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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Who made the rules?

There is a general sense of disillusionment with the traditional church. Disillusionment in the sense that there has to be something out there that connects with our culture and people in general in a deeper way. A spiritual way. A connecting way. Many are asking, "Is there not a "better way"?

Let's think about some thought provoking questions.

Who made the rules that we live by today? Who says we have to meet on Sunday morning at 10:30? who says we have to three songs, take up the offering, preach and go home? Who made the rules?

Why is our spirituality gaged by how many times we come to church and sit in rows, when the bible says that the church is to be a place of encouragement and sharing and renewal and relationship? How can we have relationship sitting in rows?

Who made the rule that we have to "dress up"?

Who made the rule that we have to have a "sermon"?

Who made the rule we have to be solemn or joyous or sad or happy in church?

What is the right way to act "in church"? Who made those rules?

Many have been wounded by the church. And when a person is wounded, the temptation is to flee, to run away from the pain. To reject the thing that is causing so much hurt.

But being disillusioned with the church and rejecting the church need not be the same thing. When we reject the church is becomes very hard to have any kind of relationship with Jesus.

When I hear someone say, "I love Jesus, but I can't stand the church," I realize that they are losing both ways. They are losing the relationships that the church provides and they are losing a connection with Jesus, who presents himself as one who lives inside each one of us who make up the church.

The challenge is there.

I believe in the church. I love the church. The church is people. We are the church. Let's all work to do better - and maybe break some rules.


Words are deadly said...

Hey Pastor Flattery,
I like what you are saying. I mean I think sometimes we forget how easy it is to just get mad and say, oh well I don't like this church. But my point is, is that the church is us every person who attends is "the church" they are all part of it. Maybe it would help if we all started to look at things a little differently, ya know like get a new perspective on things.

One other thing that I was going to say is that I also think that you are right in saying we should break a couple of rules. I am NOT saying to go out there and be crazy and stuff. All I am saying is that a few of the things we could change or just do differntly. One rule that I LOVE IT WHEN YOU BREAK, is the no food in the santcuary rule. It is always VERY GOOD when you break that rule- ha ha.

Also, who ever said that we ALWAYS have to dress up on sundays? I mean it is nice to dress up once in awhile- but why all the time?

Why do we always have to sit in rows? It is nicely organized, yes, but doesn't life always need to be just a little messy? If not then where is the fun in it- wouldn't it just make life dull and boring? Wouldn't it possibly kill our spiritial creativity- in how we learn about god and how we respond to it?

These are all some very, VERY good points. Lets just make sure that you do break one rule a lot though- BRING FOOD INTO THE SANCTUARY!!!! haha

~Mindy Bartzen

jarTO said...

People through the decades are the ones who have designed what church is. Church is not meant to be legalist (do it my way or the way we have always done it). People in general do not like change and as the church continues to change due to culture differences, the church resists it. They are use to their three songs, choruses, and want to do things the way it's always been done. Just like I can't parent both children the same, neither can the church reach each of us the same through the decades and change of times. Unfortunately, we have to reach people in new and different ways and what we did even 10 years ago doesn't work today. We are in a different day and age and clearly different culture in our society. The more we reach out to individuals letting them know we accept them, love them, and support them, the more we will see people finding Jesus and find a true relationship in Him. I love the way our church is moving and it is clear the change is reaching individuals and families that would otherwise not be inside a church building. We are the church, not the building (as George always says) and we must put our personal preferences aside in order for others to experience first hand the love of God.

Mindy, Steve Hill said when he visited First Assembly and this is not verbatim - 'when your walls start getting written all, carpet scuffed, pews stained, you know you are doing something right.' We may not purposefully choose to eat and mess up God's house, but those that have no concept or preconceived perceptions of what they think church is - praise God let them come in and do what they are comfortable with so they can experience the love of God through people in the church.

Youth Extreme said...

We have confused church with buildings and structures. God meant for the church to be people. Go and look for the early churches those in Ephisis and Tarsus. What you may find is dirt and some ancient foundations, but you may not find a building. It is not about the building, it is about relationships. THe statement I love Jesus but hate the church says to me the person has a one way relationship with Jesus, it is one of Provide for me. If we truly love Jesus we would love the people in all their faults and misgivings. We would love them even when they hurt us. But to many people today turn their back on Jesus because of a mere word or comment that was made by a person who is not perfect and it hurt our feelings. Jesus wanted us to build relationships, to serve one another. Not continue to look to be served. Relationships, strong relationships, are forged through trials, errors and problems. You share your hurts, feelings and thoughts knowing they will not be shared with the world. To often the worst gossip is done through prayer requests. As the church continues to grow I see us breaking down traditions and rituals that have invaded our church and becoming a smaller more relational church yet coming together to celebrate the greatness of God on Sunday in a building. But true church will continue throughout the week in our homes, on our streets and in our work environment. Because church is sharing Gods love and being Jesus to our unsaved co-workers, neighbors and family.

Firstag Music said...

Rules and tradition are sort of like a house. You build on a foundation. Once the house is built, you cannot change the foundation without causing structural damage to the house. The house, however, can be remodeled, the roof will need repair, old windows can be replaced with something more energy efficient, walls can be built and torn down, etc... But the foundation must remain. My house was built in 1940. Why doesn't it have all of it's original parts? Because some stuff just didn't work anymore. Other things were outdated. Better methods were discovered throghout the years.

So, if we are living stones being built into a spiritual house, Christ (not rules and tradition) needs to be our foundation. That foundation is the one thing that cannot change or the rest will fall apart.

The maker of the stones (us) is also Christ. Who are we to tell him how to make stones?

Firstag Music said...

Did my last post make sense or did I sound like Xtremeyouth?

Corey said...

What Bill said is so true, unfortunately I don't own a house, so when something breaks I can call maintance and they will come over and fix it!

Rules are needed, some can be bent, and some we can just do away with. Yet there are some that need to stay. As times change and culture changes so do rules. The thing we need to remember is that rules will eventually change. The speed limit use to be 55 now it is 70 and in some parts it is 90 and even in other areas there is no posted speed. Just keep your eyes on the road and stay focused and you will be ok.

Jon said...

Rules are good things to live by...but only if you're following the right rules. Most gangs have rules but that doesn't mean we all follow them, if you get my drift. The rules that we have to live by are all contained in the Word of God and summed up very well by our current phrase of "Love God, Love People." If we do those two things well, then we should not have to worry about whether or not the rules of the world are being broken. Most "rules" concerning organized religion and church were made by man, with limited wisdom and (sometimes) with a lack of spiritual guidance. Quite often, a tradition becomes a rule because "we've always done it that way!" We should not be overly worried about reviewing (and challenging) the rules of the world when they conflict with the rules of our Lord. Whenever I feel in conflict with a rule, whether at work, at church, at home, or out on the street, I try to take some time to pray and ask God what His intentions are for me in that situation. If God leads me, then I cannot be headed in the wrong direction, even if everyone else is headed the other way. I know that I often am seen as a non-conformist but my disillusionment with organized religion and nonsensical church rules are part of what caused me to leave the church those many years ago. But God did not leave me and He molded the events in my life so that I can see that I should not let the actions of others determine my walk with Him...instead, when others rebel or rebuke, I must continue my walk with Jesus Christ and seek His guidance on ALL matters. God Bless.