Church Chronicle


House Church Chronicle
It’s been an eventful week on my blog. The debate on my blog included people in our house church as well as close local friends. I think there is a need to clearly and concretely explain the nature of our group and the consensus of our group on newcomers.

Nature of our church
Jer and I are are the leaders, but really only as first among equals. Decisions about the structure of the church are made by the group. As a group we are trying to employ a community hermeneutic. Which means we attempt to figure out church together, not as likeminded individuals grouping. Some might question how we even came together without some central tenets in agreement and that would be fair. As we flesh this thing out, we do it as a group and each one of us is submitted to the group. This is not LT’s church anymore than it is Linsay’s church, Jer’s church or Kimbo’s church..

The consensus of our group
Anyone is welcome to join in on our meetings. We limit communion to Christians. We are open and honest about the nature and expectations of our group, what it believes and what it does. I personally am in full agreement with this.

So what happened
We celebrated the Lord’s Supper and shared from our lives.  No teaching this week.  The potluck consisted of roll kuchen (sp?), donuts, DQ ice cream cake and Vern’s Pizza. 

There were members of our group that were concerned about what I had been writing in the last few days. I articulated what I believed their concerns to be. I did my best to demonstrate I cared and was listening to their concerns. Then I went on to explain how everything got started with my last church chronicle. Some of the people that commented on my blog misread my first post, and my explanations. Once the church people had a better understanding of what I actually believe I think a lot of people were relieved.

 

  1. #1 by Karl Thienes on October 24, 2003 - 6:16 pm

    I’m glad you were able to clarify your thoughts to them.

    “As a group we are trying to employ a community hermeneutic. Which means we attempt to figure out church together, not as likeminded individuals grouping.”

    So…do I dare ask if this communal hermeneutic will include the previous 2000 years of church history? (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

    (P.S.–Donuts AND DQ ice cream cake?!? Now, that is what I call dinner!)

  2. #2 by LT on October 24, 2003 - 6:46 pm

    I’m disappointed Karl, I was waiting for you to quote my last church chronicle against me.

    “If people are interested in becoming a house church, they should round up their likeminded friends and start their own. I highly recommend it.”

    To answer your question and you already know the answer, I view church tradition as valuable but not infalliable.

  3. #3 by james on October 24, 2003 - 7:48 pm

    Kuchen was spelled right…but the Umlots are missing and therefore you must when translating this word into english…write it this way.

    Kuechen…I do believe that this is right…and on a side note…my Austrian friends would be proud.

    By way…read this in your best Monty Python accent. Good bye…and farewell.

  4. #4 by Randall on October 24, 2003 - 11:06 pm

    Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm, rolllllllllllllll Keuuuuchen!

  5. #5 by kimbo on October 25, 2003 - 12:38 am

    how can you have roll kuchen without watermelon? what a travesty! i’m almost glad i wasn’t there this time to experience such a horror :P

  6. #6 by Jer Olson on October 25, 2003 - 1:37 am

    Oh you of little faith… we spent rediculous amounts of money to get watermelon at church!

  7. #7 by Darren Rowse on October 25, 2003 - 7:41 am

    I am enjoying reading about how things are going.

    Interested particularly in your discussion on how ‘open’ you are etc. How do you define who is a Christian (and therefore can celebrate the Lords Supper) in your group? ie – does the person need to make some statement of faith to the group – or make some commitment – or is it up to them as an individual to make a call on where they are at?

    I guess I ask because I know of some friends who are on the journey towards Jesus. They are in some sort of relationship with him and growing in their commitment – yet they would not call themselves ‘a Christian’ – some probably will at some stage, some probably are Christians but don’t actually fully understand that, some struggle with the term Christian because of its baggage but have given their lives to Christ and follow him in a very committed way.

    They would all probably want to partake in Communion – because they find ‘remembering’ Jesus a very profound thing in their journey towards Jesus.

    I wonder how they would react if someone was to say they had to ‘be a Christian’ to celebrate communion?

    Please don’t hear me as attacking your groups decision, there is a lot I like about it – I’m just trying to flesh out what it means in practice? Hope thats ok – tell me to ‘pull my head in’ if I’m overstepping the mark.

  8. #8 by Angela on October 25, 2003 - 7:55 am

    I believe that you said at your last meeting that there was little time for worship or reflection and at this meeting you said that there was no teaching. I just don’t understand if you come together in the name of Christ and don’t worship or teach, what would be the point? Do you not think you are skipping the more important aspects of church? I am not attacking, just inquiring.

  9. #9 by LT on October 25, 2003 - 10:59 am

    Angela:

    We are working this thing out as we go along.

    I agree that there should be an expression of worship each time we gather. I believe our sharing in the Lord’s supper and our sharing around it was an act of worship. This was one thing I neglected to mention. We each talked about what Christ had done in our lives that week.

    The times we get together would be better described a gathering rather than a service. With such fluidity sometimes certain things are more emphasized than others, and sometimes things get dropped.

    Our church life is not limited to our gatherings. Many of us have blogs and we write what we have learned and what we are reflecting on. So while there was no “teaching time”, that doesn’t mean we weren’t learning from each other during the week.

