Wednesday, April 09, 2008


More thoughts on Pagan Christianity by Viola and Barna.

This book is putting to death a lot of notions I have had. Even at the place of this process that I am at (very slow moving child of God) and knowing that "Church" and "church" are different and "Christ's Body" and what that looks like and all the "Truth" that I have thought that I was coming to understand and have been revealed to me. I am blown away by the things this book presents. One of my favourite passages so far....and I have a few....follows. I don't know if I am exhilarated, disillusioned or disgusted. I ask Father to take me through this book and open my eyes to what He wants to reveal to me, because on my own....I feel like getting back into the cave.

"The fact is that we do many things in our culture that have pagan roots. Consider our accepted calendar. The days of our week and the months of our year are named after pagan gods. But using the accepted calendar does not make us pagans.

So why is the Sunday morning order of worship a different matter than the type of chairs and carpeting we use in the place we worship? Not only is the traditional order of service unscriptural and heavily influenced by paganism (which runs contrary to what is often preached from the pulpit), it does not lead to the spiritual growth God intended. Consider the following.

First, the Protestant order of worship represses mutual participation and the growth of Christian community. It puts a choke hold on the functioning of the body of Christ by silencing its members. There is absolutely no room for anyone to give a word of exhortation, share an insight, start or introduce a song, or spontaneously lead a prayer. You are forced to be a muted, staid pewholder! You are prevented from being enriched by the other members of the body as well as being able to enrich them yourself."

Is this what I have felt for so long in the organized church? This prompting to stand up and be apparently out of order and reach out to the body of Jesus and Jesus, Himself. Why has He always been manifested in small groups and amongst few saints gathered together in my experience. The answer I believe is crystal clear. Sadly, I wonder where is the authentic church lead by Jesus and focused on Jesus and full of the Life of Jesus? Might it be in these small gatherings......?


Joel Brueseke said...

Arrrrrghhhhh is how I've often felt lately, too. :) That, and heart-broken as well, as I shared on Alvin's blog.

I love that I am unlearning a lot of stuff, and learning new things, but it's currently got me in a state of emotional turmoil as I sort through it all. Well, I should say that overall I'm full of joy, and I'm happy about what I'm learning, and I'm becoming freer than ever before. But... how to apply all this? How to relate all this? How to express all of this to others who are happy in their ignorance?

Small groups... That is also where I've found much more of a real manifestation of Christ, and I have truly enjoyed many of my various experiences in smaller gatherings of the saints. But sadly the "order" of the church has crept in and has played a big part in many of these meetings.

The large church I 'attended' for over 7 years is big on promoting small groups, for which I'm thankful. But yet it seems that each 'small' group isn't necessarily to be what it is. The pastor often says, "We're not a church with small groups. We're a church of small groups. This sounds sort of good from a distance. I mean, it sounds as if he's saying that there are lots of small groups out there, and that's what's important, and we all just happen to meet in larger groups on the weekends.

But when it comes down to it, the 'large' church wants to have its say in what happens in the small groups. One of the many things that caused me to begin to break away in my heart from all of this is last year when our group was trying to decide what to study in the coming year. The larger church had various materials that it wanted all the small groups to be studying... so that all the small groups were studying the same things... so that when we came together weekly as a large church everybody was on the same page as the vision the pastor has for the large church.

Arrrrrrgghhhh! I mentioned within our group that I felt as if we as a smaller group were the only ones who knew what was needed amongst us, and that, if anything, the larger church needed to not set our agenda but to listen to where we were at, and to accept where we were at, and if led, to help us out (as a whole body) where we're at.

I got some strange eye-balled stares when I mentioned this, and that was that. It's just so deeply ingrained in people that the pastor and the 'leadership' have what the church needs, and that we should follow them.

Anyway... as I'm going through this process of unlearning many things, I know I'm frustrated and angry, but I also look ahead because I believe our Daddy is teaching us all these things for a very positive reason, and not just to leave us in despair. So... I don't mean to just be negative but I also want to encourage myself and everyone else in the hope of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pam said...

Good morning,

My name is Pam and I am an occiasional reader of your blog. I don't remember how I found it but I find little gems whnever I stop by to read. :o)

I wanted to invite you to join my Yahoo group where we are currently discussing this book. You can find the group here...

I read this book about two months ago and it was such a light bulb moment for me. So many things that I was feeling or wondering about... were answeres here. So now I have book discussion group going in my house and online because I knew there would be others who be intrigued by the topics. I ordered 20 books and I was able to sell all of them.

I hope you will come and join the group, I would love to have you join us.

Pam :o)