Hmm…Reviews, updates, Faith!

October 25, 2007 — 29 Comments

So I know everybody out there in blog world was wondering where is

WHAT THE WEDNESDAY….and now where is YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO…

You might be thinking did Joel’s wife finally have the baby that is due in 3 days…nope..

What did happen is my mother in law flew in from Louisiana and we have just been wicked busy preparing for this new addition to our family.

What that said…This should make up for the delay of those 2 posts.

I have been on a reading whirlwind as of late. I just can’t get enough of the books and letting God pour into me.
On the plate recently:

Unchristian: 4 out of 5 stars
Dangerous Act of Worship: 6 out of 5 stars
Jim and Casper go to Church: 2 out of 5 stars
The Gospel According to Starbucks: 4.5 out of 5 stars
In a pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day :6 out of 5 stars

It’s kind of interesting because all of the truths in theses books seem interwoven.
I want to go through a few short reviews here to explain my point.

In Unchristian we get an inside look via Barna research at how the outside world (mainly 16-35) sees the church. There were some very interesting insights.. Yeah we know they think we are boring, anti-gay, liars, and hypocrites. That was to be expected. The reason why is not so simple. It’s not the news or what they see of churches…it’s that most of the people know a Christian and have been to a church. It is not poor representation of our faith outside of us…it is our own fault. We are not consistant and we focus way too much on the neagtive. The things you cant do or be and way too little effort in just plain and simple love.

In Dangerous Act of Worship we see a man’s view on unapologetic faith. He talks about bringing back the “justice” part of our faith. How can we truly be worship leaders if we aren’t leading people out of the doors as well. It is a real look at acting on Micah 6:8. This is something that we really need to be kicked in the head with. He wants to bring the church back to being straight forward and not watering down the faith

In Jim and Casper Go to church we see a Christian retired pastor and an athiest go from church to church talking about their opinions on it. This book has been getting rave reviews so I bet most of you are surprised Ive got 2 stars on it. As a matter of fact Brent sent me a message asking why. My issues with the book… First off this was suppose to be a completely unbiased approach to rating the churches and it wasn’t. The Christian waled in with his matter of fact beliefs on everything and was not very open to anything that didnt fit into his scope. The athiest wasn’t and unchurched one. He went to one churhc and said that it felt like home because he grew up in a church like that. Basically through the whole book you realize they have it in their heads what church should be like and they are weighing everything against that. Basically it came down to a few things for them. Outreach was key almost to the point that they didnt even think you needed “Church” you just needed a church body. I didn’t agree with most of the theology in the book and a few things took me aback. Casper mentions that the churches sing about the blood too much…and it is kinda freaky. Then Jim ends up agreeing with him. I think he needs to read dangerous act of worship. I was floored by this..we sing about the blood because that is what our faith is all about…We cant leave that out just to make people feel comfortable. Im not going to go into the rest of the book…I think you should read it, but understand it may tick you off.

In Gospel According to Starbucks we read about how the success of starbucks applies to the church. This is a great read. It’s all about using technology and resources to produce an unapologetic experience. People are getting served coffee in the church but they arent drinking it…We need to get people to Drink from that cup of life and experience Christ

And last In a Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day. Brilliant book. Think big…be a lion chaser…God is bigger than everything. It is such a simple concept and the book really drives it home in a new way, but mando we need to hear this in the church today.

So what was I talking about when i said they are all connected?

The church is in an interesting time these days with the “millenial Generation”. For far too many years the church has alienated people and turned them against God. We ahve lied, cheated, hated, and scorned others. We have not been honest with God or people looking in. So what does this generation need from us to change it’s perceptions? Real people.
SO what about the fog machines and light shows in church? so much controversy over that… Last year I did a post on a key buzz word relvant. I think this is now my old buzz word. I say use everything you can to bring people in, but instead of doingit to be relevant weigh your actions and choices to how effective it is. Effectiveness is the new relevance.

Then there is this issue of casper saying we sing blood too much. We have become so seeker sensitive that we have watered down our faith. we have made it drivel in the site of the Lord. The bible says about communion ” do this as often as you meet.” whats found in Communion is the cornerstone of our faith. Yet some of our churches dont do it as often as they meet…there are many reasons under the sun as to why not, but we have to weigh it against are we watering down our faith just to make sure people arent bored…people are met on their level.

