Category Archives: Discussion

Discussion: What is your story with the church?

It’s official! I’m going to be included in the book Finding Church due out in November by Civitas Press. This is my first time being published and it’s an amazing feeling. For a few years it’s been my dream to be published. As I write my first book, I decided to submit to this project as a bit of a test to see if I have any potential. Apparently I do, which is a huge relief and a feeling that I’ve found something I’m supposed to do.

But enough about my life goals, here is a description of the project:

Behind each and every person who has returned to church or stopped attending church, there is a story filled with doubt, fear, and judgment, as well as faith, freedom, and redemption. And though millions of people have similar stories, many feel alone on their journey back to or away from church. It also does not help that those people who are returning to church often condemn and criticize those who are leaving, and those who are leaving sometimes judge and denounce those who return.

My view was that church is at it’s best when it’s community who is welcoming. If we can find that, I feel like the styles of music, methods of worship, and exact details don’t matter nearly as much.

So what I’m here to do now is ask, what’s your story? Did you stick with the church or did you leave it? Were you burned by the church and never came back? Were you outside the church and found it? Have you jumped from one church to another never finding just what you were looking for?

Leave a comment below and share you part of this larger story.

Discussion: How do you face different beliefs?

In the wake of last week’s series, I’m opening up a discussion post on the blog today.

Last week I told you that I fear that people will disrespect me because my beliefs are different. Because of this fear I have a hard time trusting other people with different beliefs. But I hope that you won’t condemn me for my beliefs. If you are willing to hear my side of the story, I’ll be a lot more willing to hear yours.

So today I have to ask, when you face a belief system that is different from your own, how do you react? It could be a different religion, one such as Calvinism or Armenianism, or more nuanced differences. One example that comes to mind is worship music where the song sings something you disagree with. Do you continue singing or not, and why? However you see fit to answer is fine, I’m just looking to hear some feedback on this issue.

Go ahead and leave a comment below. Type your comment and then click the “Post as…” button. There you can choose how you want to sign in more or less, with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or DISQUS all as options. It’s an easy system to use.

By the way, if you missed my posts last week that inspired this discussion, you can find them here.

Discussion: Should we have age-based groups anymore?

'youth group' photo (c) 2007, Matty Farah - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
It’s discussion time. I haven’t done one of these in awhile. I’m stuck on an idea, and I’m looking for your input. Leave a comment below to share what you think about this idea. The idea I have for you today is, do we need age based groups in church? Should we have youth group? What about elderly bible studies? College ministries? Young adult fellowships?

The idea of age-based groups in church has been on my mind lately. I just can’t decide if they’re worth it. Sure, it’s good to be in a group of people you can relate to. But when we stay with people in the same age range, we can’t learn from other perspectives. Imagine what the church would be like if the young learned from the old and the old learned from the young, all at the same time? The young members can learn from tradition while the older members can learn from a new perspective, and sometimes the other way around too.

And there will of course be times when a teenager won’t want to share something in the same room as their parent. That’s called being a teenager. But what if we shared our ideas and our lives across the age spectrum?

But on the other hand, could there be a true intergenerational group? I think there could be. But would it be beneficial in the long run? I know that youth group had huge benefits for me in high school. In the wake of my father’s death, the people my age helped me tremendously. Would it have helped me as much if I were in a group mixed with people who I couldn’t relate to on age alone? College ministry was something I’m thankful for because it helped me to grow in that time of heading out on my own for the first time. Without that group, college would have been harder I suspect.

But now that Rachael are on our own in a small town we don’t know anyone in, we’ve found a church we like, but there is no one our age. In my past experience of always being in a group that fit my age profile, I find that I can’t do that anymore. I see the need for a cross-generation circle of church members to teach and to learn from, and the multitude of perspectives is something that intrigues me.

It’s at a point that I can’t decide what I would rather see happen. Obviously, in some cases, age-based groups are great to have, while at other times they aren’t. This can’t be a universal decision. While youth groups tend to have harder to reach members of the church, no matter what group it is, there will always be passive members that are there because they have to be, and members who are more active because they want to be there. Would a multigenerational approach help to bring everyone into the fold, or would it still be just as active/passive as always?

What do you think? Are age-based groups something we should encourage or seek to phase out? What solutions to this problem do you see? Is it even a problem at all?

Discussion: Purity

This week’s discussion is on purity. I have a couple of points to bring up to start the discussion. Go ahead and leave a comment below and add to the conversation.

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'purity' photo (c) 2009, Kali Mikelle - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/A few years ago there was a movement I heard quite a bit about, but seems to have settled down lately. I got to thinking about it lately after Relevant posted a semi-related article on their site, so I’m bringing it up for this week’s discussion.

The movement was about second virginity or regaining virginity/purity. The premise is that if you messed up and had sex outside of marriage, that you could pray real hard, and God would give you your virginity back. If that’s true, then what is purity?

In the Bible, there are two types of purity discussed in the Torah. Ritual purity and moral purity. The moral purity is the kind that gets ruined after killing, adultery, theft. Ritual purity is the kind that can be easily repaired by reconnecting with God, and usually results in a short term separation from community.

This weeks question. Do we see a difference in these two types of purity in our current day? Is it possible to regain a purity that has been been lost? Do we only think of purity with regard to sex, or are there other ways we could think of it?

Discussion: Orthodoxy vs Orthopraxy

Last week I opened up the blog for your responses in a new weekly discussion section, and this week I’m doing it again. Take a look at the question below and then leave a comment on what you think.

Today’s discussion is inspired by a book I just read for class called “The Making of the Creeds.” In the beginning of the book the author, Frances Young, notes that Christianity is the only religion to put its trust in creeds and statements as authoritative. This puts Christianity in a point of “orthodoxy” (right belief) as the most important where all other religions hold to “orthopraxy” (right action).

My question for you this week. Which is more important in the life of a Christian, belief or action? Should we separate the two? Do you think that one should be more important than the other?

Discussion: Pat Robertson’s divorce rule

This is a new post that will show up every week. The goal here is for readers to respond in the comments below on what they think about the picture, video, or topic that I post. The end result should be a post that people can share ideas and opinions. I’m hoping that this will be a thing here, and the goal is to put one up every week on a regular schedule. To comment, just put your name and email in, they’re only used for identifying you on the site when you comment, I don’t use them for anything.

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Today’s clip is Pat Robertson’s new rule on divorce.

So as you can see in this video, Pat is making an interesting claim when it comes to divorce. As I mentioned on Monday, the topic of Alzheimer’s is one that is close to me. I know this is causing quite a stir and I was wondering your reactions to this.

So, how do you react when you view this clip? How do you think we should react to Pat’s claims?