Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, June 04, 2007


I've been intrigued for a number of years by the disconnect between a collective love for the Papacy, which has arisen alongside a rather blatant disregard for the teachings of the Catholic church. This shows up clearly in the falling birth rates, and the number of couples living together outside of marriage.

Paul warns about people who are 'always learning' but never realizing personal transformation. I'm concerned with the vast trend towards a spirituality that is nothing more than aesthetic: candles, incense, music, pomp, all present, all inviting encounter with the transcendent. But meanwhile, a consideration of Jesus' teachings indicates that the real proof is in the living. If my money, sexuality, and relationships with my neighbors aren't transformed in some real and vital ways, the whole thing is mirage. Sadly, there are a host of statistical indicators declaring that western civilization is enamored more with the aesthetic of spirituality than it's life changing content.

Meanwhile the church in South America, China, and Asia, is exploding because the teachings of Christ are leading to transformed lives in all these critical and practical areas. Ironically, these places often lack the aesthetic elements that we deem vital to the worship experience - there are no robes, often no buildings, no lighting systems -- none of the things that we so often crave in order to encounter God. Instead, just people praying, singing, listening to teaching, and responding. I hope we can learn from this in the west, and soon.


At 5/9/07 00:19, Blogger Karis said...

You said about Christians in other parts of the world, "...just people praying, singing, listening to teaching, and responding [without buildings and fancy equipment]. I hope we can learn from this in the west, and soon."

Amen to that. Asians value relationships, which is where Jesus is lived out. How excited I was when my Buddhist monk friend I've known for five years finally invited me to tell him everything I know about Christianity. I had been meeting with him 2-3 times a month, being a friend and sharing some of my faith in Jesus. I'm excited to be able to tell him the story of God, the story of Jesus.

While it may not be bad to have pretty buildings, incense, or a nice sound system, those things don't compare to living out Jesus with people we care about.


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