I think it’s time for the church to act like a church. People want honesty and truth…And then there is the issue of outreach. We cannot be an inward church. Jesus preached to every one and everyone followed. He did not judge..he was just…He is Love. but if you notice he also never watered down his faith..He told it like it was.

This applies to worship as well. We need to be real. we need to be open to God…we need to be broken for him…and we need to be transparent..

I think we have gotten way too hooked on what we think a church should look like and act like. We need to be effective simple as that. We need to include God more in our thoughts about what the church should do.

In in a pit with a lion it talks about everything starts with how big you consider God to be. God is getting bigger to me everyday. Bigger than me, my family, my finances. my church… I believe that our God is the same today yesterday and forever. I believe he is sick and tired of us being luke warm. I believe he is posed to spit us out. I for one want to see God move like a mighty wind..healing Stef ,healing hearts, healing families. We truly do need to be His hands and feet. We need to make sure we don’t put our God in a box.

“God is bigger than the Air we breathe”
“Christ be the Center of our Lives”
“we’ve already won..You don’t have a chance”
“You are my Joy.”

“Oh that the church would arise…oh that we would see with Jesus’ eyes”

here is a video and a call to action. we need to be salt and light in the world…shake off our judgments and walk in mercy.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=ayuUrynTMy0]

Joel Klampert

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29 responses to Hmm…Reviews, updates, Faith!

  1. Dang dude…this is dead on. Praise God! Let’s get to it. I’m tired of all the need to compare. Let’s just do it boldly and fully.

    Thanks for your Passion! I know it comes from the God we serve.

  2. Who did Jesus say had the key to knowledge? Lawyers because they practice law.

    The Law of the lord is perfect. CONVERTING THE SOUL. – Psalm 19

    Romans 4:15 Because the law works wrath.

    Wrath = Judgement for law breakers (ten commandments)

    When Jesus asked the woman at the well about her husbands..was he just showing off or was he calling out her sin?

    Yeah don’t preach sin or else like Jesus did just keep sugar coating their sin.

    Sin no more or a worse thing will come upon you -John 5

  3. Great call. I was starting to wonder where you were. I was enjoying beating you out in the topblogarea rankings. Good to have you back.

  4. formerthings – Care to clarify what you are saying? You have totally lost me? Would love to know your thoughts here.

  5. Good stuff, Joel. I think “genuine, authentic love” and authentic, “Christ-like” character is relevant – and will be so through the ages of time.

    We need more of that.

    Praying for the birth of that new baby – keep us in the loop!

    FRED

  6. I’m looking forward to reading “Dangerous Act.” And based on your review, I think I’ll skip “Jim and Casper.”

    I was at a large seeker-friendly church last week, visiting for a conference. I heard one of the pastors of the church talking to some other attendees about why their church had chosen to set up a coffee shop in the narthex, and theater seating in the nave. He said, “When people come here, we want them to to think, ‘Oh, a mall/theater. I can be comfortable here, because I know what such a place is like.'” To some extent, I disagree. Churches are designed to be different – they’re focused on God, not man, and on eternity, not time.

    Of course, his church has 3000 and mine has 30, so I’m probably completely talking through my hat 🙂

  7. I believe that our God is the same today yesterday and forever. I believe he is sick and tired of us being luke warm. I believe he is posed to spit us out.

    Maybe so, but (in my opinion) it’s hard to imagine why the God you describe bothered to die on the cross. Surely he would have gone back to heaven in disgust long before the point where he was betrayed, handed over, beaten and then crucified.

    Don’t forget about the grace of God because, isn’t that the whole point?

    Jesus (according to Luke’s gospel) once said “Don’t be afraid, little flock – your father is PLEASED to give you the Kingdom”.

    Wow.

    Maybe some people need challenging and a call to action. But Jesus knew there were others who needed encouraging. Maybe some of them are your readers.

    we need to be salt and light in the world…shake off our judgments and walk in mercy.

    Exactly…but why only to the world? Are believers disqualified from mercy? Once you cross the line is it all judgment and “I am posed to spit you out of my mouth”?

  8. Helen – I have always appreciated your blog, because it encourages conversation and tends to be civil. After reading your response here, I can only assume that your blog is civil, because you choose to be harsh on other blogs. What’s up with this ?

