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Ministry/Church Related
 Shovel Shack : Ministry/Church Related
Subject Topic: OUT OF CHURCH CHRISTIANS
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coker77
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 7:16pm | IP Logged  

A good friend sent me this today.  I must admit, that I came out of religion in 1994.  I deeply feel that there are many who are waiting "out of church" whom God is about to use. Is God gathering His sheep?

 

Your thoughts?

Bob Coker

 

"OUT OF CHURCH" CHRISTIANS

-by Andrew Strom.

 

I am writing on a rather unusual topic today. On Monday

night (31 March) I was invited onto a Christian Radio show

in New Zealand to discuss the growing numbers of "Out-of-

church" Christians in the West - people who have left the

churches for various reasons but still claim a strong Christian faith. It was a very interesting night, and the phones ran hot.

 

This "Out-of-church" phenomenon has now grown so large that

books are being written about it.  In fact, several years ago I heard an estimate that there are TENS OF THOUSANDS of

such Christians just in our largest city (-Auckland) alone. And I believe it is the same right across the Western nations. I have personally come into contact with literally hundreds of such people. The surprising thing is that they are often the most committed kind of Christians - praying, insightful, deep-thinking. Yet they have grown tired of "playing the game" inside our church system and have opted out. Often their involvement goes back many years. In fact, they had commonly been leaders of various kinds.

 

But now they have left. Why? The church obviously finds

this a very difficult thing to explain or deal with. The usual accusations are often trotted out: "So-and-so has been hurt and has a root of bitterness". Or they are in "rebellion". Or they are "not a team player". Or they are "backsliding".

 

But if you talk to these people you will often find that they

have been sitting in church for years and years, and they

simply cannot stand to sit and watch the same old game

being played any more. The LACK OF GOD is what gets to

them - even in our most "Spirit-filled" churches. WHERE IS

 GOD IN ALL OF OUR ACTIVITY?  Surely this is not the

way it is supposed to be? 

 

New fads and programs come and go, but the mediocrity and

LACK OF GOD just seem to go on forever. And so quietly,

sometimes without anyone even noticing, they slowly slip

out the doors - never to return. Some have even told me that

they felt God "calling them out". Others simply felt they

couldn't stay there anymore. The state of the church weighed

upon them more than words could say.

 

Very often they did the rounds of other churches, hoping

against hope that they would find a place that felt "right" in any way. (-Though most of them are not "church-hoppers"

by nature). But the places they visited never seemed any

more "right" than the place they had left. And after a while

it just seemed easier to stay at home with God.

 

As I said earlier, most of these people have not given up on

Christianity at all. It is today's church system that they have given up on. And we are talking about large numbers here. Thousands are already opting out. And many feel like they are "waiting" for something.

 

Some of these people have started up home-fellowships. Or

they meet with other couples on a casual basis. But many

meet with nobody at all, and they consider themselves in a

'Wilderness' place - alone with God. (-Very common).

 

I was asked several weeks ago by a pastor whether I agreed

that what is happening could be a 'move of God'. That is a

pretty radical thought.  Many leaders would think the

opposite. Because anything that leads people out of

"their church" can't be of God, can it?

 

Hmmmm.  All I know is this: The concept of going through

a 'Wilderness' just before entering the 'Promised Land' is

totally Scriptural.  In fact, it is right through the Bible.

Even Jesus went through such a wilderness time.

 

But it is not possible to stay "alone" forever. Some day,

if these people are going to be part of a new move of

God's Spirit, they are going to have to come out of their

wilderness and become part of the "BODY" that Jesus 

brings together - the 'new wineskin' that will come with

this new move of God. Otherwise they could miss out.

That is the great danger.

 

I'm sure there are many on this List with comments or

testimonies relating to this topic. I would love to hear

from you. It really is becoming a significant issue in the

church.

 

God bless you, my friends.

Kindest regards in Christ,

By Andrew Strom.

 

Posted by Bob Coker



      

Ro 15:15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me
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mary
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 7:36pm | IP Logged  

Out of the church and loving it!  Part of a body? Absolutely!  "Missing a move?"  Heck no.    Making a move to leave?  Best thing I ever did!  In "GREAT DANGER?"  Heck no.  The most safe and loved I"ve ever felt!
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steph
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 9:22pm | IP Logged  

Bob,

I found the article you posted interesting.  I agree with Mary that I don't feel as though I am missing a thing!  I do feel part of the body without "church" being part of my life.  There are times that I do believe there is something more to come, but I don't feel the need to search it out or worry about it---it will come in due time, if at all.  I am not surprised at the numbers of people that have left "church" or for the reasons they have given.  I talk to people all the time that tell me they are sick and tired of the crap going on in churches and that they want to leave, but feel guilty.  The reason I think they feel they can tell me is that I am already "OUT" of the church scene, and they know I won't judge them.

