Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Monday, May 07, 2007

100% Post-Evangelical Content


After spending years in churches where the focus has been on church growth (numerical and physical, not spiritual) and programs, I think I am finally ready to say that I am "post-evangelical." I have spent years in churches being involved in ministries and in programs, attempting to make friends but finding everyone too busy to stop and have dinner (and these people are supposed to be my family, even more so than my blood family). I have given up on involvement in the evangelical church. I'm not speaking of the denomination, but the broader movement that has swept our nation. The church looks too much like a business anymore, with the pastor being a fairly removed CEO and elders acting more like board members than spiritual mentors. I just can't stomach it anymore.

I'm not going to compromise my theology or my doctrine in this move. I will remain firm in the teachings and sound doctrine I have received. But I'm just sick of walking the life of faith alone. I believe there is something more, better to be had out there.

Galatians 6:10 reads like this, "So then, (U)while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the (V)household of (W)the faith." When people are too busy to stop and love on one another and help them walk in the Spirit, there is something very, very wrong with that.

I mean no offense to any of you, my beloved friends and Brothers and Sisters in Christ, who are a part of an evangelical church. I bear no resentment in my heart about where people choose to participate in worship and fellowship (though I bear scars from my experiences). Where God has put you, be and be fruitful. I just can't do it anymore, and I want it to be respected why.

When I have mentioned that I am now part of a house church, I have gotten some very crazy and critical responses, like I'm now a heretic. One person said, "Well, they aren't teaching heretical things are they?" (Mind you, I'm a former student at an ultra-theologically and doctrinally conservative Bible college) Others "It just seems too weird and youth oriented." Jen and I are actually the youngest couple involved. The others range in age from late 40's to early 70's. There have been other comments of concern about me possibly walking away from the faith. These only add to the scars of years of loneliness and being over-worked and unappreciated. Yes, my reward is to come from God, but it is something else to be ignored or stepped on by that leadership while you're trying to serve Him.

I don't blame the people of the church. I lay the responsibility squarely at the feet of the leadership that has fostered this culture and attitude. I cannot, in good conscience, submit to them any longer.

This is all very cathartic and difficult to say, having grown up and being a life-long evangelical of one sort or another. I have hung in there for many years by a thread, and merely by my faith in knowing what I believe to be True. I'm ready to have some help. I'm ready to have some hope. It is a bitter-sweet turning of the page for me. There are many, many good things (not to mention good people) in the evangelical movement, but none have been sufficient to fill the gaping hole that has become the 800# gorilla in the room for me. I am looking forward to what this new adventure with the Lord will bring, and what I will learn. For the first time in a couple of years, I have hope that things will change, and in a positive way.

11 comments:

Delia said...

I'm glad that you've found your church and I hope that you find the fulfillment you've been missing in the other churches.

And a house church is just as good or in a lot of cases, even better than a "regular" church. If you are gathering in the name of Jesus Christ, to worship and fellowship, to grow spiritually together, then to my way of thinking, that's what a church is supposed to be, not a business. And the building/place does not matter.

Emma Sometimes said...

We really need to get together. You have no idea how much you sound like Mr. Coffee. I'll email you. (I know, promises promises....but this week I've had a sick child)

It's very difficult to have a house church without someone mentioning an independent spirit but never once does the scripture advocate mega churches and building programs. Nor does it advocate "forsaking the brethren". God uses these things, from house churches to bubbles on the hill. (and you know what bubble I am speaking of, I am sure..hehe)

It's easy to be disenfranchised by plastic people who are willing to road rage around you, to be in front of you as you both turn into the church parking lot. It's also easy to lump people together and write off the church (I've had my days, also having once served in a position of authority at my church).

It really boils down to relationship and following His word. God cares how we treat others. How we love others, and how we conduct ourselves is what I believe is first and foremost on His list for us to accomplish.

So, what then? We do as God leads. Have you prayed about it? I would say yes..and keep doing it. Then you certainly don't need public approval and you are in His will.

Sorry for hijacking comments but I would love to hear what you think of my think. :o)

KingJaymz said...

Yeah, still waiting for that email. I'm not afraid of sick children, I have a really healthy immune system.

Actually, it really has nothing to do with independence. I don't want to be independent. I am dependent on Christ and the family I have through Him. I need the encouragement and instruction from other believers (most especially those older in the faith).

