Sunday, January 22, 2006

Does the Church Care?

Is it unrealistic to desire the church gathering to be a place of spiritual edification?
Does it happen?

Throughout the New Testament churches are called to specific action. One of the most enlightening studies is to examine the biblical teachings concerning our responsibilities to "one another." Notice we are called to:

1. Be in agreement with one another.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. --Romans 12:10

2. Pursue that which builds up one another.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. --Romans 14:13

3. Accept one another.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus... Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God... I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. --Romans 15:5, 7, 14

4. Show courtesy to one another.
So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. --I Corinthians 11:33

5. Carry one another's burdens.
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. --Galatians 6:26.

6. Tolerate one another.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. --Ephesians 4:2

7. Forgive one another.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. --Ephesians 4:32;

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. --Colossians 3:13

8. Submit to one another.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. --Ephesians 5:21

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. --I Peter 5:5

9. Admonish one another in wisdom.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. --Colossians 3:16

10. Comfort one another.
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other... Therefore encourage each other with these words... Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing... Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. --I Thessalonians 4:9, 18; 5:11,15

11. Promote love and good works in one another.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. --Hebrews 10:24

12. Love one another.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. --I Peter 1:22
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. --I Peter 4:8-9;

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. --I John 3:11

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. --I John 4:7

Any thoughts on this list? Which on this list do you see as the biggest problem in the/your local church? (or even on this blog)? NO NAMES please or the post will be removed (graciously of course!)


Susan said...

I see the biggest problem to be a widespread epidemic of atrophying social skills. It is not just that people are not living in community and they need to be encouraged to "just do it": it is that we no longer know HOW to live in community. We want to. We long for it naturally. We are aching for lack of it. But our culture continues to strip us of the context for learning how, and feeding us pseudo-community quick-fixes that we put our hopes in all to easily....only to find them counterfeits, and only to leave us all the more disconnected, in truth.

SoulPastor said...

WOW Susan! Great obsevation.
So, how does one attempt to address the problem?

snippyG said...

I think that sometimes it's easier and "safer" to stay compartmentalized. What I mean, is that we have our church life, home life, employment, school, etc. Merging church life and home life, for example, means becoming more vulnerable. I think a lot of people fear intimacy with others, even though they long for it, just as Susan said.

Also, most of us are not truly dependent on others for our daily needs, so it's more for relationship that we need each other. (We don't all get together for barn-raising parties and quilts bees like we used to.) For people who have been hurt by other people (which consists of a LOT of church-goers), relationships are difficult and scary, and it's hard to be convinced that it's worth the trouble.

Occasionally, people do have physical needs that others can meet, which is a good opportunity for the church to practise being a "community", while teaching the people with the need how to receive and be loved.

I have thought so many times of starting some kind of "commune" with people that believe the same way I do. Ideally, we would spend our days working for our food, and our evenings sharing communion, praying for each other, and praising God. Would it work? I don't know. But I think it represents a longing for something that feels just out of my reach right now.

SoulPastor said...

Commune....ummm. What is stopping you from doing that in your exisiting spiritual community?

I think this is an interesting paradox. We long for connection and intimacy, yet when it happens people get hurt. We retreat, then want to start one that we can control! I am not saying that is you Snippyg, I am just running with your thread. Thoughts?

snippyG said...

Blogs are an excellent venue for those people who are uncomfortable living in community. We just give an anonymous opinion, and move on. We don't know the people we're chatting with, and this is the only context in which we are known. What an opportunity...

So, what I least expected was to hear from God about ME. I checked right before bed to see if there was a response and then after reading it, soulpastor, I didn't sleep most of the night!

Oh yes, control it is. It's a knee-jerk reaction of someone who has been deeply wounded by the church (and by others), many times over. Really, legitimately wounded, not just mad about the color of the pews, or the style of the worship. I thought the control thing was healed in my life - until last night. You are totally right. It looks like I've got another layer of "flesh" to unpeel. (Have you read the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, with Eustace getting peeled?)

In regards to what is stopping me from being a part of the community of our church... I think that many people in our church do have that sense of community, and rarely in my life have I seen real, altruistic expressions of love like I have in my church. I have begun to open myself up (and to my credit, I am relatively new to this church). I realized last night that it is primarily my own walls (that I thought were already down) that is keeping me from experiencing true community in this church. EVERYBODY seems so nice and so real, that I have been questioning, "So, what do they really want from me?"