Leaving church was the healthiest thing I have ever done!

sue

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wags
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 10:15pm | IP Logged  

"But it is not possible to stay "alone" forever. Some day,

if these people are going to be part of a new move of

God's Spirit, they are going to have to come out of their

wilderness and become part of the "BODY" that Jesus 

brings together - the 'new wineskin' that will come with

this new move of God."

The Body IS.  Nothing and no one has dismantled anything.  And staying a lone???? What about that Jesus person who is with us?  In Him... even if on a lone expedition to Mars, you are in the Body... perfectly connected.  

There is nothing new.  There's always been the in crowds and out crowds and finger pointings and movement labelings.  In the midst of it all, one connected body, on a solid foundation, living the perfectly orchestrated plan, however it happens to look.

Michael

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Joyce
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 10:17pm | IP Logged  

 

Well, first of all I guess I'd have to say that the topic of this thread doesn't quite ring true to me.  I don't believe it is possible for there to be any "out of church Christians".  If you are in Christ then you are in his body, which is His church.  The two are inseparable. 

Secondly, without going into what I heard just recently in reference to "movement of God", I guess I am always a little leary of the term.  So many claim to be in what God is doing at that particular time.  I do believe though that God is always moving among those that are His in some way or another. 

I also believe there is a danger in  thinking in terms of what people "should do now" since God has drawn them out.  It is HIS doing.  We can't pre-plan what He is going to do.  I have been down that road too many times to "try" or even think about it again.

I just HAVE to say too, that I just returned from the meeting of the "Shackateers" in Missouri and was completely blown away with the spontaneous and "alive in us" "doing" of God.  There was such a sense of our all being one in Him... of our belonging together at the time.  There was no structure, no sermon, no order of worship, no....., etc.  but everything I heard seemed just for me at the time.  There was fun, and there was "ministry" to our hearts in the purest sense of the word.  At least that is what I sensed and more... It is hard to even say it in words, but I was very blessed. 

Joyce

 

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wags
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 10:27pm | IP Logged  

Yay Joyce... me too, me too!!!  "There was such a sense of our all being one in Him", wasn't it fascinating how whole things seemed.  

Great post all around... also to Mary and Sue.  

Michael 

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Joyce
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 10:34pm | IP Logged  

 

MICHAEL!

It was soooo good to get to meet you this past week-end.  I had such a sense of "being where you are" in so many areas and it is comforting to know that there are others like me with the same struggles and thoughts.  It looks like I was posting about the same time that you were, but I agree so much...  The body "IS", no matter what it looks like. 

Joyce

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mary
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 10:45pm | IP Logged  

"The body Is.  Nothing or noone has dismantled anything."  Wow, I loved that wording.  What a beautiful way of expressing something that we are experiencing in the now, resting in, in the now, and totally blessed by in the now."

Hi Joyce, Steph!

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mcdave
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 11:06pm | IP Logged  

Quote: Originally posted by Joyce on 4/06/03

 

Well, first of all I guess I'd have to say that the topic of this thread doesn't quite ring true to me.  I don't believe it is possible for there to be any "out of church Christians".  If you are in Christ then you are in his body, which is His church.  The two are inseparable. 

Secondly, without going into what I heard just recently in reference to "movement of God", I guess I am always a little leary of the term.  So many claim to be in what God is doing at that particular time.  I do believe though that God is always moving among those that are His in some way or another. 

I also believe there is a danger in  thinking in terms of what people "should do now" since God has drawn them out.  It is HIS doing.  We can't pre-plan what He is going to do.  I have been down that road too many times to "try" or even think about it again.

I just HAVE to say too, that I just returned from the meeting of the "Shackateers" in Missouri and was completely blown away with the spontaneous and "alive in us" "doing" of God.  There was such a sense of our all being one in Him... of our belonging together at the time.  There was no structure, no sermon, no order of worship, no....., etc.  but everything I heard seemed just for me at the time.  There was fun, and there was "ministry" to our hearts in the purest sense of the word.  At least that is what I sensed and more... It is hard to even say it in words, but I was very blessed. 

Joyce

 


joyce,

        i  busted a gut at the "movement" thought .each of the thoughts you put up here ring in my spirit too.

     the "church".....we ARE the "church"how could we leave what we are and what God has made us??.we may have left institutions but they are merely buildings...the church,the body of Christ of which He is the head is US and is alive and well

 .... the movement of god.there is only one move of God and that is Christ alive in us by his spirit.i question most "christian" terminology too.not that the original terms were wrong or "bad",but that the true meaning has been lost by overuse,neglect or just by bad teaching in the first place.