    I think you need to re-read this post and “get” where he is coming from. It is interesting in the Gospels that when Jesus was angry, it was at “professed” believers and religious leaders. I think you missed this paragraph,

    “This applies to worship as well. We need to be real. we need to be open to God…we need to be broken for him…and we need to be transparent..”

    This is the heart of this post.

    You also need to read through this blog in general and see that the conversation here IS gracious and encouraging. It is challenging and God centered. There was nothing that would change that attitude about this post.If there is any judgment here, it generally comes from those who choose to join the conversation with different intentions than the author. There was nothing that would change that attitude about this post.

    Or, maybe your just upset that Jim & Casper didn’t get a good review…

  9. InWorship, I don’t understand how my comments were harsh and not civil.

    I don’t agree with Joel’s picture of Jesus – are you saying it’s inherently harsh to disagree? That I must not disagree with someone on their blog because that’s incivil?

    I gave reasons from the Bible why I diaagreed.

    I’m not ‘upset’ about Joel’s review of the book although I don’t understand why he expected it to be unbiased, since I’ve never heard Jim and Casper claim to be unbiased (as I said here).

    Joel thanks for coming by our ChurchRater blog and posting a response there.

  10. Helen, as I read your response, I read harsh. The blog world does not allow us to discern emotion that well. I apologize if I misread you.

    I am not sure what picture of Jesus you saw from this. I really don’t understand how you can see anything except Jesus wanting us to be authentic and real as this author has declared. Maybe you want to better clarify what you think you read here, cause I am not getting what you saw.

    Jesus consistently spoke to heart and truth and honesty…intent. Jesus consistently challenged the disciples and those who desired to follow to lives that were lived to a different standard than that of the World. Lives that were solid, firm in His Word and not watered down. Jesus challenged the church to not be one of emptiness and pride, but instead one of humility, justice and mercy.

    Jesus would never look at anyone in disdain. And I would believe the author here would agree that he never painted this picture. God’s desire is that all would come to know Him. Jesus died, to allow all to come to Him…even the “ugly” ones. Or those that may seem to be “undeserving” of mercy.

    “Exactly…but why only to the world? Are believers disqualified from mercy? Once you cross the line is it all judgment and “I am posed to spit you out of my mouth”?”

    I think I understand what you are saying here, and there are none disqualified, but what I don’t understand is why you would think that Christians would be exempt from being challenged. Biblically I would believe you could find that we are held to a standard. We are called to not be hypocrites. Jesus cast “those” out of the temple. There is no condemnation in Jesus, but there is accountability, responsibility and exhortation. I think I know you a little and I would feel that you would appreciate the challenge from this author to the church.

    Maybe I will get some “opinions” about this, but it is not the responsibility of the non believer to hold the church accountable for who they are. It is the churches responsibility to be held accountable by God’s Word. This author has challenged us, the church…to stand up, to be real, to be open to God, to be broken for him and to be transparent.

    That sound pretty right on and Biblical to me.

  11. Great post man – I haven’t heard much about Dangerous Act of Worship so I might have to pick that one up.

    Keep us updated on the baby news!!

  12. Hi InWorship, thanks for your response. I understand it’s hard to read ‘tone’ online. Actually I’m leading a workshop about that in 3 days 🙂

    I guess what Joel said felt unbalanced to me. I know that “spit you out of my mouth” is Jesus’ response to a church and it’s right out of the Bible. But it’s about the strongest condemnation of believers in the New Testament and there are lots of other things Jesus says too. I suppose that’s what I’m getting at.

    I’m not saying Jesus would never challenge anyone. It makes sense to me that he challenges people the perfect amount to encourage them to be the best they can be.

    it is not the responsibility of the non believer to hold the church accountable for who they are. It is the churches responsibility to be held accountable by God’s Word.

    Right…but God’s Word says (in 1 Peter) that believers need to be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks (and give it with gentleness and respect). So, presumably that means they are to answer Matt Casper the atheist when he asks the question: “Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?”

    In other words churches who are accountable to God’s Word will find it tells them to be accountable to people who aren’t Christians. It doesn’t say people who aren’t Christians get to dictate what churches do but it does say churches need to be ready to respectfully (or meekly, depending which translation you use) answer the questions of people who aren’t Christians.

