Christianity As Religion

As I have traveled around New England these past two weeks, one thought keeps vibrating in my brain with ever-increasing conviction.

Not since the Middle Ages has the practice of Christianity as a religion been more at odds with what it means to live simply and freely in the life of Jesus.

That conclusion comes with no small taste of sorrow because so many people, in and out of the faith, have no idea that is so. What they call Christianity today, and what some toil in with such passion, bears little resemblence to the faith that was once delivered to the saints by Jesus himself.

But in this I also take great hope: The Spirit is on the move in so many places and people to once again let the life of Jesus be known in the earth. May it grow even greater!

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12 Comments
  1. kent October 29, 2006 at 6:33 am

    Wayne, I logged onto your blog having just that moment finished listening to a new Emergent podcast “Justice in the Burbs.” It is about a hour listen but it is talking about what you have just asked here. I do feel you are right about the Spirit stirring something in God’s people that has needed stirred. It is some more good questions being asked as to why the Church has missed so much of the message of Christ and settled into to our comfortable homes, and in far to many cases withdrawn from the people in the world Jesus seemed to love so much?

    You must be encountering some things out east that are bringing some of these things up? I would love to here more.

  2. kent October 29, 2006 at 9:33 am

    Wayne, I logged onto your blog having just that moment finished listening to a new Emergent podcast “Justice in the Burbs.” It is about a hour listen but it is talking about what you have just asked here. I do feel you are right about the Spirit stirring something in God’s people that has needed stirred. It is some more good questions being asked as to why the Church has missed so much of the message of Christ and settled into to our comfortable homes, and in far to many cases withdrawn from the people in the world Jesus seemed to love so much?

    You must be encountering some things out east that are bringing some of these things up? I would love to here more.

  3. kent October 29, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    I ran across this post today on another blog I visit regularly. I haven’t read any of these books mentioned here by Eugene Peterson but the discription make it seem like he is addressing the issue Wayne brings up here.

    http://prodigal.typepad.com/prodigal_kiwi/

  4. kent October 29, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    I ran across this post today on another blog I visit regularly. I haven’t read any of these books mentioned here by Eugene Peterson but the discription make it seem like he is addressing the issue Wayne brings up here.

    http://prodigal.typepad.com/prodigal_kiwi/

  5. Theresa October 30, 2006 at 5:55 am

    Yes and Amen, Wayne! We were chatting last night with a pastor from a traditional club last night and I was so struck with the amount of corporate speak that filled this man’s mouth. And then reading this morning in John 16…”They will do these things because they never really understood the Father.”

    Is it already happening or is it only a matter of time before clubs enlist the help of Toyota’s Production Systems into their church growth models?

    I told Jay this morning….what if they “Last Supper” was actually the “Last Board Room Meeting?” Couldn’t you just picture it…everyone’s got legal pads ‘splayed in front of them and Jesus is seizing control of the meeting…”Okay boys, time to strategize on how to get this puppy off the ground…”

    A little cheeky, I know. Humor helps me to process this stuff.

  6. Pam October 30, 2006 at 6:57 am

    I remember listening to Alan Richardson a number of years ago saying that in Europe Christianity became a culture; in America it became an enterprise. I just got an email from a ministry in Belize in which they were crunching numbers about attendance, offering per capita, and percentage of income. They were discuss whether Belize speakers had a “hard hitting message” compared to foreign speakers. Then I couldn’t read anymore. I didn’t see Jesus name mentioned much. Alan’s comment continues to resonate with me.

    My “club” in Omaha seems to be double-minded on this issue. We bill ourselves as being “out of the box” and in many ways we are. I love these people. My husband is a “board” member; so I know yet we creep into this business mentality some. It’s as if we don’t know any other way to be.

  7. Theresa October 30, 2006 at 8:55 am

    Yes and Amen, Wayne! We were chatting last night with a pastor from a traditional club last night and I was so struck with the amount of corporate speak that filled this man’s mouth. And then reading this morning in John 16…”They will do these things because they never really understood the Father.”

    Is it already happening or is it only a matter of time before clubs enlist the help of Toyota’s Production Systems into their church growth models?

    I told Jay this morning….what if they “Last Supper” was actually the “Last Board Room Meeting?” Couldn’t you just picture it…everyone’s got legal pads ‘splayed in front of them and Jesus is seizing control of the meeting…”Okay boys, time to strategize on how to get this puppy off the ground…”

    A little cheeky, I know. Humor helps me to process this stuff.

  8. ben October 30, 2006 at 9:39 am

    Amen Wayne! The good thing is you don’t have to live there. You get to go back home. We on the other hand are in some ways stuck here but alas! NOT! We get to live his life wherever and whenever. Pam, there is a way out. We just need to be courageous and follow Him. Whatever that means and entails—I must follow Him! Blessings to all you my beautiful brethren!
    SEMPER FIDELIS!
    ben o/

  9. Pam October 30, 2006 at 9:57 am

    I remember listening to Alan Richardson a number of years ago saying that in Europe Christianity became a culture; in America it became an enterprise. I just got an email from a ministry in Belize in which they were crunching numbers about attendance, offering per capita, and percentage of income. They were discuss whether Belize speakers had a “hard hitting message” compared to foreign speakers. Then I couldn’t read anymore. I didn’t see Jesus name mentioned much. Alan’s comment continues to resonate with me.

    My “club” in Omaha seems to be double-minded on this issue. We bill ourselves as being “out of the box” and in many ways we are. I love these people. My husband is a “board” member; so I know yet we creep into this business mentality some. It’s as if we don’t know any other way to be.

  10. ben October 30, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    Amen Wayne! The good thing is you don’t have to live there. You get to go back home. We on the other hand are in some ways stuck here but alas! NOT! We get to live his life wherever and whenever. Pam, there is a way out. We just need to be courageous and follow Him. Whatever that means and entails—I must follow Him! Blessings to all you my beautiful brethren!
    SEMPER FIDELIS!
    ben o/

  11. Larry November 2, 2006 at 2:27 pm

    I think new life starts with forgiveness, and our culture doesn’t know anything about it. Few churches get forgiveness, so people replace one kind of guilt with another.

  12. Larry November 2, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    I think new life starts with forgiveness, and our culture doesn’t know anything about it. Few churches get forgiveness, so people replace one kind of guilt with another.

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