Friday, February 22, 2008

Cool Blog

I added a new site to my blog roll, Un-churched In Miami". There's a poll on the site entitled, "Why Have You Stopped Going To Church?".

The blog asks questions about spirituality, community and relevance.

I am an active member of my church*, so I don't fit into the Un-Churched category. But I have expressed repeatedly that, if for whatever reason I fell out of my current faith community, it would be very difficult to find another home church in Miami. I think a lot of people feel this way. I understand the mind of the person who is fed up with the idea of the modern protestant church. Churches with depth are hard to come by in these parts. It seems everyone is too busy embracing relativism, putting on the best AV show in town, being "relevant", or being right.

The object of our worship should be God. Instead, we're too focused on our agendas and keeping our churches full. The object of our affection has been kidnapped and replaced with rhetoric and marketing.

I do like the this blog though; great opportunity for discussion. I hope to see more postings for and from the Un-Churched in Miami.

* - my church is far from perfect; but it's home.

18 comments:

Julio Rey said...

My church is about as "un-church" as you can get...

BTW...Diary of the Dead sounds like a plan...

PS...so have we parrallel preborns, then?

Anonymous said...

Ok Mr. – Here goes a few questions of my own (not being technical) by way…
1. What is really church… anymore?
2. What is un-churched, and how do you qualify to be an un-churched person? Aren’t we all part of the church, even Christian that doesn’t attend a service on a regular (religious) basis? If I have gone 10 or more Xs to church this year I’m a… 20 or more Xs… 30 or more… blah, blah, blah.
3. What is Active Member of church? -- I do (dot-dot-dot) I am so & so, I have such degree in… I get paid… I give this much.
4. What is a church with ‘depth’? – Intellectual (s)? Theological(s)? Spiritual (s)? Not (this or that)
Mere comments: Could they be relevant & right at the same time… or is that too hard for a church to do? That is part of why people are fed up; they are still trying to be modern. Aren’t all churches trying to fill their pews... Where’s the money gonna come from? (hmmmmm)

Peace, -Y-O!

PS- Interesting blog!

Marquito said...

1. In keeping with the intention of Un-Church blog, I'd say they are refering to the idea behind a church you go to on Sunday, and maybe Wednesday nights. For me, and I also believe biblically, church is and has always been a community of believers committed to each other in worship of our God. Unfortunately, it has been reduced to that place we go to on Sundays, if they have the right worship music, AV setup, and a hip looking pastor that uses the word "cool" now and then.

2) I agree. We are all part of the body of Christ. But I think the question is this; if I'm not part of a community of believers committed to each other like family, and I still part of a church? The downside to that is that you and I both have been part of a committed community of believers, who frankly should have been committed. But at the Un-Churched website, they say they are looking for "new and innovative ways to help young people become followers of Jesus". Looks like they're trying to get people to think deeply about Christ, community and life.

3. By "active member", I mean that I have made a commitment to my church. I love the people of my church like family (and you know that sometimes your family can really piss you off, but you still love them). I can bitch about them, they can bitch about me, but there is a sense of belonging. The church is my extended family. I also have a broader family of believers who do not attend my church. I love them as well. Unfortunately, some of them attend other churches or don't attend church at all. Personally, the more I grow in relationship with the people at my church, the bigger and more intense the love of Christ becomes in my life. It's hard to explain because it's spiritual. But it's a beautiful thing.

Having said that, I've been in and seen some of the worst examples of "church" you can imagine. The more I learn, the less I realize I actually know. The more I learn, the more I realize what an overwhelming majority of dysfunctional "churches" exist, at least here in Miami. So I can understand why there are people considering themselves "Un-Churched".

4. A church with depth is one that seeks to make God the object of their worship; and that definition requires a lot of looking into. That church will seek that as their chief purpose. Whatever that looks like in the end, that church is then a church with depth.

Julio Rey said...

My church ain't looking to fill its pews. heck, there ain't even any pews.

BTW...so...are you pregnant like me?

Berkeley Rican said...

inevitably when the unchurched gather they will become churched whether they like it or not. Acts 11:19-30

Marquito said...

Julio,

We have parallel sons on the way! Ours arrives in mid-June.

Marquito said...

Well said Boricua.

My favorite quote from a Calvary Chapel pastor I know, "Calvary Chapel isn't a denomination; it's a phenomenon."

When it's all said and done, it's all "la misma mierda". We are all full of it (churched or unchurched). We're always trying to re-invent the wheel. The truth is in God's Word; there's no need to look any further.

Anonymous said...

Here's my fav/quote, I thhink it's by Moby...
"No pews, no people, no people no money, no money, no 'church'"
(no comment) LOL

-Y-O!

Marquito said...

