Wednesday, November 24, 2004
My wife and have a motto a life, mission statement if you will, "live simply, love deeply"
Whilst in Sydney visiting family I thought about how this motto and how it and indeed my Xn faith shapes every area of my life. To start with I broke up my life into the following areas (with some sub areas)
1. Spiritual (Individual, Couple, Small group, Congregation, Networks)
3. Artistic / Creative
4. Physical (Exercise, Eating)
5. Relationships (Marriage, Family, Friends)
6. Social Action (Politics, Environment)
Firstly have a look at the first and last posts for August.
Secondly I am keen to do 4 church type things as a Xn (1) individual devotions (2) something with my wife (3) some kind of small group thing (4) some kind of large congregation gathering. The first 3 are usually easy to organise the 4th one (what people typically call church - and what I struggle with - hence the blog title) is what I am looking to be a part of. Sadly although I am in my new suburb for nearly a month with day of moving, a trip to Sydney (2 weekends) and a trip down south to play at a festival (this weekend) I am still more than a week away from surfing my first church.
The number 4 type church is important to me because I like the idea of a more established larger organistaion being part of my faith. It is important for my radical ideas to influence the wider Xn community and for their ideas to temper mine or perhaps push me in new directions. I think that we would have a lot to offer each other. I don't want to lament the death of (or decreasing importance of church in our society) with out having been a real part of trying to turn that around. Also I don't want to lose all the tradition and knowledge that comes from established faiths just because it is easier to go off and do something new.
As for a definition... I'll leave that up to you.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Today I received an email that made me think again about how I am evaluating churches. Part of the challenge (that I'll address here) was to look at a church in terms of what can I do as a member of that church rather than what's this church going to do for me. And this is a very valid point, in fact the heart of the matter and what makes church surfing so difficult and what makes evaluating a church so intangible.
It is true that we can only really get to know what it is like to be part of a church community once we are part of a church community. Unfortunately I have just moved into an area with heaps of churches of heaps of different flavours, most of which I think I could give something too and could learn something and be a part of that faith community. However the problem is that if I "test out" each church community by being there for say four months, I could spend 2 years just "testing out" only 6 churches. So to some extent there is the dilemma of judging what it would like to be part of a church (on the inside) by just observing it (from the outside). Hence, the appeal for suggestions on how to judge a church. Perhaps the appeal should be more specific...
What are some things someone should look for in a church to find out what that church might be like to be a part of, without actually being a part of that church?
My surfing will start in earnest next week - I don't intend to post critical reviews of different churches rather I'll chart my journey in trying to find a spiritual home in a new community.