  13. Right…but God’s Word says (in 1 Peter) that believers need to be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks (and give it with gentleness and respect). So, presumably that means they are to answer Matt Casper the atheist when he asks the question: “Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?”

    Helen I agree with this to a point and I appreciate your clarification.

    Accountability is a tough word, because many feel that with it comes the right of “enforcement”. Some definitions of accountability actually contain that word. I think that what Peter intended was to challenge the church to be prepared for questions about what we believe. He did not intend for someone outside the church to come in and declare any type of standards for the church.

    When a non-believer has a question as you’ve described, we need to be ready to share our faith with them. You have given us the example of “accountable” versus “dictating”. I can live with that, except that many non-believers cannot. Many assume that since they can ask the questions, they can then enforce their ideas or challenges on the church. I don’t think that is their place. I don’t believe they have the “enforcement” rights of accountability. No more than I would see my role as a Christian being one that would decide what is right or wrong for an atheist or someone of a different faith. The Christian faith has to be one that answers solely to God’s Word and His Spirit.

  14. In reference to all that is going on here and http://www.churchrater.com/blog/2007/10/28/joel-is-unimpressed-with-jim-and-casper/

    Brent…thanks fro jumping in while im on “maternity blog leave” lol….

    Helen I do appreciate you coming on here and I like your ChurchRater site as well. We hope to hire somebody soon and get an outsiders look into our church.

    A few things though..When we do that we will be looking to make sure visitors get a good feel, feel like they are loved, that we are walking the talk and are not judged walking in. If they dont agree with our doctrine or the number of times we sing a word well then so be it. If they dont like that we do communion every week then I cant fix that. Bible says do it as often as you meet.
    I will not water down the faith to make an outsider more comfortable. Jesus offended many people because of this, but there was something that he did that needs to happen more often in the church.
    Casper talks about it and it is basically talking in love and walking the talk. We need to be in the world helping with healing and justice.
    I may have made a wrong assumption in that the book would be unbaised and I am ok with that it was. What was hard for me is that I had to weigh every thought against where jim and casper were in thier own walks and with the thought that they came into a church with a thought in thier head with exactly what they thought church should be like.
    I think that made it a little tough for me to jump on board with it.
    I also think like others have commented on churchrater that 1 visit does not give much insight into the inner workings of the church nor how well it is doing its job.
    I am glad to read that they are doing follow up with some of those churches and want to add to my thought on the book that not only should it be read but they need to go to the blog to follow up with some of the clarifications from jim and casper. That for me has been very helpful.

    As far as your comment on the Blood. You said

    “I don’t think Christians really get what they are singing when they do that anyway. What use is singing about the blood if we are not actively involved opposing injustice and inequity in the world which is leading to more unnecessary death every day”

    thats a simple answer to me. We should be out in the world…simple as that. no questions and the church should be challenged to do so. but the singing of “the blood” in church is singing of our hope and faith in Christ. It is singing in joy of what he has done for us. There were no strings attached to his grace.

    you said

    ” I know your focus is on worship – but wouldn’t the best way for Christians to show what Jesus is worth be to be out following his example – being his disciples – instead of huddled in church singing? If Christians don’t follow Jesus then what that means is, they don’t think he’s worth much, no matter how many ‘worship songs’ they sing.”

    My focus on this blog is worship yes…because that is what I do in the church. keep in mind worship is for the church…but most of all worship is for God. it is not for getting the message out. Christ calls us to worship because he is worthy and thats what we are created to do. So it is very biblical that we should be huddled in a church worshiping.
    As far as us not thinking he is worth much because we are not out in the world. I dont know how accurate that is…again…we should worship just like we should pray. nuff said there…Along with that in our Christian walk we need to make sure that we are being disciples of Christ…that we are his hands and feet. I think the word justice in faith gets a little construed. This does not mean get out your picket signs and fight every war there is…it means to take care of people. it means to be merciful…it means to act on His word…it means to see with Jesus’ eyes….it means giving people hope and purpose in Him.

