, because I am holy” {NIV}.
    ____”Be” put some responcibility on us to GROW in holiness.

    **Heb. 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord {NIV}.
    ____And that scripture reads as: Make every effort to live in peace——and the thought continues: Make every effort to be holy.

    Now if I have misunderstood your pastor, I am sorry. But it sounded to me like he is saying that Christians do NOT have a part in “perfecting” holiness. The scriptures are clear that we do.

    Steve Martin
    June 28, 2011 | 8:30 am

    They ARE out there (the good ones).

    Churches that are NOT controlling.
    _____Ah, but those online folks and the locals that NP is describing, who give up on the local church because the church “made it made impossible for them to do so” [fellowship/worship together], for the most part, are folks who do not like to hear that they need to perfect holiness. Not all, but the vast majority of the crowd depicted by NP’s cartoon, I dare say are those who want to live life by their own standards, not the Bibles. Therefore, ANY Church that stands upon and teaches biblical morals and ethics become “impossible” for those folks to be a part of.

    NP has his experience–mine is different than his. We both see the crowd of discontent; we draw diffent conclusions as to why they are discontented.
    fishon

  • Tiggy

    I don’t think the reason most people leave churches has anything to do with not believing they can become more holy or with wanting to live by different ethical standards. Usually it’s about being hurt a lot by people in the church or finding the context irrelevant or witnessing too much hypocrisy or just finding w hat’s going on to be fake. Usually when people leave (and I’ve had a lot of contact with American Christians who now no longer go to church as well as having read an academic study of why British Christians leave church) it’s because they feel being there is actually having a destructive effect on their relationship with God. Many of the people in the British research study undertaken by one of my former university chaplains were not those on the fringes of the church but at the centre, former people in leadership positions who had become disillusioned. I think many people also leave for theological reasons, like not believing in ‘prosperity theology’ or perceiving an incorrect emphasis on ‘miracles’ and emotional highs. People who have left the church because they’ve gone down some sort of slippery ethical slope are not the ones talking about their experiences and sharing with other Christians outside the church or even making it known that they ARE still Christians, but there are a great many Christians who don’t go to a formal church service. Some meet in each other’s houses and some just meet up in other ways.

  • As a full time pastor of a local church who loves the Church and God’s people and all people, I concur that the Church is often the biggest stumbling block in the potential life of faith in an unbeliever. Its not enough to just say “oh, well that’s just how churches are…”

    Look unto and alike Jesus is our calling. Well done Naked Pastor…

  • So true!

  • fishon,

    I disagree with you.

    We AREN’T called to complete what God ghas started.”Christ IS our righteousness. Period.

    “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completeion.”

    “Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift, but his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the UNGODLY. his faith is reckoned as righteousness.” (Romans 4)

    We Lutherans trust these passages. And we trust that when God declares something, when He demands something of us, He gives what He demands.

    It truly is a different perspective. But we believe it to be true and we believe it keeps us OFF the religious treadmill which SO MANY peopel and churches are on these days. That treadmill only leads to pride (Yeah, I’m doing pretty well)…or despair.

    Thanks, fishon.

  • fishon,

    And I know fully well that you CAN drag out tons of passages that speak of what WE MUST DO.
    For us, those are law passages. For us, the GOSPEL passages trump the law passages.

    “Christ is the end of the law for all those who have faith.”

    That’s why we Lutherans have a canon within the canon.

    Chrck out one more short piece on preaching by Gerhard Forde:

    http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/preach-the-gospel-not-the-text-1/

    Yes, Lutheranism (our brand) is radical.

    But so is the gospel.

  • Jenny,

    It shouldn’t. You are right. But human nature is always trying to get into the game.

    Human nature loves a self-justification (sanctification) project.

    This leads to pride or despair and self-righteous people in churches lording it over others.

    That’s why I won’t play that game anymore, but go to a church where we KNOW that we are full blown sinners and that we need a Savior. And where that Savior and His forgiveness are ANNOUNCED to us each week. NO ladders to climb. NO religiosity to engage in (what we do).

    it all centers around and Christ and what He has done for us…and therefore the whole thing does not degrade into what David speaks to so often in his cartoons.

  • fishon

    Steve Martin
    June 28, 2011 | 3:56 pm

    fishon,

    And I know fully well that you CAN drag out tons of passages that speak of what WE MUST DO.
    For us, those are law passages. For us, the GOSPEL passages trump the law passages.

    __Aha, Steve, I didn’t realize that Apostle Paul, Peter, and whomever wrote Hebrews was still preaching law!

  • fishon

    Steve,
    Was just reading Matt. 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
    ——That kinda sounds like law!

  • Ed

    I think one way to change the tide is to refuse to engage in gossip in any form. I think gossip kills any positive impact a church may have in a community. Paul says gossipers have depraved minds – boy howdy!

  • fishon,

    IT IS!!!

    You think Jesus’ love and forgiveness for you is DEPENDENT upon what YOU DO?

    Jesus also said, “Be pefect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

    The sermon on the mount is just about ALL LAW.

    But right after it’s over, the leper approaches Him and says, “heal me if you will”.

    Jesus says, “I will.”

    Pure gospel.

  • I gotta go schlep groceries for 6 hours.

    Be back later tonight.

  • fishon

    Steve,
    So can I cross out that line, “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins,” from my Bible since it is not applicable anymore because it is law? Or could it be a line that we leave in, and just call it a suggestion!

    Steve, so do you think scriptures like:
    1 Pet. 1:13-16
    2 Cor. 7:1
    Heb. 12:14
    should be overlooked or taken out of the Bible if they are law? If they are law, what significance and application, if any, to they play in the New Testament?

    Ah man, we are so far apart on this–we will not come to an agreement.
    fishon

  • fishon,

    We are far apart. if you think that you need to do and be something that Jesus told you that you should do and be IN ORDER to be forgiven…then you are still under the law.

    We can’t do and be all that Jesus commanded.

    Did he not tell us to be perfect. Did he not tell us to divest ourselves of all we own, otherwise we cannot be His disciples?

    These are things that WE OUGHT DO…but that we refuse to do. We are incapable of doing. Do you regularly invite your enemies to dinner? Visit prisoners? Visit sick and dying in hospitals? Spend your spare time at the soup kitchens? Take in the homeless?

    These are things we ought do. These things convict us of sin and drive us to Christ.

    If you believe that you’d better rise to some level of righteousness on your own, then you might as well become a Jew. Because you sure don’t need a Savior anymore.

  • fishon,

    Please try and listen to this fairly short sermon titled, “If you love me you will keep My commandments.”

    http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/if-you-love-me-you-will-keep-my-commandments/

    Let me know where you think he goes off the rails.