 .....the shack gathering.it was wonderful to meet you and the others who were able to make it.it showed me what"church" is.it is really just those that Christ is alive in. and was evident in everyone there.you could see Him reflected in each others eyes.and it was as if we were not strangers meeting for the first time,it was more like a reunion of kindred hearts .i know that is what will happen when we meet again too.time and space will not affect us because as we are all joined in Him right now,we are not limited by either.the gathering together in person was an added bonusreligious talk?no REAL life.



      

     It's not works,it's coffee.
   

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Joyce
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Posted: Apr-06-03 at 11:21pm | IP Logged  

 

McDave, Mary, Jim, Sherri and Judy,

Just wanted to say I didn't just enjoy meeting Michael.  It was good to meet all of you.  It was so much fun and well, I guess I have already said how it was.  Agreed with what the rest of you had to say on this topic as well.  For some reason that coke jingle is going on in my mind.... "It's the real thing..."

Joyce

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Jeremy
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Posted: Apr-07-03 at 3:06am | IP Logged  

Hi my name is Jeremy Woods. writing from adelaide, australia. this is my first post at the shovelshack. it seems like a really good forum with a lot of mature people on it. i have been browsing on this forum and website for a while now but after seeing this topic realised i just had to add something to this topic. 

I have been 'out of the institutional church' for a few years now, and i'm not the only one. i have at least 7-8 friends who all have left as well, but have not given up on God, not in the slightest. In fact for the sake of my spiritual health i had to leave the institutional church. I like what someone mentioned earlier- that God's church IS! . When i talk of God's church now i differentiate between 'institutional' and 'ORGANCIC'.  I just had to leave the organized church cos i found it so mechanical rather than organic which i believe is more biblical.

I have read some great books written by people in recent times that have gone through this process as well. chek out 'rethinking the wineskin' and 'who is your covering ' by frank viola. he has a new book which i'm trying to get soon called 'pagan christianity' which examines the origins of most protestant church practices and how they have nothing to do with the new testament etc. other books in this area i have read include 'the problem of wineskins today' by howard synder, 'going to the root' by christian smith, and 'houses that change the world' by wolfgang simson.

another reason i had to leave the 'institutional ' church was to escape the legalism which i felt i had been constantly abused by for years. since i've left it i have read many books on God's love and grace which is how i came across the shovel site in the first place. some of these books include 'grace walk, rules and land by steve mcvey, books by brennan manning, bob george and many others. in fact in the last 4 years i must have read over 40 books on this topic and constantly go to sites such as this one and www.gospelfortoday.org, www.gracewalk.org,  www.eternitynow.org , www.brennanmanning.com,   and church reformation sites such as www.ptmin.org, www.nextreformation.com, and house chuch type sites.

I also notice  the guy from www.mephibstreasury.com site on here. i constanlty go to that one as well. there's a lot of good stuff on there as well. thank you peter for great stuff on there and to jim minker for this great website.

There is just SO MUCH I WANT TO SAY but this will do for now. if i knew how to put a picture on here i would but i'm not too cluey with the technical side of computers.

bye for now.



      

Jeremy

"He came to set the captives free, a message of simplicity"

(Tourniquet song - 'trivilising the momentous,complicating the obvious')
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luvin
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Posted: Apr-07-03 at 3:14am | IP Logged  

Come to Cali!

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Jeremy
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Hi again , jeremy here. my fiancee Gabriela would like to share somethings as well.

Hello to all!!

There are so many of us who are disheartened with the 'organised church' body of Christ, when I first heard of Jesus I was a hardened street wanderer and basically doing my own thing and God sent his angels to reach out to me, thankfully He knew the state my heart was in (very broken and needing healing ) and He did the whole work of bringing me to him and asking Jesus to restore my heart I was alone, but not alone God was watching over me, so, 20 years on.....He has never forsaken me and although I have faced alot of religious views and enforced ways of church life that seemed to be more of a burden than an embracing newness of God and wanting to walk it, it just turned me into something I was not, I sounded and acted mechanical and very Christianese, I have met God in the darkness in many ways and have survived the hardships and the rejections and I have always found that God brings the right people around at the right time and they have always been genuine, loving, comassionate and mature in Christ which has made me press on and believe in His goodness for me.... I would just like to uplift you all and keep the faith, knowing that God understands us all and knows how best to speak to us as we walk day by day trusting Him to lead and guide us to whatever is next for us to meet, experience and attain in Him, He truly cares for His sheep and His sheep know His voice, don't despair in thinking you're forgotten or abandoned, He will leave the 99 to save the 1 and nurture them back to health and His flock, He did it for me in all areas and is still saving me from everyday confrontations, He is your friend and He knows you better than you do...trust Him for your tomorrows and share your uncertainies with Him He will lead you to greener pastures and heal your spirit!!!!...friends are so important, true friends are more worth than gold...God bless you all as you trust Him for your life.....cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.....sincerest wishes and good health..love Gabriela ....( p.s. we are all so fallable) and God's love for us in that is unconditional, amen..