    We are accountable to Jesus alone…simple as that…and the bible does say he will spit out the lukewarm…does this mean we wont be going to heaven? I dont think so…does it mean he is done with us? i dont think so…because our God is Just and merciful, but like the verse where it says if we dont worship him the rocks will cry out I think he is basically calling us to action so we can be a part of his great work…and not make it so he has to find somebody or something else to do it.
    I for one want to not just be told at heaven “come on in my son” I want to be told “come in my good and faithful son”

  15. Thanks for your response Joel – I’ll try to respond more soon but I have just one thing for now: Matt Casper mentioned to me in an e-mail that he posted a comment on here on Saturday and it didn’t show up. Do you see it anywhere? The moderation queue or spam catcher maybe?

  16. Joel, sorry, I forgot about your paternity leave…how are your wife and your new baby doing?

    Helen I do appreciate you coming on here and I like your ChurchRater site as well. We hope to hire somebody soon and get an outsiders look into our church.

    Thanks Joel.

    Let us know how it goes with hiring an outsider…we’re always interested to hear feedback from churches who try that.

    I just can’t get my mind around the point of worship anymore; it seems like a waste of time to me. I honestly can’t see that I’m any less motivated to care about others and actually help them than I was when I was regularly involved in worship at church. Maybe it made me have some happy feelings about me and God, but, so what?

    I completely understand about you wanting to be ‘good and faithful’ not just ‘you made it as escaping through flames’. I want that too in my own way, but I don’t see how worship is the route – I would rather cut to the chase and get on with doing things that make a tangible different to other people.

    If Christians want to have parties or have fun together I’m not necessarily opposed to that. But why do we think God prefers people in church singing to out there helping? I would be laughed down if I said “worship me – it’s good for you!” But we claim that about God; which I don’t understand at all, anymore.

    Worship definitely brings out the atheist part of my almost-atheism.

  17. Hello!

    Thanks for reading our book and posting about it. I understand why you didn’t really care for it as it doesn’t really preach to the choir (pun intended).

    And that choir I mention is followers of the church. Followers of Jesus, on the other hand, really seem to like the book.

    You say, it’s “time for the church to act like a church.” Why not have the people of that church simply live more like the founder of the religion?

    You say, “We cannot be an inward church. Jesus preached to every one and everyone followed. He did not judge..he was just…He is Love.” Then why are most American churches and church leaders more known for being judgmental than loving? (Mark Driscoll instructs people on how not to sin, but not on how to love. Rick Warren tells people how to be purpose-driven, but not how to love their enemies. Joel Osteen teaches people how to be “a victor, not a victim,” but not how to love.)

    Yes, Jesus never watered down his faith. That’s because he lived it 24/7. Would you say churchgoers who spend maybe 2-3 hours a week living their faith have watered things down? Would you say that church leaders who focus on growth–like any Good American Business–have watered down or flat-out forsaken their faith?

    Can anyone explain to me why (based on what I saw when I wrote the book) churches seem focused–and admire–growth above all else. It doesn’t really seem like what Jesus asked people to do, right?

    I mean, his pitch was “love each other,” not “create a church that alienates nonbelievers” or “a church isn’t worth anything unless it has 3,000 attendees.”

    The point of our book is not to help fix the church; it’s to help people be better followers of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, you’ll give it another shot…

    Thanks again for reading and writing…

    Jim and I talk to people on a regular basis here: http://www.churchrater.com

    Matt Casper

  18. Helen: first off I dont know what happened to Casper’s comment but I hope he comes back to banter.

    I understand where you are at with worship. and for me it is as simple as the fact that God said to worship him.

    Really it comes down to absolutes…where do you place your belief foundation. If it is the Bible and you take it as being valid today then You will make sure you follow it’s key foundations including the call to worship. If it isn’t then you won’t see a purpose in it.

    I have seen some amazing moves of God and miracles come out of worship.

    another very hard thing to explain is the mystery of God.
    What I mean by that is there are aspects to God and instruction/words from God that we just will not understand until we get to heaven. That is a difficult one to work with when talking to outsiders, but that is faith. Believing in what we do not see and sometimes don’t even understand.

  19. Hi Joel, thanks for your response. I’ll let Matt know.

    I understand where you are at with worship. and for me it is as simple as the fact that God said to worship him.

    I understand where you’re coming from. But I actually think there is more to it than this, for you. I think you probably ask questions like “is this really what God wants ME to do and why does he want me to?” before you go ahead and do “what God said”. You must have found satisfactory answers to those questions. God said (to Abraham) to sacrifice his son but I assume when you asked questions about that you decided God didn’t want you to take any of your children up a mountain to sacrifice them. (Even though that was in fact an act of worship.)