I just realized this was in me last night. Thank you, soulastor. Now I just need to spend some time with the Lord. We can't do anything about things we don't understand. But now that I can see this, I can continue the healing process. This "comment" is the beginning of me being real in this new realm of understanding.

May the Lord bless you and cause your ministry to thrive as you listen to His voice and obey it with gentle love and humility.

SoulPastor said...


Sorry about keeping you awake all night, but I cannot take the credit for that one!!! Blame GOD! ;)

I find it interesting that you see “Blogs (as) an excellent venue for those people who are uncomfortable living in community. We just give an anonymous opinion, and move on. We don't know the people we're chatting with, and this is the only context in which we are known. What an opportunity...”

When I read that, to me, that is pseudo community. In a world where we are dying for connection and we are the most connected (electronically) generation, we still crave relationship and interaction but do not have human touch. To me, community is messy. It means that I have to put up with others garbage and they have to put up with mine! But it is together that we live life, face to face and touch to touch. The net, on the other hand, is an escape. Even in this blog, I have to be careful what I say (not that has really stopped me) because people know who I am, but I do not really know who is reading. There is no real relationship, or there may be a relationship that is only one-sided…thus I would say…not a relationship. If I posted my own garbage, would people be my friend? No. But in relationships I take risks with people who may betray me…or they may not.
Jesus was stabbed in the back by Judas, but he had 11 others who eventually gathered around him and eventually they all died for him! (Just some rambling thoughts)

BTW I have not read Voyage of the Dawn Treader – I think I will go to Chapters!

You also asked a really good question "So, what do they really want from me?"
That is the question I have to ask personally. Some people want my time, my attention, my approval, my ear, my friendship, a lot of me…but in the same way, what attracts you into relationships? What do you want from people? No one can say nothing. Maybe it is approval, love, acceptance, care, and the list can go on.

SnippyG…keep digging and self exploring and let GOD move, heal and guide you…
and remember “When people walk the road together…you are not alone!”

I'm Back said...

Hmmm, soulpastor, i am wondering why you think everyone "craves" and is "dying" for connection. I find that very untrue, in fact i see more and more people not wanting so much attention because the more connection you have the busier you get.

I dont think though that people are always craving connection in this society becuase if you want to be connected you can be, in many ways and areas. Church is not the only place for people to be connected.

Oh and on a side note, why cant people look for a church that caters to them, i mean some of these people are tried of catering to some church and then getting kicked to the curb by some right wing religious fanatic that looks down on them every sunday. I think people need to make informed decisions on churches and find the church that suits them so that the fear of being hurt again is minimized.

That might be a little of topic but i would like some insight Soulpastor.

SoulPastor said...

i'm back....
I am not the one who thinks that everyone craves and is dying for connection. This is what the sociologists are telling us. I would agree with you that people in general are very busy, but there is also the thought that maybe they are filling a void with something!?

As for the other side point...what are you trying to say?

I'm back said...

Sociologists, hmm the same people who teach me everything that is against what i believe in. I am taking, while i took, Sociology in university, and they dont talk much about connection on a spirtual level between 2 or more people.

If i was to tell u that Biologists are telling me that God isnt real, should i listen to that too! Sociologists highly revere darwin when it comes to a forefather of that science. Just because a person says something doesnt neccessarily make it true.

As far as my side point, people SHOULD be able to find a church thta caters to what they want in the church. It just makes sense to find a church that is least likely to hurt them and that has the most oppurtunity for thme to grow

s. said...

well, not sure if this is exactly on topic at the moment, but i sometimes wonder if somehow as church people we have lost the ability to really listen or understand each other. sometimes i feel like there's just too much christianese, or too many pat answers to people's hard questions. and sometimes just some sort of prompting that makes people feel like they need to keep everything "happy". i know people who find it much easier to talk to their non-christian friends about their real problems, because they feel that if they talk to people at church, they'll just get this very quick "well, God will work everything out" or "just keep praying", and they just don't feel like those are adequate enough answers to their doubts or struggles, or that people are even really caring when they say that right off the top.

still trying to figure out what the underlying motivation is there...
perhaps sometimes we get too comfortable in our happy church life and don't want to help bear another's burdens if it means too much emotional effort or facing questions we're afraid to ask.

and on the flip side, i guess we also have to be willing to take a step of faith with people and trust that the response we get will be truly understanding and accepting and all those other things on soulpastor's list.