  10. #10 by LT on October 25, 2003 - 11:22 am

    Darren:

    Well Darren we haven’t really go to that point. We certainly haven’t written down any confession of faith. We all come from an evangelical background so our theology is probably pretty similiar in that way.

    Jer has suggested on his blog that we let the individual decide. It’s a little bit of a touchy subject because I would want more restrictions on communion. I think that to be embraced as Christ’s disciple anyone would need to have a basic understanding of what it means to be a Christian, they should have made a personal commitment to follow Him, and they should have made a change in life direction. For professing Christians these issues are already settled. The only real question is what to do when someone without a Christian background is present. In a small group I think the group should be able to discern the three criteria I list above.

    Perhaps it might be wise to borrow a practice from the Orthodox which offers a modified version for those not yet committed to the faith. They let us heathen evangelicals partake in the ‘blessed bread’ but not the cup.

    The reason I would be more hestitant is because I see the Lord’s supper as a communion of Christ’s body as well as a rememberance. If people don’t profess to be in that body why would they partake in a ritual for that body?

  11. #11 by anabaptist on October 25, 2003 - 1:53 pm

    “I see the Lord’s supper as a communion of Christ’s body as well as a rememberance. If people don’t profess to be in that body why would they partake in a ritual for that body?”

    They don’t and they can’t. They merely have a bit of bread and wine. Paul’s warnings on 1 Cor. 11 are addressed to believers. Non-believers couldn’t take communion if they wanted to.

    Just my take.

  12. #12 by Karl Thienes on October 25, 2003 - 3:05 pm

    “Non-believers couldn’t take communion if they wanted to.”

    Not exactly. The truth and reality of God (whether in the Eucharist or otherwise) does not depend on the subjective opinion/belief/state/etc of the participant. If it did, the early church would have never bothered reserving it. The problem in 1 Cor. 11 is even more dire actually: God is a consuming fire for those who commune *whether they are right with Him or not*. For those who have “not discerned the body” or are not properly prepared this “live coal” does not illumine, but burns.

  13. #13 by linsaymartens on October 26, 2003 - 12:58 am

    Darren … I agree.

  14. #14 by Kelly on October 26, 2003 - 3:20 am

    Angela,

    I attend the house church, and I think that us just getting together is an act of worship in itself. We are getting together in the name of Jesus in order to grow close to him. OUr lives are supposed to be constant worship and I think that when Jesus sees us gathering in his name, even if that’s all we do, he’ll honour that.

  15. #15 by hamo on October 26, 2003 - 4:45 pm

    I can’t say I have read the entire discussion for the last week – see Darren’s blog for why :)- but what is striking me and giving me some cause some for concern is the amount of time spent focussing on ‘what we do when we meet’.

    I wonder if this communicates what we feel to be at the heart of ‘church’? I believe our ecclesiology follows our missiology and once we get a focus on mission we will form up our church structures (or unstructures)and gatherings appropriately. As one in a similar pos I don’t think our meeings are ever going to be whiz bang affairs, but they ought to sustain us in the mission we re called to. I guess I’m saying who cares what we do when we meet if it renews and nurtures us to be sent out again.

    As for the communion issue – very very dicey!

    When is a person a Christian?

    Who decides?

    What if they are a Christian but don’t feel like one (very common)?

    What if a person is a Christian, but living in a very ‘unchristian’ way?…

    Ahh… too many complex questions!

    This comment is already too long for most people to have read it!

  16. #16 by Michael on October 27, 2003 - 6:03 am

    In reply to Hamo:

    The question,’What if a person is a Christian, but living in a very ‘unchristian’ way?’ is a dicey one indeed!

    As Christians we tend to focus on the behaviour of Christians as our ‘quality test.’ We fixate on the attitudes, language and other behaviours that are sinful because these are the most obvious outward signs of what is in a persons heart.

    But what if that person is close to God and is walking the hard and testing path God has set them in faith? Can we honestly judge somebody because we deem them to be outwardly sinful? If the path they walk is indeed hard and is requiring all their energy (physical, emotional, spiritual) and faith reserves they never knew they had, to the point that things like holy outward behaviour seem too hard, why should we turn them away from the sense of community and love that Church can bring for the same reasons?

    It is a difficult decision to accept people like this but ultimately rewarding for all concerned.

  17. #17 by Michael on October 27, 2003 - 8:58 am

    I just reread what I said and I thought I’d add this to clarify.

    A Christian may be on a walk with God that is taking him/her through very difficult dark places. God may simply wish this person to pass through this place and learn the nexessary lessons. Why then do we set so much stock by outward action? If we listen to this Christian and their story and the series of events that have brought them to this place, we may well marvel at their faith and learn from them rather than judge them for their weakness.

    On the flipside of course are those who profess Christianity and show how ‘holy’ they are to the world but live corrupt lives in secret. Which does God prefer? I think Revelations 3:16 gives the answer to that!

  18. #18 by LT on October 27, 2003 - 5:54 pm

    The question of who is a Christian and who isn’t is more a matter of direction. We each have our unique place on the journey. I think it would safe to say any church should err on the side of inclusiveness.

    If anyone claims to be a Christian, understands the very basics of Christianity, and isn’t involved in any particularly heinous sin (like incest or sexual abuse) they should be free to participate in all aspects of the life of the body.

Comments are closed.