cold pews and rock bands

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by arlia, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. arlia

    arlia Members


    Stereotypes aren’t such a great thing - agreed?

    So why do we still do it?

    Nobody likes being pigeonholed into a vague typecast of their race, gender, group, lifestyle, class or religion. Sure, some people just accept it; some even get comfortable within it. But deep down, the spirit of the individual doesn’t rest easy in the arena of the stereotype.

    Prejudice has been and still is one of society’s greatest enemies. It squeezes people into ill-fitting boxes, emasculates the individual and opens doors to pecking-order-associated derision.

    Political Correctness is in the process of purging British culture of much of this prejudice. Sexist, racist and homophobic inclinations (at least overtly) are being challenged and changed. Political Correctness has also taken to task the issue of Islam since September 11th, striving to protect Muslims in the wake of the anti-terrorism backlash.

    So which stereotypes remain unquestioned? Are there any left? Well try this one for size:

    The church.

    Think about it. When was the last time you were accused of being ‘non-PC’ when accusing the church of being irrelevant?

    The church has to be one of the biggest label-wearers around. Out-dated; exclusive; happy-clappy; homophobic; cold; artificial; wishful; prejudiced; hypocritical; self-righteous; ashamed; weak; (etc…).

    We’ve all got an opinion on church, whether we’ve ever set foot in one or not. Everyone has something to say. Just look at the repercussions of an almost ordained gay priest: headline news, phone-ins, chat shows, opinion polls. You’re getting the point.

    Like me, you’re probably already carrying a fair amount of church/denominational stereotypes into this article. But, like we agreed, stereotypes aren’t so great, so let’s lay them down for a second while we clarify a few basics.

    First off: the church is all about people. In fact, the church is people. This has two major implications: one, it means that buildings and paraphernalia are only a sideshow, and two, it means that the church stuffs up sometimes.

    Forget about cold pews, hymnbooks or confession boxes. Though they may have come to symbolise church over time, in actual fact they’re only a distraction [as are plastic seats, video projectors and Perspex lecterns for those more ‘modern’ churches out there]. True church (the one the bible talks about) isn’t about articles and rituals; it’s about real people and real relationships (with each other and God). It’s community.

    And a real church made of real people makes real mistakes. It’s confession time: throughout history the church has harboured wrong attitudes, spoken lies, and treated people disgracefully. It’s become an expert at putting its foot in its mouth and then shooting it. To all the church-hurt people out there: sorry.

    But just like a corrupt backbencher can’t change the core principals of a party, the mistakes of humanity don’t alter the truth of what church really is. Church is about loving people. It’s about helping people out – whoever they are. It’s about support, encouragement and friendship. It’s a hospital for the emotionally and spiritually dead. Church is not some exclusive club for the elderly white middle class; church is, at its very core, cross-cultural, cross-generational, totally accessible and one hundred percent interactive.

    Church is also about pointing people towards Jesus. Newsflash: whatever the church might have tried to introduce you to before (a set of rules, a religion, an unexciting life), they got it totally wrong if they didn’t point you towards a relationship with Jesus. He’s what it’s all about. In fact, the bible says that the church is kind of like Jesus’ fiancée – so as you’d imagine the church is pretty hot on it’s husband-to-be.

    The bible also says that the church [made of people, remember] is the house of God. That means that God actually makes his home in amongst those strange looking people you see roaming the streets on a Sunday morning. He lives in his people [aka Christians]. This doesn’t make Christians walking, talking, divine kitchens and bathrooms, but it does mean that all God has and is (which is a fair bit), resides right there in them (no matter how weak, feeble or irrelevant they might seem).

    Church is essentially about two things: God and people. It isn’t some holy building where Christians come to experience God once a week; it’s a community and a family of ordinary people which, 24-7, acts as a home, hospital and barracks. Church (done properly) provides a place of genuine love and acceptance, it offers a place where the broken can be made whole, and it provides a place where Christians can be encouraged, empowered and equipped to live out their day-to-day lives in radical pursuit of Jesus Christ. Not a church person? Maybe it’s time to address a few stereotypes.
  2. northernlehigh97

    northernlehigh97 Senior Member

    I couldn't agree more!!! Amen to that!
  3. mysweetisrael

    mysweetisrael Member

    What is this article from?
  4. BlackGuardXIII

    BlackGuardXIII fera festiva

    I enjoyed your post Arlia. It shows great thought and love, in my view. I got a lot out of it, so thank you.

    I have a relationship with Jesus, but it is not accepted by most Christians as being good enough. I can live with that, and will not condemn their beliefs as wrong just cuz they think mine are. I wish for a day when acceptance is the rule, and tolerance is the worst attitude towards other faiths that exists. The present lack of respect for others' faiths is something I hope can be resolved.
    Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, etc. can all exist side by side in peace and harmony, if only they would allow each other the respect that would let them support the righteousness and truth of all different paths to God.
    I feel that atheists, and all believers, can be on the right path, for them, at this time. It is not impossible, and it means that I can support their spiritual quest, whether it is the same as mine or not.
    Being a good person is the ultimate necessity to be focussed on by each of us for all of us to have any chance at all to live in peace.
  5. arlia

    arlia Members

    the christian teachings orriginaly taught us to love and except everybody...........jesus was the best example,he didnt some to earth to come adn have a tea meeting with the vicar or the religious leaders he went into the streets and found people that had been rejected by them because of theyre background or theyre religion or theyre race,jesus went out to bless those that were rejected and broken,the prostitues,the widows,the orphans,the hungry the homeless the lepars......the list goes on,

    this makes it so clear to me that christ exepts everybody,whatever walk of life they are from,just as jesus was,so should the church be.