      

Jeremy

"He came to set the captives free, a message of simplicity"

(Tourniquet song - 'trivilising the momentous,complicating the obvious')
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Joyce
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Posted: Apr-07-03 at 11:15am | IP Logged  

 

Dear Jeremy and Gabriela,

I had just written a post to you and somehow it didn't go through.  Just wanted to say though how good it is to hear from the two of you.  I have read quite a lot of the things that Jeremy referred to.  And Gabriela, what a wonderful testimony of God's work in your life! 

Your talking about your experiences in the organization institution brought to mind something that was brought out this past week-end where Paul was talking to the Galatians and said, "You were running well.  Who bewitched you?"  Who changed this wonderful life that you were experiencing in Christ and made into drudgery and control?  It comes in statements of like: "Now you have to obey".  "There's work for the kingdom to be done."  "Give and (then) God will give to you." etc., etc.  They come in a myriad of scenerios and and various forms, but they are all the same.  I'm just so glad for those who have helped me see this and have helped me breathe again the 'fresh air' of our Life that we have in Christ.

Joyce

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Richard
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Posted: Apr-07-03 at 12:39pm | IP Logged  

Joyce,

Breathe deep, the breath (fresh air) of God.

So glad to hear you had a good time.

Richard



      

In Him we Live......
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luvin
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Posted: Apr-07-03 at 12:45pm | IP Logged  

Hey,Dave when are JAND S COMING BACK?tHEY JUST KEPT RIGHT ON GOING.....
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mcdave
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I think they are heading towards home friday and planed on being home by sunday?it sounds like jim has           net access at his brothers so i bet he will be checking in before then.we missed you in springfield so we will come your way next time.it really was  a good time.not like people meeting for the first time at all,and not like some kind of "spritual"conference,instead it was like a family gathering catching up on each others lives as if we have known and been known by each other a long time.very cool.i'm working on getting some pics ready to put up somewhere to share the fun

      

     It's not works,it's coffee.
   

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Richard
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McDave,   Looking forward to seeing them bro.

Rich-man



      

In Him we Live......
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Connie
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This article points out the obvious(people leaving O.R.) and then gives answers and solutions as if there is something wrong with what's happening!  Just another religious wool pulling over the eyes, huh? My eyes have been opened, though, and I don't need anyone telling me what I HAVE to do.  I 'm not listening to anyone trying to put fear into me that if I don't do something there is a danger lurking to get me.  How can I "miss" God when I'm IN HIM?  Maybe this person is sensing the life in what's happening, but it appears to me that he has to have some kind of remedy. So he looks at it from a religious view point and it's exactly at that point that he loses his perspective.  IMO he's going to have to leave ALL of it before he can see things clearly.

      

Connie
"Wow!It's so bright in here!"
II Cor.4:5-6

    
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the shovel
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Hi all!

Yeah, I'm at my little bro's house and have a few minutes here to check in.  You guys are just so encouraging in this very real life in Christ we share together ... whether on the internet or in a Missouri hotel or on the phone or simply in our thoughts and prayers!!  Thank you all for taking the time to let your fingers do the walking across the keyboard so that myself and others can share it with you!! 

Adam .... Californy, here we come!!!     Yep, a few of us are already talking it up!!

Love, Jim



      

DIGGIN'THE LIFE!
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mcdave
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Posted: Apr-07-03 at 8:34pm | IP Logged  

Quote: Originally posted by Richard on 4/07/03

McDave,   Looking forward to seeing them bro.

Rich-man


 Rich,i don't know how to get them up here but here is the link where i have a buch of the missouri gathering pics up.     http://www.geocities.com/mcdave7/springfieldpics.html?1049761949670

      

     It's not works,it's coffee.
   

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Richard
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Posted: Apr-07-03 at 8:40pm | IP Logged  

McDave, Thanks bro, great shots. Glad you had a great time!

Rich-man



      

In Him we Live......
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PhilTex
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Posted: Apr-08-03 at 4:56pm | IP Logged  

Hey Bob

<<<Otherwise they could miss out.

That is the great danger.>>>

Hey Bob. I mean this as a thoughtful consideration-Is not this "great danger" stuff a little over the top.No one really believes that any more.The institution has been dumped for that very reason. We are tired of the threats.( God is going to get us if we do not cooperate)

NUTS!!!