Susan said...

I believe our ability to connect with one-another needs to be re-learned.Part of ministering in today's culture, if we are truly missionional, is that we resist the cultural pressure to continue to enable the atrophy of our social muscles. We must do church and community differently as the body of Christ. For years the "experts" have told us that we should match the TV-culture pixel for pixel in order to keep the "audience's" attention. What we have to show for it now is a bunch of pew-potatoes who only know how to look straight ahead at a screen or a stage, and only to one-another to do minimal things like shake hands or pass an offering plate.

Churches that are missional will read the culture and see that we do not know how to truly connect on a deep level. Pastors, must take on a teaching and modeling role, teaching connection by example in everything we do (so perhaps some of us might need some of this therapy first!). In our speech, in our hospitality (how many pastors host parties at their houses, have people over for dinner, make house-calls anymore?) in nurturing, personal, smaller groups of people. Instead of meeting people's needs with slick church-budget-funded programs, we can connect poeople and help them discover ways to support one-another creatively and organically amongst themselves. Some of those kinds of cooperation have already been mentioned here by other commenters.

snippyG said...

That is so insightful, susan. I know I need to be learn from good role models who are genuine and real in their support and care for others.

Just a note for i'm back. I really don't intend to be argumentative, especially since I think this conversation goes somewhat beyond simply using our intellect, but...
I took sociology too, university level, from a Christian professor. Yep, he still said we need each other, even though he didn't believe in evolution. I didn't believe him at the time, but he did say that. And there's proof that it's universal. Of course we don't believe things just because someone says it, but if you look at the evidence... being a hermit is a rare thing, and if the movies are accurate (ha ha), they're usually grumpy too.

I'm Back (SB) said...

snippyg, i think u lucked out there with a Christian Sociologist. I personally dont know one and the university i attend, doesnt seem to have one, at least from what i have observed from the different teachers i have had in my class in the Sociology course. Having said that it may be true, but universal, i dont thnik so. It's few and far between that u find a Christian prof in any Science course becuase science leads to the evolution theory almost every time. I think Christian scientists are kinda a oxymoron, becuase science is based, at least it seems these days on Evolution and the furthering to find out and prove that theory, at least in Sciences such as biology, Sociology, Psychology, Microbiology and the list goes on.

Of course we as people need each other but i dont agree that we long for it, we dont crave it, it seems soulpastor is implying that we LUST connection, but i dont think that is true. Some people wanna connect while other dont just like some people wanna go to church and some people dont.

Anyways share ur thoughts

SoulPastor said...

I think your insight is very valuable! That people refuse to take the time in people's lives.

I am implying a 'LUST' for connection? GET REAL!

In his book "The Search to Belong" Joseph Meyers points out 4 types of "space" that people have/desire: Public, Social, Personal, Intimate.

Meyers points out that certain individuals in churches are not comfortable with personal and certainly not intimate relationships/community with others. And yes, I agree we should never try to force community on others. As a pastor it does give me a key insight: Everyone in our congregation WAS already connected. Maybe not to each other, but they were all connected to somebody: a family, friends, co- workers, neighbors, and other church members. Statically (and these are Christian stats – so they must be true) the most `successful' small group churches experience about a 30% penetration rate . . . why is that if this is as good as it is promised?

What I have realized is that people naturally crave community BUT on their terms and not mine (ours). The bottom line is that people can feel a substantial level of belonging to a church/group on many different levels and not be in a personal or intimate level. I do believe that we (the church) does however need to provide neutral ground (like Starbucks has) to interact with others in the in-between space of social and neighborly friendships something in between out in public space, but also not in my home because that is often too intimate.

Susan you said: “Pastors, must take on a teaching and modeling role, teaching connection by example in everything we do … In our speech, in our hospitality (how many pastors host parties at their houses, have people over for dinner, make house-calls anymore?) in nurturing, personal, smaller groups of people.”

