Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Scheduled Gatherings

A few thoughts about how we like to schedule many of our gatherings.

We like to schedule when we get together. In my culture/circle, people don't just drop by uninvited.  Growing up in the country I remember it was common for people to just knock on someone's door and stop by for coffee/tea and a short visit. We have experienced this on some visits with friends in Mexico too. We have just gone to people's homes, they have welcomed us in, and we have visited, shared some Scripture, shared our testimonies, and more.  But where I live - we like to schedule when we get together with people.

We also like to schedule what we do when we get together.  Sometimes we invite one or two families over for dinner. Sometimes we invite larger groups over, order pizza, have a bonfire, or just hanging out. Sometimes we invite people to go with us for a bike ride, skating, or some activity. Sometimes we invite people to come to our home to study the Bible. Sometimes we get together with the purpose of prayer. Other times we get together with believers for the purpose of singing and listening to a sermon.  I suspect people like to know what they are going to do when they get together before they decide to show up.

I am thinking about the gatherings that we plan.  I am wondering if it is possible to have more spiritual purpose whenever I get together with other believers.  For example, if we invite a family over for dinner, what is stopping us from sharing some Scripture and spending some time in prayer.  What about music? I suspect this may create some awkward moments.

I can't help wonder how it was for the early church.

Maybe we need to first answer why we gather as believers. A blogger brother Alan Knox has focused his studies on the topic of the gatherings of the church in Scripture. His post today is on this topic:
http://www.alanknox.net/2013/01/edification-whenever-you-come-together/
Alan concludes that according to Paul, every gathering of the church (people) should have the goal of mutual edification.

So as I think of the many different get together I have with other believers.  How can I engage in building each other up to become more like Christ?  Some activities and settings may be more suited to this than others, but I don't know if there are any settings where this goal should be ignored.

I also realize this is a different way of looking at gatherings of the church than most of my brothers and sisters are used to.  I should proceed with some sensitivity and care.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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2 comments:

Greg Gamble said...

hi Jon
My wife grew up in a Cambodian village, before and during the Kmer Rouge revolution.In the years before the agrarian agenda re-contextualized the nations innocence and harmony into a killing field, there was a social dynamic that was similar to Israel's in Jesus day. There was an understanding by everyone that as new generations emerged, families reworked their living situations to facilitate a close daily togetherness, where family and friends were in such close proximity that they never needed to intentionally meet. Life was a meeting of one another, functions were shared by everyone with top down leadership, local vernacular fed the culture with meaningful narrative. Sharing food, lodging, money, help and advice was the glue that empowered them to resist the lure of wealth and power, which constantly tempts all men to think the grass is greener elsewhere.
Most indigenous cultures operate within some form of this dynamic, and its clear to me at least why colonization became the tool by which advanced hierarchies systematically destroyed and are destroying the remainder of them.
These village cultures, and early christian culture was one of them, represent the one persistent threat to the complete takeover of mankind that Satan has been working toward since the garden.
These indigenous peoples are usually simple, loving and unsullied by the collective ambition to higher, stronger, bigger that the church has largely adopted as its gospel.
The Lord has been faithful to His people throughout history, always bringing a remnant out of the big assembly line of production religion, to restart a simple walk with him and each other.
Now it appears He is doing it from within the big machinery of churchianity, stirring up discontent within the church at the fatness and complacency.
The churches are in the midst of a pan national conversation in which methods of 'how to be genuine church' are competing for the stage.
Meanwhile, the remnant; small groups of indigenous pioneers are voting with their feet, wallets and pens, boldly leaving their basilica lives behind as they venture into the forest of risky relationships with the poor, theological enemies, long ignored neighbors and the unorthodox.
We are going to have to intentionally leave out homelands and seek out a city without foundations, whose builder and maker is God, if we want what Jesus has for us.
The degree of risk we act on determines the speed and capacity of the return on that investment.
We reap what we sow.
Blessings
Greg

Jonathan said...

Wow... well said. Thanks.

"The degree of risk we act on determines the speed and capacity of the return on that investment."

I am struggling with finding balance between acting on my convictions, and causing harm and dis-unity by being misunderstood in the process. But I do pray God will keep guiding my one step at a time, and I won't hesitate to take the next steps.

God bless. :)