<<<Out of the church and loving it!  Part of a body? Absolutely!  "Missing a move?"  Heck no.    Making a move to leave?  Best thing I ever did!  In "GREAT DANGER?"  Heck no.  The most safe and loved I"ve ever felt!>>>

Mary you hit it on the head. Perfect!!

I do think that it is amazing that the "official" people in the church are wondering where everybody went. Realy kind of funny. And most of us are leaving at our peak earning years.( Drat, that lost tithe)

Boy Bob this topic could really get me going if I let it.



      

http://phargasrant.blogspot.com/
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coker77
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Posted: Apr-08-03 at 8:06pm | IP Logged  

Wonderful thoughts and I thank you all.  As me for me and mine.. we'll never go back either... You can take the Boy out of church, but you can't take the Church out of the Boy...

 

Now how do I stop this thing?

 

It is finished.

 

 



      

Ro 15:15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me
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Nancy
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Posted: Apr-09-03 at 7:44am | IP Logged  

Mary and Connie I agree with your assessments. The article correctly articulated my own reasons for leaving the organized church, but if there's more to come, then how could I miss out on it? The same spirit connects us all and makes us the church. How could he also pass me by? It does seem to me that this person (Andrew Strom)  is still thinking "religiously"; looking for and expecting 'something more'. There is no more! What more could you need or want?

This might be a bit naughty of me, but I find it humorous to think of church leaders with bewildered looks on their faces, wondering why everybody would want to leave.

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mary
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Posted: Apr-09-03 at 10:00am | IP Logged  

Phil,

       "OFFICIAL" what?  AGGREVATION, CONSTERNATION, MANIPULATION, CONDEMNATION, and don't forget REVELATION. 

       I am afraid, truth be made known, it is THEY who are missing the CHURCH.

      

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Valerie
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Posted: Apr-09-03 at 10:50am | IP Logged  

Quote: Originally posted by PhilTex on 4/08/03

And most of us are leaving at our peak earning years.( Drat, that lost tithe)


Phil, this is hilarious! 

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Richard
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Posted: Apr-09-03 at 12:01pm | IP Logged  

Sherri,

Obviously this get-away for you is a breath of fresh air. Being able to do what you want without having to attend to so many other demands that you face at home. :)

Seeing this spelled out in part at least in your couple of posts. It's been quite some time since we last heard from ya. Keep it up!! :)

Love, Sir Rich-man



      

In Him we Live......
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PhilTex
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Posted: Apr-09-03 at 10:03pm | IP Logged  

Hey Who's that--Sherri, Sherri who? Good to see you back... can you believe how many times I misspelled Pharoe/Pharoah...

Nancy, you naughty thing you...

Thanx Val glad to make you laugh!

I can not believe how much this thread stirred me up!!!



      

http://phargasrant.blogspot.com/
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luvin
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Posted: Apr-10-03 at 1:14am | IP Logged  

What an encouragement you are Sherri-i love you sis! 
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Angie
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Posted: Apr-10-03 at 1:33pm | IP Logged  

Hey guys!

First, it was great to hear from you, Jeremy & Gabriela! Keep joining in... I look forward to hearing your thoughts, feelings & experiences.

The article... I found it good in that it does articulate many of the reasons for this outflow of people from churchianity, but leaves out so much as well. For myself, I've found that most of the time, the focus is more on the propagation and needs of the organization than Christ and the needs of people. There are so many twists given to anything about Christ and it actually turns me away from him, keeping me from trusting God. I finally gave up, realizing that church really wasn't going to offer me what I desired... open fellowship that focuses on Christ, real Christ-like love (maybe not perfectly, but at least some sense of people caring for people rather than using each other for what we can offer the organization). And I got sick of being seen as someone who is only capable of offering child care. I do that enough with my three children, thank you. And any time I was in a situation where I could actually express myself, someone "higher up" had to step in to control me.... even if it was just in the area of producing the bulletin for the service and adding some warmth and character to it! The fear-mongering... the iron control... the lack of individuality... the production mentality... capitalist christianity... ugggh!

So there!

Having moved nearly as far west as I could possibly go... I've been wondering how to go about meeting people and having any kind of real contact with others. I suck at small talk with people I don't know, by the way. My logic led me to the fact that you technically can meet people in a church service... But are those really the people I want to meet? Not particularly. And then there's the fact that if I attended a church, it wouldn't take me long to figure out it's not about Christ or what he's done & ministering to people with that truth, but about benefitting the system. The same things I objected to in society when I was younger (when everyone told me I was wrong and had to conform, blah, blah, blah), are the things I can't stand in institutionalized Christianity. It's just a big distraction from what we have with God through Christ. So, in the end, I haven't been able to force myself to go!