Susan, are you placing the burden of connecting people on the pastor? As for me, we are hosting parties, having people over for dinner and our schedule is filled with social calls, but to me…people may want the relationship with the ‘pastor and spouse’ but, they (Pastor/spouse) only have so many relationship tentacles! My question is what do the church do with those who are looking for connection and cannot find it? Are they (according to Meyers labels) delusional ‘Intimate’ people who are really in the ‘Social’ stage? Just a morning response and rambling…what are your thoughts?

snippyG said...

Sorry to i'm back, I must not have communicated very well. I didn't mean that Christian scientists were everywhere, I meant that the need for belonging and community is everywhere.

soulpastor, I wonder if susan is saying that if the pastor is a good example, the church will follow? Sheep tend to follow their shepherd (except for a few strays, of course), so I would think that being an example is part of being a pastor. I don't believe that is too high of an expectation. She did mention pastors "teaching and modelling" roles. I don't think she meant that you need to do everything without expecting anything of the people in the church.

I know a few churches who assign leaders and mature, long-term members to visit/develop relationship with different groups of about 10 families. It's purpose is to take the pressure off of overworked pastors, and provide opportunities for relationship networks within the church. It worked in one church that I know of, and fell flat on its face in another one. It's just an idea, but it definitely has it's problems. It can be forced and superficial, or it can become an opportunity for people to connect. Just an idea. Has anyone else seen this?

Mark said...

SB says this:

"It's few and far between that u find a Christian prof in any Science course becuase science leads to the evolution theory almost every time. I think Christian scientists are kinda a oxymoron, becuase science is based, at least it seems these days on Evolution and the furthering to find out and prove that theory, at least in Sciences such as biology, Sociology, Psychology, Microbiology and the list goes on."

I'm responding to these contents.

1- There are a number of Christians who teach in the hard sciences ('hard' is opposite 'social' not 'soft'; hard sciences are things like physics, chemistry, biology, and so on). And, although I'm not sure exactly what would count as "few and far between" for SB, I'm pretty sure that on more understandings of "few and far between" this would be false.

2- SB seems to think that there are not many of these people because being in one of these areas because "science leads to the evolution theory almost every time." First, lots of science has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. One example, suppose that you are a Chemist who develops cancer drugs. There is really no connection to evolution here.

3- SB seems to suppose that Christianity is inconsistent with evolution. This is false. In order to substantiate this claim SB, you need to give an ARGUMENT. I've heard people try to give arguments before and I've not heard a good one yet, so I'd be very surprised if you could give me one. (As an aside, there are many Christians who think that evolutionary theory is true; so, you saying that they are inconsistent is basically you telling them that they are irrational for holding inconsistent beliefs. That is something that you ought to be careful of.)

4- Finally a purely factual point; Psychology and Sociology have virtually nothing to do with evolutionary theory. I have no idea why you would suggest that they do.

SB or maybe Anonymous said...

Hmmm, i dont have much time right now to write an essay on this considering im writting 3 as of right now for School

But mark i will challenge you on ur fourth point. I have taken both courses and the Darwinian theory comes up quite often and so does Darwin himself so i think my experience in this area would speak for itself, i have class note and powerpoints if u need!

I would also disagree with u on the part about alot of Christian Scientists, i am hardpressed to find any at my university, because it jsut isnt logical, especially and biology teacher in any biological feild, same with psych and sociology. If you can prove me wrong then fine, but again my experience here speaks for itself.

Soulpastor uses this blog to have people share thoughts backed up with life experiences, so to tell me i am wrong is to tell me that my experiences are untrue. I am not saying your wrong Mark im jsut saying i have proof that what you said to me is wrong in my experiences.

As far as the Lust comment soulpastor, that is just how you seem to rub off sometimes. I just dont think that everyone craves attention. There are people in this world who dont want attention or connection, possibly becuase they have been TOO connected or simply they are reserved people and i dont see a problem with that.

Oh and a side note, to the people who have been asking where ive been, i havent left. Its funny the differrent reception my comments get when i am listed under anonymous instead of SB. I think that SB has a bad rep so it gets people going everytime i write something, whereas anonymous people are careful becuase they dont know who it is. Again jsut a observation.

Mark said...

