Cutting Room Floor: Church Sermon

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One of my favorite pictures of church!

Other leftovers that didn’t make it into the sermon:

— How about this as the refrain for the sermon:

1. It should not be so with you.

2. Now go and do likewise.

I’m struck by the phrase, “it should not be so with you.” Every time I read a Christian belittling and mocking a political opponent, I keep thinking, “It should no be so with you.” When Christians call Hillary Clinton, “Killary” and I ask them why, they say, “you should see how the other side talk about us!”

Really? That’s the best you have? The adult equivalent of playground fighting? Like, one step from “I know you are, but what am I?” It should not be so with you.

And really? what do you mean “the other side?” Paul said “the other side” is principalities and powers, not humans. It is perfectly fine to have strong disagreements on how you think a country should be run and what you think is important and ethical. But mocking someone? It should not be so with you. 

 

Eugene Peterson in The Jesus Way on the modern consumer church. 

“If we are a nation of consumers, obviously the quickest and most effective way to get them into our congregations is to identify what they want and offer it to them, satisfy their fantasies, promise them the moon, recast the gospel in consumer terms: entertainment, satisfaction, excitement, adventure, problem-solving, whatever. This is the language we Americans grow up on, the language we understand. We are the world’s champion consumers, so why shouldn’t we have state-of-the-art consumer churches?…There is only one thing wrong: this is not the way in which God brings us into conformity with the life of Jesus and sets us on the way of Jesus’ salvation. This is not the way in which we become less and Jesus becomes more. This is not the way in which our sacrificed lives become available to others in justice and service. The cultivation of consumer spirituality is the antithesis of a sacrificial, ‘deny yourself’ congregation. A consumer church is an antichrist church.” 

Ouch!

“A local church determines what the Christian life looks like for the people in that local church” – Scot Mcknight

A sample at the early house church of Paul: 

Paul’s house churches were composed of about thirty people, this would have been their approximate make-up: 1 • a craftworker in whose home they meet, along with his wife, children, a couple of male slaves, a female domestic slave, and a dependent relative • some tenants, with families and slaves and dependents, also living in the same home in rented rooms • some family members of a householder who himself does not participate in the house church • a couple of slaves whose owners do not attend • some freed slaves who do not participate in the church • a couple homeless people • a few migrant workers renting small rooms in the home Add to this mix some Jewish folks and a perhaps an enslaved prostitute and we see how many “different tastes” were in a typical house church in Rome: men and women, citizens and freed slaves and slaves (who had no legal rights), Jews and Gentiles, people from all moral walks of life, and perhaps, most notably, people from elite classes all the way down the social scale to homeless people.

Source: Peter Oaks, Reading Romans in Pompeii: Paul’s Letter at Ground Level

I’ve been reading Scot Mcknight’s wonderful book “A Fellowship of Differents” and his basic claim is that the church’s health is linked to how different each person is from another. He says he grew up in “a fellowship of sames.”

“God designed the church to make the previously invisible visible to God and to one another in a new kind of fellowship that the Roman Empire and Jewish work had never seen before.”

Mcknight’s 6 themes of church: grace, love, table, holiness, newness, flourishing.

2 thoughts on “Cutting Room Floor: Church Sermon

  1. I too grew up in a church that was a “fellowship of sames”. Aren’t they all. Didn’t know how to articulate what was missing but knew I didn’t belong.
    I’ve never heard a preacher teach the Bible in a way that made sense of what I was reading. I’ve always had a very simplistic approach to the gospel. Love God and love each other. I take those words literally. I screw it up every day but keep trying!
    I sat in a small group once where a person said “I love people but I love Christians more. I could never be friends with a person who wasn’t a Christian”. That’s how we end up in the “fellowship of sames”. That was the church before we found Discovery. Where the pastor saw me in the hall one day after we had been going there for a while and his greeting to me was “you’re still here”. Not for long was my silent reply.
    I’m still a little scared of people who claim to be Christians. I’ve never met their criteria for inclusion, I guess. Not even sure what that is except maybe a white collar career. I have one Christian friend, besides my family. My friends know I’m a Christian and like me anyway. They’re a lot more accepting of people and their shortcomings than anyone I’ve met at a church.
    I read about people who have had powerful church experiences in their lives. My experience has been one of you don’t belong here. Even in my childhood church was not a safe place!
    I’m excited to be a part of a congregation that is led by a person who gets that church is not a club. I believe in the “fellowship of differents”. Where even a person like me can be welcome!
    Bill P

  2. Bill, all I can say is two things:

    1) how so very glad we are that you’re part of Discovery. What a blessing you are to the church
    2) How much I hate that this is all too often true: “They’re a lot more accepting of people and their shortcomings than anyone I’ve met at a church.”

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