    there is one guy in my church from pakistan,he lived muslim for his whole life until god really touched his heart wen he was reading the bible,jsut to study for one of his univercity he is really involoved in the homeless ministry in my church and he lives for christ.......i know that in exepting him for who he was despite his religious background and culture,he could feel at home in the house of god and he was compfortable to discover jesus for himslef
  6. Lilyrayne

    Lilyrayne Chrisppie

    Awesome article Arlia! I definitely agree with it.
  7. tom

    tom Member

    sorry, just wanted to quote you so that people might be able to read that line a second time.
  8. arlia

    arlia Members

    i h8 it wen ppl miss the point,im glad that you got it.
    glad u agree bree
  9. TrippinBTM

    TrippinBTM Ramblin' Man

    It's sad that churches don't usually operate like that, at least not in my experience. It's just a place to go on Sunday to get your religion out of the way for the week. I agree, "church" is supposed to be more than just weekly worship, Jesus said a church is anywhere where two people meet together. I see that as meaning that the one true church is the brotherhood of man (and woman). It of course operates on the local, small scale of family and friends (whenever two or more people meet) but should be applied to the whole world, come-as-you-are. Most Christians today (at least those who are more than just weekend christians) don't accept anyone who doesn't share their worldview. If we could stop judging others for their beliefs and lifestyles and see them as Children of God (as we all are) things would go much smoother (Christians aren't alone here, though, religious bigotry, and bigotry in any sense, can be applied to any group, Christian or not).

    I know most on this forum don't agree, but I'm with Blackguard on this, I don't think individual beliefs matter in the scheme of things. Instead of looking at surface qualities like lifestyle, religion, politics, taste in food or music, we should be looking deeper to the humanity and the holy in us all.
  10. arlia

    arlia Members

    the truth is god loves all of us,if god can love everysingle person on earth despite sin,culture background and belifes then we all should.
    the message i found most powerful in saving souls is to have a genuine love nad care for them as god would
  11. soulrebel51

    soulrebel51 i's a folkie.

    Yes, let's burn the churches! :rolleyes:
  12. arlia

    arlia Members

    no lets not!
    this is not an anti church thread,this is trying to go back to the roots of how the church should be,and on many occasions i ahve found that it is not!

    it took me a long time to find the right kinda church,alot of people were very judgemental towards me because i didnt fit into theyre expectations,but now im in a faboulous church that celebrates the divercity of cultures backgrounds and different walks of life,we have philipino people,african,spanish,brazilian,american,italian,and indian.poor people,wealthy people,trendies rockers the lot!the problem with alot of churches is that they want more people in theyre church,but they fail to celebrate theyre uniquness or become relevant to them!

    my church is great,the let me headbang on stage wen im singing,i dont haveto dress up liek alot of churches would expect you to do,i can turn up with paint covered jeans and no shoes and theyl except that.this is something i strive to see in more churches today.
  13. sharon

    sharon Member

    I've read through most of the posts on this thread and am really impressed by the depth of faith professed by some of you posting. Where does this certainty come from? I was raised to be religious but am not now. I do believe in something but have not quite figured out the specifics.
  14. arlia

    arlia Members

    do u mean where does the faith some from or where does this article come from,if u eman the article it is from my friends church website (hope city,sheffield)
    you can find it here

    keep on searching,if i had given up searching i would never have found what i was really looking for in life,every1 can make it.
  15. arlia

    arlia Members

    ohhhhhhhhhh sorry you said certainty not certainly.
    im dislexic......*goes red*
    the certainty took a long time for me to gain to be honest,liek you i was raised with all thes traditional religious beliefs,and i never really understood it,i mean i always believed in god,i knew he was there wen i was a kid............but the way the church was....(backstabing,two faced,argumentative,hypocritical)
    i really could not understand why they were like this if they were meant to be followers of christ,i realised this at quite a young age and i questioned myself about it for years.............when i was a teenager i kinda rebeled fro a bit,id go to church but be bored out of my skull looking at the ceiling for 2 hours,and in the week id be living a totlay different wasnt until a certain hard time in my life that i really began to ask god some questions,i was very mixed up and angry as my childhood want the easiest ride and things never got better really.

    it took me alot but i asked god to make a differnce in my life,becasue i didnt want to feel this void in ym life anylonger,i didnt know if he was there for sure,i wanted to knwo that he was there,but i never had that proof layed down at my feet,i can remember saying to him,ure emant to be a god of love!?!?!
    well where is your love,coz id never felt love.i thought god alowed people to hurt me.
    i told him to help me,and to my suprise he did,i opended up my heart to god and he filled it with peace,something in which i nehver thought was ever possible for me.

    ysee its all about growing,faith does not grow from an oak to an oaktree over night,it takes time and trust,the littest faith can grown bigger,even if it is the size of a mustard seed.

    this little step of faith for me,led me to make more little steps of faith,and now i jsut knwo that god is here with me,i have his spirit in me at all times,he never leaves me,when people reject me,he holds me closer,i hve experienced enough of gods miracles that i know that he is there,iv seen things with my own eyes that confirm it to me,with certainty there is always the scary littel thing called faith that you haveto jump into to go further.

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