And then I thought I could volunteer at the local salvation army (that name is an oxymoron to me, by the way), but then I think of the structure of the Salvation Army... uniforms, designations, etc. Uggh! And then I thought of the soup kitchen. On and on and on... I have always wanted to be involved in helping down-and-out people, but that seems to be a negative way of introducing myself to a community. I want to be involved, to some extent, with other believers, but I can't stand the institution or the bullshit... and I know where I'm at makes me unacceptable to the average churchite anyway. I'm not one, I don't want to be one, and actually, I'm against the whole idea of it anyway! Why start the same old struggle all over again? They say, "You must conform." I say, "Bite me!" (I'm feeling pretty rebellious lately... and I'm also feeling the need to be really blunt!)

So, I'm going to relax and be who I am where I am, knowing that God has good things for me, including relationships, and He will work that out. He will also direct me in my desires to do something more helpful for hurting people, in his timing, not where I'm struggling about it.

Back to the article... I'm offended by the tone it takes later on, treating those of us believers who have made the choice to live our lives outside the organization like a problem... as if God is confined to that organization and there's something wrong with those who don't see it that way. It does recognize that we could still be having a valid relationship with God, which is good. But it also acts like we're a problem to be solved or like there has to be some greater motive or meaning behind it.  Maybe this IS the move of God... leading us to know HIM and trust HIM and experience the freedom and goodness in relationship with HIM rather than functioning according to the demands and dictates of an organization... pleasing man rather than knowing God.

And that's my strongly opinionate answer.... Articulating what I've been thinking and feeling is actually a big relief for me, by the way.

And Sherri... it's great to hear from you. I've been missing you.   

Angie

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coker77
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Posted: Apr-10-03 at 6:59pm | IP Logged  

What is the Kingdom of God? 

      

Ro 15:15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me
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luvin
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Posted: Apr-10-03 at 11:21pm | IP Logged  

Domain of God?
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Jeremy
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Posted: Apr-11-03 at 11:19am | IP Logged  

 

YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED!

YOU WILL BECOME ONE WITH THE BORG!

YOUR BIOLOGICAL AND TECHNILOGICAL DISTINCTIVENESS WILL BE ADDED TO OUR OWN!

Okay, i'm not threatening anyone. just trying to grab your attention. Anyone who is familiar with star trek- especially 'the next generation' will be familiar with some of these lines. funny enough- myself and some of my friends who were/are fans of this series used to joke about that was how we felt at 'church' - the institutional kind. We felt like cogs in a machine and were expected to play our part etc. We all felt that church had become more like a mechanical system where people were only valued if they did their part for the system(collective)- another star trek borg concept

the above article had some good things to say but like alot of others here i felt that it was said from somone's point of view who is firmly entrenced within the programmed to death environment of what is generally known today as  the institutional church.

I firmly believe that christianity is slowly changing from being mechanical to organic and am very encourgaged when i see plenty of others on here and people i personally know who out of geniune longing for relational intimacy with God and others in the same boat, are able to talk freely about our concerns, longings and desire to live transparently which we couldn't really do in our past church environments.

We ARE the church. No one can snatch that away from us. No amount of threatenings about being 'backslidden' or 'subversives' can change that. What awesome freedom to know i don't have to 'bring people to a building' or have to attend some special place every week.

YOU AND I ARE THE HOUSE OF GOD. NO building is the house of God. Stephen in the book of acts was stoned to death for saying that God does not dwell in places made of stones etc.  Paul made it clear that we are the TEMPLE OF GOD.

Cos of this awesome freedom i can relax in knowing that no church system is the right one. God is in us - whereever we are or meet. Some in the institutional church will say then 'then there's nothing wrong with meeting in a church building'. I am careful not to say that 'the house church movement is the answer to everything. I am just not into ANY MOVEMENTS anymore.  i personally cannot go bak to the institutional / building type church anymore and would prefer to simple meet with people in an informal type environment- which is generally in  homes - or anywhere. Since leaving the church machine i have been able to be more spontaneous with God and others and have communion at the drop of a hat and pray for people at times of need etc without having to get in a 'religious frame of mind'.

It took me a few years however of 'deprogramming' to be able to give myself permission to not feel bad about  not conforming to the institutional church's peer group pressure. I spent about 8 or 9 years within the system from 1985 to about the mid 90's and then spent the last years since then deprogramming myself outside of the system.

To Joyce and Angie- thank you for your nice words

and to all the others on here. thankyou for such great input. I feel i can truly relate to most of you.



      

Jeremy

"He came to set the captives free, a message of simplicity"

(Tourniquet song - 'trivilising the momentous,complicating the obvious')
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Angie
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Posted: Apr-11-03 at 12:09pm | IP Logged  

Jeremy.... amen! I loved the borg analogy!

