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Posts Tagged ‘merging’

It’s been an odd 8 months.  We didn’t know anything about contemplative prayer, and the concerted effort by a diverse group of people to shift American (and possibly world) churches toward disciplines, missional focus, and contemplative/lectio divina and other forms of prayer.  Now that we know more, we still have more to learn.  People want to make distinctions between emerging, emergent, emergence etc.  Just read Christianity Today’s blog, and saw a video by Doug Paggitt talking about these words.  The blogger said this:

“In this video, Doug Pagitt explains the relationships between the terms emerging, Emergent, and “emergence.” It strikes me as trying to decide which layer of the Incredible Gobstopper is the actual Gobstopper. But you should decide for yourself.”

Link to the youtube…and blog here… (scroll down as the titles aren’t clickable…) It’ s the Sept.22 2008 entry

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/

I really like the gobstopper picture of it all.  Our church was maybe into layer three of the gobstopper.  The center is the focus on shift/missional (mission of god as defined by some team somewhere).  If your church has been shifting, then they are a part of this gobstopper.  I think it’s better to be in a church with Christ and the gospel as the center…with the focus on the Solas.  The layers are all part of it.  I don’ t know though if Christianity should be described as a layered thing, because it’s not like some secret society where you get higher and higher levels and deeper and deeper secret knowledge.  I think with Christianity either you are or you aren’t, either you believe or you don’t.  Anything beyond that is maturity.  But, for this emerge (merge with something out there) phemomenon, it’s a multilayered thing.  Your church may just be on the very outside, and can probably detatch pretty easily.  The closer to the center, the harder it is not to have been changed (have missional in you…be a part of it).  It’s harder to get out of the whole thing when you have been wrapped in layer upon layer of beliefs and requirements. 

As a person once on the inside of this, then on the outside, it’s an education to see what each layer is abou, and see the connectedness between them.  The outside layer appears to be the inspirational/feel good side.  You can read it and not really get hooked.  The next may be the seeker friendly movement.  Your church may do the 40 days of purpose, but not really change the whole church based upon it.  Small groups pop up, but really they are Bible studies and not just small groups.  Deeper in, your church really means 40 Days and you have small groups, Bible focus is shifted.  No Paggitt (who is he?) no Bell (what) and you still have pews or seats.  Next is the artsy thing, church is more into creativity and more and more pastors mention authors you’ve never heard of.  You have gone from popular/Christianity lite to a deeper “spirituality” with people talking about going on a journey or their story in God’s story, or God’s dream.  This is really where my church was.  We’d have preaching with Bible passages, but beyond that, the pastors used many theories of men to push a mindset about church, our mission (which someone defined for us out there), and what was valuable.  I think the youth in our church were actually on a different level.  At least one pastor was into Rob Bell and that stuff.  Youth were sent to a camp where they taught outright contemplative prayer, praying on a prayer rope, the Jesus prayer, and the like.  The leader of these camps has photos of kids in a pose where they are flat on their backs with feet and arms relaxed…eyes closed.  Supposed to have been a great moment of great closeness to God.  Okay.  We weren’t at that layer in our church, but our teens would have been exposed to it.  I believe the pastors deny our involvement with emergent or whatever it’s called, but our youth were involved.  Because it was an outside source, we weren’t a part of it.  Yeah, right.

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Pepperdine University Bible Lectures go contemplative.  Doesn’t surprise me to hear this as the guest speaker at the church we attended today mentioned taking his daughter to this.  This is reported by Lighthouse Trails Research http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1190&more=1&c=1.

While you’re at it, if you click on the link below to see that Ravi is rubbing shoulders with some interesting folks.  Hopefully, he’s going to respond to people who contact him positively by either speaking out against contemplative OR he’s going to refuse to speak there AND then he’ll speak out against contemplative. 

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1189&more=1&c=1

 

Ugh.  Not Ravi.