I've lost any respect for Moby I might have had, since I heard him advocating cutting back on cattle ranches and eating beef and drinking milk, because the cows farts are causing global warming (seriously. I saw the interview.).

Thank God the church exists without pews and buildings. I like Berkeley Rican's quote the best.

Anonymous said...

Thank God Moby is a musician, not a theologian - But 'seriously'... why do we need 'pews & buildings then'?
I also agree w/ Berkeley!
Paz,

-Y-O!

Marquito said...

It's the way we "do" church. It doesn't mean it's the only way; just the way it's been done.

I think another question would be, "Why NOT pews and buildings?" What's the aversion to it? (not yours specifically Y-O, just in general.) I think the reasons are psychological and the aversion to it is based on negative experience.

Then one has to ask the question, "Does my reasoning behind my aversion make sense, and is it in-line with the Gospel?"

Anonymous said...

Again, ‘Pews & Buildings’ is not the root of the issue! Even for the un-churched, which by the way, the original ‘un-churched’ was referred to un-believers, and not ‘Christians’ tired of church, or whatever else their issue is.
Psychological, why not, you may be right. The ‘church’ has caused much damage to people, you and me included. But I think the main issues are not psychological, are really ‘religious’ …to the point of being a deeply-rooted phariseeism, which you know perfectly well what I’m referring to. ‘Aversion’ is a very strong word, at least for me, and pews, buildings, chairs or whatever…I don’t mind at all… make sure there’s coffee!
But for people that have had a terrible experience, and not just a ‘negative’ one, aversion or whatever else, makes total sense for them, and I don’t blame them. Is it in line with the Gospel? … Again that’s a broad question. I can tell you that their ‘negative’ experiences most likely done by the religious had nothing to do with it.
… By the way, I’ll be sitting in your pews pretty soon my brother!

-Y-O!

Marquito said...

In Moby's case, he does (or did; not sure where he stands now) have an aversion to the established church, and pews and buildings for that matter (and you're confusing me... I didn't bring up pews and buildings, you did... twice. And then you say "that's not the root of the issue!"... am I missing something?).

Aversion is a strong word; you're right. And I believe that many people do have an aversion to the church. They need healing and restoration; not so they can come back to the building, but in order to enjoy community with other believers; even the ones who are (or can be)assholes. You know, those assholes who are more concerned or upset with the fact that I am using the word asshole in my blog, than the fact that there are so many people in Miami who have been hurt by the church that someone had to start a blog about.

And how does that restoration occur? A true understanding of God's grace. The grace that shows me that I am no better than my pharisaical brothers and sisters. The moment I have an aversion to church is the moment I need to double check and see who, in fact, is the Pharisee; me or them? It calls into question our true understanding of grace (and isn't grace hard to understand when you've been hurt?). I have to apply this to myself everyday, and it's not easy.

That's what being in-line with the Gospel means. Living in God's grace and mercy daily, and applying that grace to ourselves and to others. That's the only way things can make sense.

Anonymous said...

You're right Marquito... I went to church today... It's 'LaMismaMierda'. Yes,I agree w/o Grace there's never healing, never understanding, I needed as much as you do, daily my friend, daily! - Thank you for answering honestly! Didn't Moby become Buddhist? I still like his music though!
-Y-O!

Marquito said...

Oh-oh! Theological question...

Does a Christian, adopted permanently into God's family, ever really become a Budhist? Or was that "Christian" one only by name? Is Moby really a Budhist now, or is he so pissed off at the church he's looking for answers elsewhere?

Hmmm.

Glad to see you came around to see things my way, Y-O. Now that I have sufficiently beat you down and manipulated you into utterly agreeing with me... LET'S HAVE CHURCH!

Love you brother.

josenmiami said...

hi guys... I'm the guy who does the "un-churched" blog thing. It came out of a discussion we had in a religion class at FIU ... the fastest growing religion in the U.S. and even more in Miami is "no religion” not meaning necessarily “atheist” “un-believing” but in many cases, believing Christians (of various shades and degrees) who have dropped out of regular church attendance for a host of reasons. I put up the blog to see if it might attract some of them and get them talking …

I personally agree with Marquitos that true church is living in community with other believers and loving one another with some degree of commitment and intentionality. Of course, there are all kinds of ways to do that. I am part of a small community of believers near Homestead. We meet from house-to-house and are pretty loose but love God and one another.

Good discussion! By-the-way, let me know the next time you are going to get together for rum, grace and cigars.
josenmiami

Anonymous said...

Exactly!!! You get it.
-Y-O!
See Ya Soon...

PS- Hopefully he's a Buddhist that's going to Heaven. Oh No! That's too much out-of-the-box for some!!! Sorry!

Berkeley Rican said...

http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2008/02/more_americans_2.html

http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

Good info for present Christian Landscape in America. That way we aren't guessing on the present church/unchurched demographic