The kingdom of God... I know it's a spiritual kingdom comprised of those who are in Christ and therefore in relationship with God.

I also know it's not a human kingdom focused on a human structure that reflects more of the materialistic values of our society than reflecting Christ and His values...

Angie

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steph
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Posted: Apr-11-03 at 9:42pm | IP Logged  

"I am just not into ANY MOVEMENTS anymore"

A friend of mine and I have been discussing this very point in the past months----the movements are of no interest to us---just the relationship with Christ Himself.

sue

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Jeremy
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Posted: Apr-11-03 at 10:10pm | IP Logged  

oh and one more thing. it's interesting how sometimes God speaks to us. I was watching a movie a while ago. Called 'stigmata'. i think everyone should watch that just for one scene towards the end of the move.  Ignore all the catholic, stigmata ideas of the movie.  I just ignored all that. But there's one scene where a guy is sitting with another guy in a church and he gives this awesome little talk about how God is not into church buildings etc and that people have been trying to keep the masses from knowing the truth- that God dwells in us now.- and that the kingdom of God is everywhere. Now no one can keep us in bondage to an institution. The movie in this part is showing us how a religious institution( the catholic church in this case) can keep us in bondage and try to cover up things to stop us from knowing the truth.

anyway . gotta go. going on a fishing trip for the next 4 days. i'll be interested to see more discussion when i get back.



      

Jeremy

"He came to set the captives free, a message of simplicity"

(Tourniquet song - 'trivilising the momentous,complicating the obvious')
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wags
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Posted: Apr-11-03 at 10:32pm | IP Logged  

I don't want to steal anyone's joke, but I better mention no names either... during a recent meeting I was in(that has been mentioned on here a few times).... the definition of "movement" came up.  There seems to be a couple.  One is used to talk about stuff that fills diapers.  A few of us decided that definition fits both usages.

Michael

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coker77
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Posted: Apr-11-03 at 10:42pm | IP Logged  

Thank you!
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mcdave
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Posted: Apr-11-03 at 11:10pm | IP Logged  

Quote: Originally posted by wags on 4/11/03

I don't want to steal anyone's joke, but I better mention no names either... during a recent meeting I was in(that has been mentioned on here a few times).... the definition of "movement" came up.  There seems to be a couple.  One is used to talk about stuff that fills diapers.  A few of us decided that definition fits both usages.

Michael


wags,my thoughts exactly

      

     It's not works,it's coffee.
   

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Connie
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Posted: Apr-13-03 at 11:26am | IP Logged  

Hey Jeremy,

Loved your borg analogy!  I, too, am a big fan of Star Trek: TNG

How about this little saying: Resistance is futile!

That one always stuck with me.  And it's pretty much true.  The only way to 'resist' the religious system is just to leave it.  Trying to resist inside of it will eat your guts out.  Both me and my husband ended up with digestive dysfunctions and ulcers trying to stay free within it. It's not worth it!  Besides, if Jesus said he would build his church, who are we to think we can add to it?  

Hey.....remember the episode where they rescued an individual from the borg and proceeded to deprogram him? They ended up naming him Hugh in reference to his being an individual 'you'.  Anyway, that's just another little lesson that kinda jogged up into my memory.  It's like the process we go through after leaving I.C. and having to be loved into the reality that it's ok to be 'you' and not a cog in a machine.



      

Connie
"Wow!It's so bright in here!"
II Cor.4:5-6

    
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Jeremy
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Posted: Apr-14-03 at 11:28am | IP Logged  

Hi Connie.  Glad you like the analogy. I guess alot of us can identify with the concepts in the program and can relate it to our 'church' experiences, or in society in general.

yeah! 'RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!  YOU WILL BECOME ONE WITH 'OUR RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION' . IE- You cannot have any thoughts of your own. You are no longer an individual etc...... You do not have any choice, and for me the effect was one of overwhelming shame and mystification. In fact i look bak now and feel that i was almost in a cult- which is something i would not  possibly believe back then. I thought my particular church - a typical pentacostal chuch was where 'it was all at', and other churches weren't as good as ours etc.... but i was young and naive and it took years of disillusionment for this to change.

What most IC's  do alot of the time is confuse uniformity with unity. They think they are trying to get unity in their church but are really only forcing uniformity cos they are living out of fear, and control, not able to trust that God will build His church.

Also the gospel gives us freedom to be individuals, but also frees us from individualism. I had to leave the institution and give myself permission to be an individual but it took a few years of deprogramming before i started to accept this. God dearly loves us to be ourselves but at the same time stay clear of individualism- something the IC just does not understand generally.