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I am struggling right now with the seperation from the church we so loved.  Really, the church was our family, our community.  We do have friends and connections elsewhere, but I believe church is to be a place where you go for fellowship wtih other believers.  We have so many in our own family that are not believers and followers of Christ, that we felt a responsibility for witness to our own flesh and blood.  My husband’s father is now a follower and believer because of our influence (and he had a solid pastor who would have their church studying one book of the Bible week to week for months).  My step-mom has really been thinking about her faith and her commitment to Christ, and actually has people praying for my dad who is basically a deist.   My mother has never been in my life, but is in a position where I can begin a letter writing relationship with and can share more about Jesus.  I have written letters to an uncle in the past who had attempted suicide.  I very much am one who tries to “go” and share the gospel.  But our refreshment came in our church family.  We love the people and are saddened by the deviation from truth.

I have other things that have been pulled apart.  The realization that merging is everywhere is shocking.  I am a radio listener, love pastors and Christian talk.  I hear the terms popping up there.  I also am sick of many contemporary songs that are not clear on doctrine (singing to the “beautiful one I love” but who is this one?).  Everything I ate up thinking it was doing something positive, and maybe most of it was positive.  It’s just I feel I need to evaluate everything.  I had sources I trusted, and now some of those are gone.  It’s rather frustrating. 

I am learning more and more that I have been out of the Word of God too much.  I used to be one that read, wrote prayer requests down in a notebook, and prayed almost constantly.  Life has gotten in the way, and I have felt so “good” in church I was unaware how far I had let myself go.  I really need to be regular in study, and in prayer.  This is not so I am saved, but so I can grow again.  It’s like my lifeline has been pinched so I was withering a bit.  I need to study and learn.  God’s always been there, I’ve just let myself go further from Him.

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I cannot express how difficult it is to go to another church.  It feels like I’m disowning my own family, like I’m cutting myself off from them.  Given everything, if the pastors in our old church weren’t showing clear signs of being into contemplative prayer, of merging with the New Age, we’d still be there with the other problems we’re seeing.  I mean, if we were just using the P.E.A.C.E. plan as a model and it seemed the pastors were ignorant to the New Age only, it would be something we could work with.  Even better, if we were doing all the things like missions, serving the poor, concerned about orphans, and doing service projects in the community, that would be fine.  The church promotion and marketing can be a little much, but some of what our church was doing I don’t really see as wrong.  Sending out mailers, trying to attract the community to church, well, for me that seems logical if you are evangelical.  You want to get the world to come in and hear just in case you’re meant to plant a seed for the.  However, the message is tainted.  Just a dusting or arsenic, just enough to make the cake look like it has powdered sugar on it, in fact, it does have powdered sugar.  But it also has that little bit of poison.  I was sad today thinking of my church worshipping and the message being shared, and the pastors having an agenda to eventually teach the crowd how to pray in a contemplative way.  I am sad thinking about how lost our pastors are, how blind they are.   They can talk about god-consciousness just like New Age leaders.  They speak of silence, of Christ coursing through veins, of mission, of being “little christs.”  These things slip into their speech, and no one really hears it (I did, but I’d ask and many would say no and then I’d listen to sermons online later and it would be confirmed).  Today, people filled a church building (our old church), and people were missing the mark.  So we sat with strangers, my kids taught by strangers.  We heard the message, and I listened carefully to every word.  I watched as they prayed, did they have an agenda too?  Maybe, maybe they did, maybe they are doing God’s will or maybe not. 

I did share a bit of our story with the pastor, and he understood.  He knew that shift was going on all around our city.  Just a few weeks ago an older couple visited from our old church.  The pastor knew our church was merging.  He knew of other churches with this problem.  The offered to pray for us, they offered materials for free on the topic of the New Age merging with Christianity.  The pastor even had spoken with one of the many pastors from our church and gave him a book that was a good warning to show this shift.  Did this pastor read the book?  How did it impact him?  I don’t know. 

So we visit a new church, go to lunch.  The kids say it was cool, it was different.  The younger ones liked the new songs they learned, the older ones wished the music was better.  There were only 15 children 10 to toddler.  That is a change.  We are not done looking, but this church at least looks like one that has the gospel message clear.  They are studying the bible and read through the bible in their bible study groups each year.  This is good.  More churches, more people to meet.  I just wish our old church would change.  I’d rather be there.

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