Here's the deal. Because I know of no better way of replying, I'm just going to follow the order of SBs post and say why his replies to me are either missing the point or false.

1- I made the claim that areas of study like Psychology and Sociology have virtually nothing to do with evolutionary theory. SB proceeds to claim that because he has taken some Psychology or Sociology class where Darwinian theory was talked about, Psychology and Sociology have something to do with evolutionary theory. First, Darwinism is NOT evolutionary theory; look here for a rough summary of the distinction (roughly, here, Darwinism may be a part of evolutionary theory, but not all of it). Second, just because Psychology classes and Sociology classes talk about evolutionary theory does not mean that they are a part of evolutionary theory. There is nothing in evolutionary theory that appeals to Psychology or Sociology. That is what I mean when I say that it has nothing to do with evolutionary theory. That, of course, does not rule out that Psychology and Sociology can talk about evolutionary theory.

2- I said that there are a number of Christian Scientists. SB, you object by saying that your experience tells you that there aren't many. My claim is not that you have come across a number, but rather that there are a number of them (you characterize me as saying that there are 'a lot'; it is unclear what exactly would constitute 'a lot' but regardless, I just said that there are a number of them). Let me say something about your claim though. You said, in the post that I was responding to, that there are very few Christians Scientists, because it is basically an oxymoron (there was no argument for this). Your evidence for this seems to be that you haven't come across many at your university. I am assuming that you haven't asked many profs at your university, but I know of at least a few Christian scientists at both of the U of M and the U of W. Despite this, you are generalizing from a small sample and making a claim about all scientists. This is a paradigm example of what we call a hasty generalization. I was objecting to the generalization, NOT to your experience of the sample.

3- You make the claim about Soulpastor's purpose for this blog. Aside from the fact that your attribution to him of this 'use' is false (in its general instance--there are exceptions to the general claim on the blog), Soulpastor has explicitly affirmed the desire for good argumentation (and in comment threads that YOU have participated in). My objections have NEVER been to what your experience IS. My objections have always been to (i) invalid inferences that you make or (ii) general claims that you have made. I've not once said, to a claim like: "I experienced x," that you didn't experience x.

4- Finally, about your claim that people are targeting you when you use the name SB, as opposed to 'anonymous'. I actually resent that claim. It is you claiming that I am attacking you instead of what you are saying. Let me be perfectly clear: I do not care who posts stuff on here, I ONLY care about what is posted. If someone says something that I think is false, then I will say so. It doesn't matter whether it is you, Soulpastor, my best friend, or even various members of my family. If I disagree with something (and I have time and I care enough about the topic), then I will respond.

SB said...

Mark B, \

1. if u send me ur address ill send u my notes, including my 2000 page textbook and heck ill highlight half of it to show u that psychology depended on the evolution of man, and in this sense evolution is recognized by psychologists as the leading theory of how we were created. I am saying to you that the course i paid 600 bucks to attend in university had A LOT to do with Evolution.

2. I know of at least a few scientists that are not christian and that try to further the work of Evolution, and continue to prove the theory.

3. I am just stating the fact that he was looking for life experiences, so thats what i gave, nothing else, it doesnt matter how many techers i have talked to, even though i have met many. Your assumption that i havent talked to that many profs at university is a false one, and therefore i have not "hastly" generalized anything. I dont have the time to go out and get hand written notes from these teachers that are scientists. If you dont believe my observations then fine, it really doesnt make a difference, the fact is that most of the sciences, biology minded, do not have christian profs. Physics isnt a biological science, chemistry could be and it couldnt be, but those sciences i am referring to are the ones that deal with Evolution: Psychology, Sociology, Biology, and so on. You can send me a link to an article and ill send u 4 textbooks.

4. Im jsut observing the fact that ive remarked about things in the same fashion using different wording to see what would happen, the response i got was a lot different. Maybe it was because i came off as more professional or older, i have no idea, it was jsut interesting.

Mark said...


You are missing my point about the relationship between Psychology and Evolution. My claim was NOT that Psychology doesn't appeal to evolutionary theory. It was that Psychology doesn't have anything to do with the development of evolutionary theory. There is no part in the theory of evolution that is present because of work in Psychology. (Note, that is consistent with Psychology using evolutionary theory within their own theories.)

