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Oct 05 2009

More Revisiting the Fun

I’m going back through and recording core posts. This, of course, means that in my never-ending pursuit of perfect, I end up re-writing. Which I did with this post Lay Down Your Mind.  RE Read Here. Or Listen to my latest Pod Cast.   (MP3)

Further Comments can be made on the original page.

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    1. 1
      Juli

      good stuff John…audios sound great and are much easier to digest.

    2. 2
      Janna Chan

      How Should Christians Worship Together if They Don’t Go to a Formal Church Per Se?

      This is a broad question that could apply to any of John’s posts, so I attached it to a short one. I attend several churches, none of which care if I am a member of multiple churches because they don’t focus on things like that. Formal membership really just gives you the power to vote on Church issues like the annual budget and run for the equivalent of the Church board of directors so I’ve let my membership go in most cases as I prefer to be a free agent and trust the leaders of these Churches to run them well.

      Plus I can do almost anything else without being a member nor has anyone ever pressured me to tithe, although the Church does have pledge cards available and encourages people to pledge a weekly giving amount.  

      However that’s not true of many churches. Some seem to demand totally loyalty to the so-called local church and penalize/shame people who don’t give 10% of their income to the Church.  So people who have bad experiences with church groups often say they don’t want to go to a formal church at all/be a Church member. That’s fine, however the Bible suggests that believers should fellowship together. 

      For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”  Matthew 18:20, NIV

      Do You Have to Meet With Lots of Other Christians Regularly?

      I know a couple that stays home and listens to sermon tapes rather than meeting with other Christians regularly because they can’t find a Church they like in their area.  I’m not saying they’re wrong to do that, as there are two of them present per the literal meaning of the verse above. Yet I can’t help feeling that declining to interact with more Christians isn’t aligned with the spirit of Matthew 18:20.
      What do others think?

       Question 2: 

      Can You Worship Together Online/Long Distance Exclusively?

      The internet has made having online church services possible, and televised Church services have been around for a while. That’s fine. However, I feel very differently being in a church building than I do listening to a sermon online. For one thing there’s more focus on the Holy Spirit when I’m at Church because there are fewer distractions like ringing phones and unfinished work sitting around. 

      Any comments on that idea? 

       Thanks!

    3. 3
      FWIW

      Here is what I posted on my blog a couple of weeks ago under “Church Sucks”.
       
      Churches are all man made mind controlling cults. They all have THEIR beliefs, THEIR doctrines, THEIR rituals, THEIR statement of faith, THEIR gospel, etc, etc.
       
      http://christian-dialegomai.blogspot.com/
       
      I do not like churches and they do not like me, so I stay home with my family.

    4. 4
      Tom

      What is the benefit of a sermon? Is it not just a recitation of a list of rules, guidelines, principles claimed to lead one to a “good life?” How is such a list of such “guidelines” different from the list of guidelines proclaimed by the rabbis? If the way to have a good life is to adhere to a list of rules, what benefit did Jesus provide? Did He come, proclaiming a new way, only to leave in His wake a DIFFERENT set of rules?

      When Christians gather — as we must, if we are to fulfill the Command — what should be the purpose? Are we to listen to sermons? Are we to pay tithes? Are we to perform free labor on behalf of the professional clergy? What should take place when we gather?

      Thank you in advance, for your thoughts.

      1. 4.1
        John Immel

        Tom,

        I’m not sure if you will get a response on these questions. I don’t really have an opinion on the matter so I will defer to others if they are inclined. FWIW is the only person that I have banished from commenting and he will remain banished. And I don’t know if Jana will weigh in or not. I don’t know if she is still lurking or not.

        1. 4.1.1
          Tom

          I am surprised that you don’t have an opinion, though. The sermon seems to be the primary tool of coercion. And unnecessary for any other purpose. Sermons are used in nearly every religion, and again, for the same purpose: to explain what is expected of people, by people.

          1. 4.1.1.1
            Jacob Justus

            I guess Sermons can be coercive. They are very one sided….Sometimes I wonder how much those bullet point lists and catchy “5 words that start with R” lists actually help. I suppose for baby believers with no knowledge of the word it could teach some good meat….along with a lot of bones :/

    5. 5
      Jacob Justus

      I’ll chime in… I think that a big part of gathering together is to disciple and speak truth into people’s lives. God has taught me that often times when I go to my groups and Bible studies I am there to uplift or just listen to another person. Sometimes to share my testimony, or to just provide wisdom. Sermons are good to an extent- but the discussion is so one sided. However I have had good encouragement from them. A big part of it is worship- there’s nothing like being able to worship with talented musicians. Alas, my voice isn’t in the glorified body state yet :p

      1. 5.1
        Tom

        Justus, you rightly identify benefits of congregation. Mutual encouragement. Listening to a brother or sister. Corporate singing is indeed enhanced by talented musicians. Discipleship (depending on the definition thereof!) can only happen when “two or three are gathered in His name” and so on.

        However, the sermon itself is often coercive, sometimes in subtle ways. Pay attention to the humor deployed in the next sermon you hear. The subtle and not-so-subtle negative comments about specific individuals or groups of individuals are useful as “instruction in who we don’t approve.” Watch for them, and consider Matthew 25, “If you have done it to the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.”

        Sermons present tremendous power to persuade. To inject one’s personal prejudices into the stream of the message is nearly impossible. Have you not seen the same thing?

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