    I used to think that way (I was a Bible-believing Christian for 16 years).

    Now instead of “God said it” I understand that as “some humans wrote in a book called the Bible that God said it”. Those humans might be wrong about God’s existence and/or his nature. Their worldview might have been shaped by believing all Rulers must be Worshipped. They lived before the full impact of Jesus’ life really sank in – that when the King showed up he didn’t say “worship me” but instead, served people. Jesus turned everything upside-down. I personally think worshipping the Ruler belongs to the old system except one aspect of it which need not be literally enacted in worship rituals. That aspect is – by making God the object of worship, at least self-worship and making idols of other people or things is ruled out. It’s progress in the right direction.

    I think Brian McLaren nails this in his new book when he talks about framing stories. For me, worshiping the Ruler belongs to a framing story Jesus came to subvert and change. In a world where no worship was inconceivable the best Jesus could do is say “Make sure you only worship God – not yourself, not each other”. That ruled out a lot of idolatry. 2000 years later I would like to think we are ready to say worship is not really necessary – so let’s go use that time fixing the world instead.

  20. Wow, Matt’s comment has shown up!

  21. Matt.thanks for taking the time to respond
    ..i think something that has been misconstrued time and again is that i regret reading it or something. that is def. not the case. I don’t agree with all of the theology in it so in ranking of the book I give it less then other people seem to. Even with that said it is a book I recomend reading and more over that people go to your sites and read your after book thoughts and discussions for better insight

    you said

    “And that choir I mention is followers of the church. Followers of Jesus, on the other hand, really seem to like the book.”

    I don’t really know how to take this one…other then it seems you are judging me outside of reading things I have written. I could be wrong in what you write but I am suprised that you would lump me in the followers of church, but not a follower of Christ category. And i am very confused as to haw you have come to that conclusion.

    You said

    “Why not have the people of that church simply live more like the founder of the religion?”

    again obviously you are not reading anything I have written. that is exactly what I am saying the “church” needs to act like “the church” the body of Christ needs to act like Christ. I agree with that but i don’t think it is biblical that we do away with the idea of Church. I think that is very much off base. we have been called to the least, the lost, and the lonely. Sadly many in the church today have not taken up that mantle. I dont blame this on the institution…I blame it on people not doing what they are suppose to do.

    for context sake here is your words
    “You say,

    “We cannot be an inward church. Jesus preached to every one and everyone followed. He did not judge..he was just…He is Love.” Then why are most American churches and church leaders more known for being judgmental than loving? (Mark Driscoll instructs people on how not to sin, but not on how to love. Rick Warren tells people how to be purpose-driven, but not how to love their enemies. Joel Osteen teaches people how to be “a victor, not a victim,” but not how to love.)”

    I wrote what the church should be doing…I am very right in what I said…It should be doing that. It should be acting on the teaching of Christ and reaching out in love not judgement. Jesus spoke on how not to sin, how to be purpose driven and how to be a victor…he also preached and walked in love. I am not here to tell you why churches arent modeling this as well and I cant even begin to tell you the heart of those pastors because only God knows.
    I know what Christ called us to do and I am praying that more churches do walk in that

    you said

    “Yes, Jesus never watered down his faith. That’s because he lived it 24/7. Would you say churchgoers who spend maybe 2-3 hours a week living their faith have watered things down?”

    You bet they have…and that is disappointing. We are not Jesus…we are not perfect…we need to strive everyday to try to be more like Him. This is simple and this is one of the reasons why Church fellowship, prayer, and worship are important.
    you said

    “Would you say that church leaders who focus on growth–like any Good American Business–have watered down or flat-out forsaken their faith?”

    I’d say they are missing the point and I hope that God really reveals His truth to them.

    you said

    “Can anyone explain to me why (based on what I saw when I wrote the book) churches seem focused–and admire–growth above all else. It doesn’t really seem like what Jesus asked people to do, right?”

