Tuesday, April 07, 2009

crowds and the church

Thinking some more about this stuff on the bike today.

We like to go to watch ice-hockey. We join in with the shouts and choruses, celebrate when we win and get moody when we don't.

But the difference between ice hockey and the church is that church isn't supposed to be a spectator sport. There are not supposed to be people who sit in the stands and enjoy the ride. We're all supposed to be in the team.

Maybe that is an unfair analogue. What do you think?

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Blogger Karin said...

I presume the original gatherings of Christians were for fellowship, teaching and encouragement to help them live according to the Way Jesus had taught, and that Way was very different from the way most other people lived. Parts of the New Testament suggest the early Christians sang hymns, presumably in the tradition of the Psalms.

The very first disciples listened to Jesus teach and went around together a lot from what I can gather.

So from the beginning there seemed to be a need for someone to teach authoritatively, yet Jesus' teaching of the disciples seems to have been so that they could go off and live according to what he had taught them.

In many churches the model seems to be that one person, or a select group, are in authority teaching everyone else and the expectation is for most people to remain in a child-parent relationship with those in authority, and encouraging people to see church as a spectator sport in which they do as they are told reinforces this.

It would spoil it for most ministers of the church if most people discovered that they could discern for themselves what God wants them to do, after a few months' or years' teaching and help of the right kind.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

One could of course also claim that hockey is not meant to be a spectator sport. Ever played hockey? I haven't.

Some people like to play hockey, and some people like to watch. And some people like to do church, and other people like to watch. There it is.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Donald H. said...


I admit I struggle with this issue. I am not sure where the problem is. Is the problem with us or with the process? I mean when I go to church on Sunday I don't think that is my only form of worship nor is that all I do all week. To me it is a time to have corporate worship. I don't view it as much more. I meet with others during the week I conduct my life as if it is a sacrifice in all areas.

I know the meaning and purpose to life and I realize it is not about me. So, maybe church does not bother me as much because I don't see worship as an event but more as a way of life. http://www.unvarnishedblog.com/component/content/article/5-christianity/94-its-not-about-you

Am I making sense? I don't feel I have a strong grasp on this subject yet. I still think that church is less effective than it should be. It isn't participative and people want to be spectators. Maybe more so here in the Western World. I mean what do people do all day by passively watch TV!

I don't have any answers.


11:52 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Don, thanks that is helpful. Unfortunately a lot of people think 'worship' is something that happens in church, so in my book you're an unusual Christian.

As Benjamin says there are some churches doing seriously cool stuff. But in my experience, the stuff churches do is too narrowly defined and working for the kingdom is reduced to building their own palaces. The really important stuff then gets pushed to the margins and the really not-very-important-at-all stuff (such as singing in church) becomes a major issue.

I really don't want to create a church in my image or even one which revolves around my ideas of what should happen. But I am sick of the sort of overblown and out of kilter church which doesn't even recognise there is a problem, refuses to see the efforts that some are making, gets dazzled by the bright lights of publicity and the jingly-jangly self-obsessed music of our times.

Even a church that admitted it was having little impact on the society around it and had little desire to get more involved - yet WANTED to want to be bothered about the issues would be a start.

3:40 AM  

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