But first I want to explain a couple of things. (You can skip the next two paragraphs, if you want and go straight to the post)
First about blogging in general. I have only been at this for about a year and a half or so. I have seen bloggers come and go. I've seen people become very successful and some not so much. I started out blogging as sort of a notepad for writing my thesis in graduate school. But it soon turned into a place to write about whatever. I enjoyed it and I was surprised when I actually begin to make blogger friends. I started thinking about how to increase readership and how to write for my audience. So, blogging became a way to make a name for myself. I quickly learned that blogging for that reason was very self serving for me. I put it down for awhile. Then, with my new job, I really had to decide in what direction my blog was needing to go. After moving here, I really never thought how I could use this blog. So, I just sort of floated along hoping to not loose all the readers.
Then, after language school, I had time to ponder in what new direction I wanted to take the blog. I have decided to TRY and focus on ideologies of Christianity. I hope that is broad enough to allow me freedom to blog, yet narrow enough to bring some focus. So, whatever things I am trying to get work through, one might find it here.
Which leads me to the real content of this post.
I have been thinking for some time (maybe 2 to 3 years) the ways "church" is being redesigned. I first got interested in this when I read some stuff by Leonard Sweet (Aqua Church and SoulTsunami). I had never heard this before, and it seemed refreshing. I even ran into a couple of people more versed on "this," who helped me see some of the importance. During seminary, you hear ad naseum about postmodernism and emerging church (these terms may need defining, but that may have to wait). Then, I started having some questions about the movement, and at the same time seeing major problems in the "traditional" movement. I put it on a back burner until just before Thanksgiving of last year, when I had to read Jake Colson's awful book. (So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore). That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I decided I had to figure this out. I just want to add that this book is NOT what made me bring a back burner idea to the front. It really was the last straw. I do not recommend this book because it is so poorly written. But if you want to read it, go for it, for I will be using it as a guide as I critique and ask questions concerning this "new way of thinking about church." (BTW I will probably be using a ton of Christan-ese in these posts, so if you are reading this and are not Christian, you might be left out. However, you are still welcome here and still welcome to comment and ask questions.)
Now, I have not figured it out. Not even really understood it that well. But to comfort most of you, I am not going through an ecclesiastical crisis. I still believe as mostly as I always have with some tweaking here and there. However, depending on what side of fence you will be falling, you will agree and disagree with me throughout the entire series. So, let's talk and try to figure out this thing called the church.
I am a teacher by trade, and the only way I know to get a discussion started is to ask a question.
Where is the church?
I've had a lot of thoughts about where to begin this series. But today offered one solution. My wife and I had planned to go to what has been labeled a "traditional" church. That is one where people meet and there is a set formula for worship, usually songs of praise, prayer, and preaching, and possible fellowship. (This is an oversimplification. I realize that.) But that church was meeting in another town, so we decided to go the beach. The sun came out for about 15 to 20 minutes, and we got out and was in amazement of God's creation. When it began raining, we got in the car and read some scripture and prayed.
So, did we really have church? Can church happen at the beach? Was this the temple of God today?