    Some churches are number hungry Ill give you that and that is not what Christ wanted…no. But interesting thing is Jesus said go into the world and make disciples of men. That is a numbers thing…no other way to put it. We are in the business of walking in Christs love and preaching His truth so that others can know him. I know in our church we have that goal…our numbers thing is we want people saved and transformed…we want people discipled and walking in Christ so they can reach out to others in His love as well. If they go to another church so be it. I believe in the BIG C church not the little c Church. It is important that we reach our town with the Good news of Christ and reach out in love to the community. If they go to our church..then great…if they dont we want to make sure they are apart of a church. simple as that.

    you said

    “I mean, his pitch was “love each other,” not “create a church that alienates nonbelievers” or “a church isn’t worth anything unless it has 3,000 attendees.”

    yeah thats messed up and not accurate…we are called to reach everybody…and thats why BIG C is more important…I personally would love to see churches come together to reach towns and we are working on mending those fences in our town.

    “The point of our book is not to help fix the church; it’s to help people be better followers of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, you’ll give it another shot…”

    Yeah I got that…and after reading your blog/sites I understand more…I still stand by my review but also encourage people to read the book and your sites for more clarity.
    I never thought of it as a selfhelp for churches…I thought of the book as here is what we think Christians should be acting like. some of it I agree with some of it I don’t. I think If you are a follower of Christ but dont consider his WORD your foundation then you are missing a vital piece of the puzzle. Because of that it can be hard to understand why a lot of things are important. including worship.
    Helen said basically whats the point. worship seems to get this tag that it’s music…well thats not a biblical concept either.

    Martin Luther said even milkmaids milking cows do it in worship.

    Everything we do in Christ is our act of worship. Jesus said to worship Him…and so it in the ways he prescribes…thats singing and raising our hands much like the angels, thats going into our community and feeding the homeless…thats mowing a neighbors lawn, thats trying to fight against abortion…thats loving your family and providing for them…its what Jesus did and he told us to do.

    My foundation is in the word…I am trying my best to be more like Jesus every day and act on it…We are called to be 24/7 Christians not just sunday christians…It’s easier said then done, but Ill tell you it is great having my church backing me up and picking me up when I fail in “His” mission

    “Thanks again for reading and writing…
    Jim and I talk to people on a regular basis here: http://www.churchrater.com

    thanks to you and helen as well for your openness. I will keep sending people to your churchrater site comments along with the book.

  22. I’m a little amazed by a statement and assumption or two I see here.

    About the assumption: why does it seem to be an accepted assumption that THE way to “follow” Jesus is to go around doing good works that anyone, Christian, atheist, or someone in between could do? That it takes no touch of God to do? Jesus modeled preaching/teaching, much of it about the Kingdom of God (His Father), certainly not a human edifice; supernatural healing and deliverance; prophecy; time spent praying and (at one point) fasting; stinging rebukes to legalistic religiosity; great and open generosity, but certainly not an easy “let live” attitude, towards great offenders; 24-hour “church,” at least in the sense of “koinonia” (he was with his disciples 100% of the time for weeks or months or years on end); willingness to die. John (or whoever else’s memories served as the basis for that gospel) says Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing. He certainly wasn’t doing what anybody in or out of power expected Him to be doing. According to the Markan narrative, his family thought He was crazy enough at one point that they came to collect Him. So how does following Jesus equate to establishing soup lines and doing works of “charity” along the same general line? (And don’t misunderstand me: I am not saying that people should not do those things. I tend to think they are very good things to do (at least if one “sees Jesus” or “sees the Father” doing them). 🙂

    About the statement: I was totally amazed to see Helen say she “would like to think we are ready to say worship is not really necessary – so let’s go use that time fixing the world instead.” Well, perhaps I should not be surprised at the attitude itself in someone who is “almost an atheist.” But, really, it’s not so much the attitude as its expression in the current context that I find surprising. At the point of saying it she was, after all, dialoguing with a Christian against the background of a discussion about what it was important for Christians to do when they gather together in happenings that are open to the public. Christians in general probably (I definitely) would say, at minimum, that “worship,” however we happen to define it (and our definitions vary), is an extricable part of what they want to happen when they gather together. And you will recall that Jesus didn’t only say “love your ‘neighbor.'” He pointed out the paramount importance of loving God. (Back to what “following Jesus” means, here.) Christianity sits on the shoulders of Judaism, and collective worship is embedded in Jewish theory and practice now and 20 centuries ago. Now what else we should be doing besides actual worship in meetings open to nonChristians, or how far we should go in styling our worship so that the experience doesn’t turn nonbelievers off for no good reason, are legitimate questions for discussion by all. But, to me, criticism of the very idea of worship happening in church goes a bit beyond what I think is legitimate or realistic. Back to what a follower of Jesus might do in the context of following Him: Jesus Himself did go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts (and preach and teach and heal). He also went to synagogue, and one or more of the Synoptics says it was His habit to do so.

