The church search continues

I'm not comfortable being completely transparent during our church search. There are too many people that I know that attend churches we have visited and decided not to go to. We really don't want to hurt feelings, and we aren't in any position to change things at any of the churches we visited. So I have decided it is best not to be critical. I hope what they are doing is good and healthy for their body of believers and the spread of the Good News of the Kingdom.

Because of this refusal to be public about this search and the fact that this search is the main thing on my mind, my posting has been less and less in recent months since we left Antwerp Community Church. I plan on that changing once we find a church home. Until then, I think you are going to be left with sparse posting. I have probably alread lost all of my readers, but that is okay.

I just started reading an incredible book by Rob Bell entitled Velvet Elvis. In the midst of the first chapter where he talks about doctrine, what it means to be a Christian, and the family trampoline in the back yard, he had this to say:

I am far more interested in jumping than I am in arguing about whose trampoline is better. You rarely defend the things you love. You enjoy them and tell others about them and invite others to enjoy them with you. Have you ever seen someone pull a photo out of their wallet and argue about the supremacy of this particular loved one? Of course not. They show you the picture and give you the opportunity to see what they love. The first Christians announced this way of Jesus as "the good news". That tells me the invitation is for everybody. The problem with brickianity (the belief Rob Bell is talking about where are doctrines are bricks in a wall that will crumble if one is wrong compared to it being springs on his family's trampoline which stretch and can be removed) is that the walls inevitably keep people out. Often it appears as though you have to agree to all of the bricks exactly as they are or you can't join. Maybe you have been outside the wall before. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

This is where I feel we are in our church search. Every church we have been to, and the one we left, all have teachings (bricks if you will) that they insist you adhere to in order to be of any use within the structure of the church. I love the old and somewhat forgotten church of Christ/Christian church slogan "In essentials, unity. In opinions, liberty. In all things, love". It seems that most churches have broadened essentials so much that it begins to take over opinions. Soon there is no room left for liberty; every little belief becomes an essential.

I'll leave you with another great quote from Velvet Elvis.

A trampoline only workd if you take your feet off the firm, stable ground and jump into the air and let the trampoline propel you upward. Talking about trampolines isn't jumping; it's talking. Two vastly different things. And so we jump and we invite others to jump with us, to live the way of Jesus and see what happens. You don't have to know anything about the springs to pursue living "the way". In brickworld, the focus often become getting people to believe the right things so they can be "in". There is often a list of however many doctrines, and the goal is to get people to intellectually assent to these things being true. Once we believe the right things, then we're in. And once we're in, the goal often becomes learing how to get others in with us. I this is harsh, but in many settings it is true. It is possible in these settings to be in, and to believe all of the correct things, and even to be effective at getting others in, and yet our hearts can remain unaffected. It's possible to believe all the right things and be miserable. It's possible to believe all the right doctrines and not live as Jesus teaches us to live. This is why I am so passionate about the trampoline. I want to invite people to actually live this way so the life Jesus offers gradually becomes their life. It becomes less and less about talking, and more and more about the experience we are actually having.

Thanks to Shannon for recommending this book to me.

Watch out for the potholes.