Friday, July 31, 2009
More on Pagan Christianity
So the book breaks down the 'sacred cows' of Christianity (protestant... although much of what we do comes from the catholics of course) and it really takes a hard look at the 'scriptural' basis of our 'church expressions'. Here's a big one:
Church buildings: non-existent in the early church of course... meeting in each other's homes for teaching, meals and prayers... open courtyards and marketplaces for evangelism etc...
The breakdown on the amount of money we spend on buildings for 'the church' is crazy.. it's embarassing. I remember a trip to Zambia where I was speaking to some Zambian salvationists who were expanding so fast they couldn't keep up with the buildings necessary to 'house their church'... I told them they shouldn't worry about the building because they are the church - this they understood well... then I told them that we (in the west) had big huge buildings with NO people.. and they couldn't believe it. Neither would the early church... what on earth do we need buildings for????
In Vancouver, we experiemented with a cell based community... we met in homes, bars, coffee shops etc.. and we tried really hard to not just 'do church' but the 'be church'. We thought up t-shirts that said 'I'm a living stone'... and everytime my mother called to ask me if I went to church on sunday I'd say, 'mom, I am the church'. Although we were living in a part of the city where conditions were against us (transient population, excessive drug use, etc..) we grew... much faster than we thought we could... and the growth was organic... because there was no building we had to make room in our places.. because there was no central 'foodbank' we had to make meals in our homes and share them with our friends etc... the lack of building actually forced us to be what we said we wanted to be. It was a much harder experiment than I thought it would be... the reality of being the church is a 24/7 surrender to the Lordship of Christ. But it was worth it. It created a living, breathing, people of God... no fancy building but a great bunch of surrendered lives and people sharing their lives on the journey towards transforming a city... it's incredible what an organic church can do. The early church modelled this well... I'm not sure why it's so hard to let go of structures that seem to limit our potential and suck up all our resources... if every church got rid of their building and started to do church organically - what would we do with all the money??? The early church idea was to give it to the poor... wow. revolutionary thinking.