    I seem to be coming late to this discussion. Anyone still looking at this thread? If you are there, thanks for listening (and for responding, if you respond).

  23. Florence: thanks for stopping by…great words and thoughts…
    I dont think i was taken aback as much cus while I dont agree with helen I can understand why she would say what is the point.
    I think People have been burned by Christians…and that shapes thier beliefs. Kimball said it best…they love jesus but not the church…
    Sometimes people who love Jesus dont have foundation in His teaching. If you dont consider the word your foundation and only believe it in part…it makes sense you wouldnt be on the same page.

  24. Klampert, I just followed the link to the CEC Worship site and I love your headline: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers — don’t you think He’ll attend to you?” To me, the primary reason for worship is the linkage one finds to God in the process. Now, I fully admit we Christians do public worship pretty ineffectively for the most part. In a nutshell, we’re often a lot more traditional than we are present to God. Is it any wonder we also frequently don’t know how to be present to ourselves, each other or nonbelievers in positive ways?

    Blessings…….

  25. Florence..thanks for coming back :)…
    yeah worship is a great connection to God…keep in mind biblical worship isnt just song…it is as David Crowder says a “praise habit” . walking in Christ and doing everything we can in excellence for him.
    If we could nail that down then we would be presenting ourselves to nonbelievers much better and making that change that Helen is asking for

  26. hey klampert, florence, helen, matt,

    thankyou all for sharing your thoughts. From my rather strangish place/perspective, it seems to me that what jesus was doing was a lot more about … helping the oppressed than about setting up an organized religion. yes, he participated in Judaism as far as that went. he also verbalized that he was actually changing all the rules, reframing a whole new story–with all his “You’ve heard it said (i.e. “in judaism, it’s done this way”), but *I* say (i.e., you got it all wrong, again!) …” I think he would be saying exactly the same sorts of things to the christian church of today. Jesus went around helping the lowest most outcast people. Touching lepers? that’s pretty freaking crazy and countercultural. Talking to women? Talking with *samaritan* women? healing the servants of *centurions*? He flipped stuff on it’s head. What about all that “But lord, lord, didn’t we do all these rocking miracles in your name, and have mega awesome ‘worship services’, and sing about the blood, and have lots of amazing programs ….?” and his “I was hungry, and you didn’t clothe me, I was sick, and you didn’t visit me, I was in prison, and you didn’t do … (refraining from use of bad language here …)squat for me. I never knew you.”?

    Who are the homeless, sick, imprisoned, lepers, centurions, samaritans, women, in the here and now? the most disempowered, hated, … etc.? I’m thinking mostly you won’t find them in sunday morning church services in the United States of America. 2 billion people are living on $2/day or less. 80,000 civilians have violently died in Iraq in the last 52 months, including 23 children killed by U.S. forces in Iraq during October. I bet 22 of those were killed by young men who attend sunday morning church services back home. How many level 3 sex offenders, perhaps the most despised humans in American culture, are hanging out at Sunday morning church services? Where would Jesus be hanging out on a sunday morning? or on a monday morning? at some 9-5 to make his $50K per year so he could have his three bedroom house, hot tub, and … let’s stay nice and modest … Honda?
    O dear, I see I have begun to rant. How did I slip into that?

    Sorry.

    I’ll try to work on that thing.

    Hope I haven’t put ya’ll off altogether.

    Later,

    Benjamin

  27. Benjamin, it’s true we all do interpretations, pick out what we think is important, etc. I do that; you do that. But you sound a little bit like the demythologizers to me, like you do not believe there was a supernatural component in Jesus, His acts, or His message. You sound like you think Jesus’s point was ethical only. I do think it’s valid to criticize the church for not sufficiently living out Jesus’s social ethics. But social ethics — as in care for the poor — were not His only thrust. 🙂

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