True unity comes from the Spirit not man made enforced behaviour codes and  unspoken rules which is my experience in the past. I feel much more unity on this board than i've ever experienced in any IC. In fact i wish i could meet all of you now and talk more in person.

 ( Hey i wish someone would invent stark trek transportation for real soon- than this would be possible!

 Unity -is not forcing everyone to act and fit in a particular institution a particular way but that is what alot of us have experienced.

I tried to stay within the institution for many years but just like you it just became too much for me- and for my own spiritual sanity had to leave. I would find myself  'going to church' week after week for month after month but often finding that i couldn't stay for more that 5 minutes on some occasions. Some within the institution would say 'that's because you've got sin in you life' etc etc.... but i found it was mainly because i found it was an environment where i just could not be myself and honesty was silently frowned upon. I would literally walk 'out of church' and let out a huge sigh of relief- as if i could breathe again. You would think it would be the other way around- well, that's what i used to think. I would walk out of the church auditorium and feel much closer to God than i did inside the building- and felt like i could pray again, but when i was in there i almost couldn't believe in God at all. I believe it was because the God they presented inside was a misrepresentation of Him - a god in the box - who they would release every sunday for a few hours on their leash and then stuff back into the box to come out again next week. I also just got so tired of the incessant programming within the church. It's more like a business than the body of christ.

Yes i very much remember that 'hugh' episode. At the time i was still in the IC but definitely identified with it but at the time didn't know the depth of realization i have discovered in recent years. I knew things were 'wrong ' back then but it was only when i totally left the IC was i able to begin the process of deprogramming or like someone else said 'getting the institutional church out of me'.

I just can't go back to the IC but at the same time I don't say God is not in the lives of people within it. Otherwise i'm just becoming a different version of what I left- the Us and Them syndrome. There are a few people i know who are still are part of it but most of the people i know now have left just like me.   That's the whole thing about what i've discovered in recent times. God is not 'contained' within ANY movement or particular invention of man. His kingdom is not something that can just be made a denomination out of or become a movement.  I just personally will have nothing really to do with it.

the words of a pink floyd song come to mind after posting all this.

'Welcome to the machine'- that's how i describe things when i look back at my IC experience

and also a steve taylor song ' I want to be a clone' a sarcastic look at church conformity way back in 1983

'and now i see the whole design, my church is an assembly line, the parts are there, I'm feeling fine...... I want to be a clone.'



      

Jeremy

"He came to set the captives free, a message of simplicity"

(Tourniquet song - 'trivilising the momentous,complicating the obvious')
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Guest
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Posted: Apr-14-03 at 11:58am | IP Logged  

Someone recently pointed out to me the fact that Jesus was a carpenter by trade but never suggested building a building.

Dave A.

PS- Easy to get out of the institution but more difficult to get the institution out of us.
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the shovel
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Posted: Apr-14-03 at 2:58pm | IP Logged  

Jeremy, thanks for your refreshingly honest story of involvement in and emergence from the church-machine!  I can relate with that sense of finding the "right" place where all was well with your own little world, and then the growing disillusionment.  Thanks!

Jim



      

DIGGIN'THE LIFE!
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Jeremy
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Posted: Apr-15-03 at 11:35am | IP Logged  

thanks , jim. i really do appreciate the varied and well thought out imput of everyone on here. there is so much stuff to read from previous topics and sections but i'm enjoying it all. I really like this site alot.

Jeremy.



      

Jeremy

"He came to set the captives free, a message of simplicity"

(Tourniquet song - 'trivilising the momentous,complicating the obvious')
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PhilTex
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Posted: Apr-16-03 at 12:51am | IP Logged  

Hey All

I thought you might want to look at the bio of Andrew Strom, the author of the article. Very interesting. Just type his name in to your search box. then go to bio. 



      

http://phargasrant.blogspot.com/
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Nancy
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Posted: Apr-16-03 at 7:37am | IP Logged  

Oh! I looked around at his website(s) and although I couldn't bring myself to read any of his articles (except his bio), the titles certainly say a lot about his beliefs. No thanks! Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, but it seems he's discovered a new "market"; out-of-church-Christians, who are 'wandering in the wilderness'. But first he has to convince them that there's something wrong with them and he has the answer to their problem.......

This ain't no wilderness buddy!

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mary
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Posted: Apr-16-03 at 9:41am | IP Logged  

Amen, Nancy!  I just read that "bio" of his, well, scanned it, and had awful reminicings of my previous Charismatic experience.  REBELLION? phashaw.  I remember the last time I was in a "charismatic" intercessory prayer group, "repenting" and the Lord, nearly audibly said to me, "GO HOME, THIS ISN'T PLEASING ME."

"This ain't no wilderness buddy!"  Amen, to that!  Life "in Christ" IS the real thing!

 

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