church is strange…

We had a fantastic HUB last night launching a new series about strange churchy things.  So many of the things we do as Christians can seem so weird to those who aren’t used to the way we "do" church.  We focused most of our attention last night on the strange aspects of baptism– and ran out of time, so we’re continuing it this next week.

Basically, we’re talking about what strange things we do/say because we have inherited a social/historical/cultural history of "church" and what strange things we do/say because we’re supposed to.  In other words, we’re asking what things the church is supposed to continue to do and say and what things the church should change or stop altogether.  Some of the things we do or say often have little to do with the Bible and more to do with our inherited preferences (eg. bowing heads and closing eyes for prayer).  For those of us who are accustomed to "church", we can forget how weird a lot of churchy things can be to others.

For a moment, if you’re not permanently in this frame of mind, put yourself in the place of a church "outsider".  What would strike you as strange about church?  Check out these lists we came up with in just a few minutes last night- and feel free to add some more in a comment:

STRANGE CHURCHY THINGS WE SAY: Born again, sanctification, binding/loosing, sacrificial lamb, saved, flesh, sin, hedge of protection, passover, blood of Christ, body of Christ, deacon, elder, Trinity, leviticus, slain in the Spirit, -and my favorite- fornication.  [Some of these sound like good movie titles!]

STRANGE CHURCHY THINGS WE DO: worship, raise hands, sing together towards a screen, stand/kneel, communion, baptism, confession, tongues, tv evangelism, child dedication, annointing, robes, lent, juice & bread cubes, responsive reading, offering, bowing head to pray, ask into our heart.

One Comment

  1. So … at this last Hub we talked about baptism and naturally John 3:5 came up: “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’ ”
    So we’ve got water *and* the Spirit … water we assume to mean baptism as we know it and commonly displayed in most churches, but what about the Spirit?
    In my journey I’ve heard a few different interpretations of this … some take it simply as “when we ask Jesus into our hearts”. As cliche as this might sound to those who have grown up in the church, I’m curious to know what Scriptures this is based on. There are a few that would help this conclusion based on interpretation, but then there are some who believe that this baptism of the Spirit refers to the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is slightly different than a simple/standard 4 Spiritual Laws prayer. Looking back at the day of Pentecost when those were filled with the Holy Spirit they spoke in tongues, so is an indwelling/baptism of the Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues? Out of curiosity how many can rightfully claim to speak in tongues?
    The natural tendency for those familiar with the subject of ‘tongues’ is to point out the Spiritual gifts and that not everyone may have the gift. I’ve heard an interesting rebuttal to that one but is beyond the point of this post.
    Aaaaanyway … all that to say what are your thoughts? I’ll have to dig up some notes & literature I hope I still have on the subject … makes ya think … well, made me think anyway …
    whew, sorry for the long post …

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