Call me disenfranchised if you want. I just need help, and that helping hand has been withheld by all those whom I have asked thus far (which is probably totalling somewhere into the thirties or forties). I've been pushed to the point of desperation, and I'm done being desperate. I'm in desperate need of genuine discipleship to grow, and no one has been willing. I have found people who are about what Christ was about. I have searched diligently in the evangelical church, and I have been left desperately wanting for the last 12 years. I'm done. I didn't get myself here. Many, many of "Well, I'm really busy. I don't think I have time for that"s have brought me here.

I'm ready to develop a relationship within a dynamic that is genuine and works (and doesn't take YEARZZZ to break into).

Honestly, that is all I've asked for and all I've wanted, yet I've been turned down more times than I can count at this point. It is time to find a new dynamic that works.

Like I said, I don't hold anything against any in the evangelical church today. If God put you there, be there and be fruitful with my blessings and well wishes (for all they're worth). I've just been left waiting far too long. I can't do it anymore.

Looney Mom said...

I hear you Bro. We are all called to different things by our Father. If that's what you feel called to then so be it. I do know what you're saying because I have experienced it too. The main thing is for us to keep our eyes on Jesus alone and who cares about the rest. Many blessings to you and Jen.

Emma Sometimes said...

I hope you didn't think I was labeling you as independent. Quite the contrary, I think its commendable to pursue a relationship with someone who can teach you. Paul was an amazing mentor. May we be as able in our age.

I guess, my point was more God will bless you for doing what He is asking you despite public approval (or not). I don't know how many times Mr. Coffee has asked for friends to go out for a coke and a smile, with no calls back, no responses, or lame excuses. Everyone is busy, right?

You are on the right track. God just has a different timetable, to bring friends and good mentors along(darn it). Who knows? Good friends might be right down the street.... :o)

KingJaymz said...

Sorry Emma. I will officially give up answering blog comments after having beer on weekday evenings. I was pretty tired last night, too.

Glad to know that I'm not the only one being turned down. After 12 years...you start to wonder.

Liz- Thanks for the words of support. It's a blessing to be held up by you.

Ames said...

I think people forget sometimes that the early church DID meet in homes. . .

Mr. Ox and I, too, are dipping our toes in the waters of post-evangelicalism. How did you find the this group of believers? Or, is that in another post?

Dapoppins said...

Are you building relationships at your Home church?

KingJaymz said...

After just a month there, we already know those people so much better than we knew most other people we spent years around at other churches. I'm not insinuating everyone there (including me) is perfect in this regard, but we are cared for on a personal level there that we have not experienced in years and years.

clumsy ox said...

Welcome to the post-evangelical world, bro. There are more of us out there than we realize.

And so long as we are sincerely following Jesus Christ, "post-evengelical" is just another step along the path.

I've been involved in a couple home meetings over the years. They were good overall, but required effort from the group.

On the whole, I think the size and intimacy of a home gathering makes it close to ideal, but the problems tend to be visible: there's not nearly so many institutions involved that can cover the warts...

Steve Oberg said...

Jared,

I found my way to your blog from another blog (see "Clumsy Ox") and I am glad I didn't just glance at it and go on. Instead I found this post.

I am really taken by your statements and the free way in which you express your disappointment with the evangelical movement. The very same issues you've articulated have been ones that I have struggled with, as well.

I come from an exclusive brethren background, where everyone grew up with and knew everyone else, no matter where they were in the world. Whenever we travelled, it was always among brethren. I had no friends outside of brethren. In spite of the closeness, I had no mentors or ones willing to disciple me and counsel me, so it was for me a false Christian fellowship, for that reason and others.

About 10 years ago I left that group in favor of attending a large evangelical, non-denominational church. I believe it was the right move, directed by God. For one thing, shortly after that I met the woman in that church who is now my wife!

But in the process of dipping my toes into mainstream evangelical Christendom I have continually come up against another kind of false Christian fellowship where it is EXTREMELY difficult to get beyond the "Hi, how are you? I'm fine" stage of fellowshipping with other believers. I see others who are intimately entwined and connected with small groups and I just can't figure out how they managed to get to that level and more importantly, why I am always on the outside looking in.

I hope you will continue to blog to share your experiences in this post-evangelical journey you're on.

Steve