Thursday, August 16, 2007

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

What are some of the positives and negatives of attending church?

11 comments:

John said...

Hey Greg,
Good question. I think this is a hard question to answer generally because people go to different church that have different strengths and weaknesses. For me, the positives are a sense of community and strong Biblical teaching. I have gone to the same church for 20 years and our pastor is incredible.
The negative is that sometimes I do not agree with decisions the church leaders make, yet I feel unable to change their minds.
But it is important to remember that no place or organization here on Earth is going to be perfect, but if a church preaches the true Gospel, then it is a healthy place for a person to be. We are called to be in community, after all.

Michelle Van Loon said...

My first response to your question was a quick list of negatives that formed in my mind. But maybe that's the main reason I need to be a part of a church: left to my own devices, I am not very good fellowship, even for myself!

Participating in the life of a church reminds me that I am not alone. The Trinity are community, and being with other believers worshipping, learning and serving is a way to participate in sacred community in a way I never will on my own negative terms.

Greg said...

John,
Thanks. Good perspectives. Why do you think that churches that do proclaim the gospel (positive) so often lack the reality of being a community (negative)?

Greg said...

Michelle,
Somehow that list of negatives seems so much easier to come by. That's why I like your comment. Thanks.

What would you suggest, however, if the church one attends merely enhances the list rather than diminshing it, which has a negative impact worshipping, learning, and serving?

Beyond Words said...

In the past couple of years, my home has been the place where I experience and build community--we've had a series of people living with us, sharing things in common and laying down our lives for each other. We've worshipped and read the word together, shared the tasks of meal making and chores, etc. I've witnessed three people come to faith by being in our home--without a single episode of sharing the gospel as a presentation, if you know what I mean.
Now "church" seems pale and life-draining instead of life-giving in comparison. It doesn't draw me into the same sense of being a body. I don't share anything in common with those people except abstract discussions of propositional faith.

Is it possible we have inverted the true sense of eklessia in our current practice of church? What did Jesus have in mind for his gathered people?

Greg said...

bw,
Thanks for your words. Wonderful to hear. Sounds as if your home is more church than what gets passed off as church in much of our culture.

Indeed, seems to me an inversion is still taking place - perhaps we could say it this way? - from community to institution?

As far as I know Jesus didn't say much about church, but he talked alot about loving one's neighbor and enemy (ouch) and welcoming strangers.

AdamB said...

There is much variety in churches today. I see many strengths in the churches that I have been a part of in the areas of strong stand for Biblical truth, Doctrine and Theology. But there are many weaknesses as well. I see some churches as being social clubs for those attending and no outreach. And why is it so hard for a church which is strong doctrinally to have the sense of community like the early church. That lack of community in todays church is what I believe is its greatest weakness. It is sometimes hard for a doctrinally sound church to put aside differences of opinions in regard to little issues like bible versions, separation and music styles that tear apart the body due to personal opinions. I long for a church that is strong in community as well as doctrine.

Greg said...

Adamb,
Welcome to Living Spirituality. Thanks for your visit and insightful comment.

A church with truly sound doctrine, will be strong in community.

Ron H said...

"A church with truly sound doctrine will be strong in community"...I love that statement Greg. Could you unpack that in a paragraph or two for me?

Greg said...

Ron h,
Welcome to Living Spirituality. Thanks for your comment and question.

Here goes something of a response. It seems to me that all too often what is assumed as sound doctrine is held as merely a set of propositions, or words on a page that have little to do with actions. The Great Divide.

Another way of saying this might be compartmentalization - holding doctrine in one compartment and actions in the other, which ends up being untenable. If sound doctrine doesn't have an impact in bringing about redemptively changed lives (actions) that are in community with the crucified and risen One and each other, it's not very sound.

Doctrine that is sound should produce a community that exhibits a closer relation between what it talks and what it lives. Granted, this won't be perfect, but there should be some visible manifestation of practicing what we preach.

Orthodoxy has to have orthopraxy at its heart.

ronh said...

Whooaa! That's good, thanks Greg