WRAP IT UP – PUT A BOW ON IT – AND GIVE THANKS FOR OUR GIFTS and BLESSINGS (By Patrick Burk)
Dear Readers and Friends,
I am rarely speechless and often I am told I talk too much. Many times I am labeled opinionated and I can be accused of upsetting the status quo. All of these things are true. Today, however, I am humbled. The feedback and offerings of discussion concerning this “Another Point of View” series have been wonderful. I truly count your comments and interest as a blessing. It would not be possible without the insight from my good friend Paul.
Since my former inserts in the blog were a little lengthy, I have chosen to close with just five points that I hope we all can take with us. My point in doing this series is the result of lunches and cups of coffee that Paul and I shared together where we talked about the simple things in life and also the definite problems. One such problem Paul would like to fix as he and his family go on their journey of starting a new church, is to find the answer to the question, “Why some people just won’t go to church?” I think we touched on a few of my ideas. Here are those promised points.
- The church is more than just one doctrine and it is more than the building that houses it. It is the people and the sharing. A church can be anywhere people share ideas and thoughts about God, kindness and humanity
- As someone stated in the response to my Blog #2 about inclusion, Be careful about suggesting that outward behavior is sinful in others when in fact many that may appear to be without sin, do sin in private. We are all sinners and exclusion based on outward lifetstyle is not the answer. Christ would include, not exclude.
- Behold the many ways that God can be worshiped and do not discount ideas that are new or innovative. Remember that as new things do come forward (such as blogs and music), they are too the creations of God. Use them. If rock music turns many on to the path of kindness and caring….let the amplifiers be heard. If computer and blogging is your thing…well type away. Would Christ be a rock star? Maybe or maybe not. but I would like to think he would stop and listen to the music.
- Finally, be careful of those that request money from you to include you in prayers. If the money request is going to feed the hungry or take care of children or bring peace to someone’s heart or home, that is one thing but, it should never be considered a condition for receiving prayer from any person that is truly close to God. The “big-buck pastors” of television are not the answer. The true answer is the pastors and people who “preach in the streets.”
I thank you all for your kindness and consideration of reading this series. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity. My biggest admiration and thanks go to my friend Paul. I wish him and his lovely family all the best. He is a true gift. During this Christmas Season I pray for peace and wonder to uplift all your hearts. I pray that all will include and enjoin others to experience the peace and kindness and I wish you all love.
One thought on “A different perspective on church (Part 5)”
Thanks for rising to the challenge. Paul had a great idea allowing you to share with this part of the blogosphere. I appreciate your thought and candor in the areas of religion and its practice. These are the isues of everyday life. Religion or better theology must be practical; it has to match up with life or it is of no value.
So, let me conclude with a comment on your five very succinct points:
“A church can be anywhere people share ideas and thoughts about God, kindness and humanity”
Yes. But the genuine church is a group that has as its purpose the centering of that conversation on an objective standard of truth, the WORD of God, ie the Bible. Anything less is simply a philosophy coffee shop conversation and is open to each man’s own thought — this can create chaos, not community. (Which is by the way what I think you would rather have!)
“We are all sinners and exclusion based on outward lifetstyle is not the answer. Christ would include, not exclude. ”
Bingo! We are all sinners. So what makes the difference? If we are all sinners, why does God say he will exclude some from heaven? Because we have not taken care of that sin — or better, we have not asked God to care for that sin and remove its penalty from our account. Christ loved to hang with “sinners”, outwardly broken people, because they knew that they were broken and in need of help. The stuffed shirts of the beauracracy were broken but thought that they had it under control. They missed the chance to be “fixed” by ignoring the inside stuff! But he always pointed them back to the answer — forgiveness of sins through confession and repentance. (to God and not to other men)
“Behold the many ways that God can be worshiped and do not discount ideas that are new or innovative.”
And do not discount the ancient either. Evaluation is the key. Some obviously have abused the blogging and computer technology to distribute junk. Some have used electronic music to send suicidal and depressed messages to young people already in trouble. We do need to be careful not to fall into either camp; we cannot be “if it’s new it’s great” nor “if it’s traditional it’s wrong”. Again, we must run back to Scripture and apply great principles to these “new opportunities/issues”. By the way, there is nothing really new under the sun, just new packaging!
Once again, thanks Patrick for opening yourself up to complete strangers. I hope that you will come to a place where you could be involved in a community of believers (not necessarily a building) that would continue to challenge you to change and grow.
May God bless you as you seek Him,