You mention that there are scientists that are not Christians that work on evolutionary theory; I'm not clear at all why you mention this. I never disputed that there are such people. My claim was that there are Christians who are scientists at both of the major universities in Manitoba. In fact, there are some who work on evolutionary theory. I made this claim against yours; namely, that one could not be both. I challenged you to give an argument for why you think that the phrase 'Christian scientist' is "practically" an oxymoron. I told you that I don't know what is incompatible with those two claims and I was waiting for you to give an argument. That has not hapenned yet. I'm still waiting.

My assumption was NOT that you hadn't talked to many profs, but rather that you hadn't asked many profs whether they were Christians. Even if you have and those that you've asked said that they aren't, it doesn't show that there aren't any. I am not claiming that there are more theists in the biological sciences than not, I'm simply claiming that it there are some. (I said, 'a number' which is true, just in case there are some.) By the way, Psychology and Sociology are not considered biological sciences.

Last point; don't assume that I've not taken those exact same courses that you are now taking. I am not ignorant about what is taught in undergraduate university courses and you sending me your books wouldn't really change anything, I likely have the same books (only earlier editions) on my shelf.

Anonymous said...

2 Timothy 2:23

SoulPastor said...

Now that was funny....

Anonymous said...

Thank you :)

SB said...

Mark i find it funny everytime i address what u say, you tell me that i miss your point. If thats the case then maybe you need to make your point a little clearer. your points are always open ended and can be taken in many ways so if you want me to take it in a certain way then make it sounds that way.

I hope I don't regret this... said...


I couldn’t keep quiet.

I resent that you would say that a “Christian scientist” is an oxymoron. I believe that I can quite successfully be a Christian and a scientist, even in the biological sciences. Just because you have never seen a Christian scientist/professor doesn’t mean they don’t exist nor does it mean they can’t. You’ve never seen the atom, yet you will probably agree that atoms exist. You have never seen a virus, yet when you’ve got a cold you will say they exist. You have never seen God, but claim He exists. That is your personal experience.

Professors are not permitted to proselytize. So you may in fact have had or will have Christian professors and not even know it. As a Christian, I have no problem teaching evolutionary theory. It is a valid scientific theory. Do I believe it is entirely true? No. That doesn’t mean that I should ignore it as wrong and leave it at that. It also doesn’t mean that my students don’t deserve to learn it.

You see, evolutionary theory is man’s best attempt to explain our existence in the absence of a god or spiritual being. In fact, science (physical, biological and the “soft” sciences) is devoted to learning more about what makes this universe of ours tick, in the absence of any spiritual being. Now, does this mean that ALL scientific principles are to be ignored because none of these refer to or give credit to our Creator? Are all the discoveries made by scientists (both Christian and non-Christian) to be disregarded? And what about the technologies created that are based upon these discoveries, laws and theories?

Now I know God is the Creator of all things and set into motion all of our natural laws. I also recognize that even though many scientists believe that Earth was formed by natural means, not supernatural, I cannot totally disregard the findings they have made. Even in evolutionary theory there is some truth.

To totally disregard what your professors and textbooks say, because their view of origins is different than yours, is irresponsible. Sociologists and psychologists still have a lot to say about human behaviour that is true. In fact, sometimes when I read or hear about a sociologist’s or psychologist’s new discovery about how and why we think, act, react, etc. I will say to myself “What so new about that? God said that about us a long time ago…just read your Bible”. It’s kind of nice when studies confirm what we’ve known all along.

I understand that you are drawing from very limited experience, but this does not preclude you from listening to those that have gone on before you. You can now take their council and make it a part of your personal experience.

I hope I don't regret this... said...

Sorry about keeping us off topic soulpastor...I couldn't help myself :^)

Anonymous said...

I Corinthians 1:25 and 27. Really, does the "I'm smarter than you" thing really get us very far? By the way, this note is from someone other than "I hope I don't regret this" or sb.

Anonny Moose said...

Could the Anonymous SB puhleeze get his own blog and quit making this one all about him. I'm gonna need blood pressure meds soon, if he's always here yammerin' away.

snippyG said...

Does anyone else find it interesting that a blog that is supposed to be about our responsibilities to each other, such as tolerance, love, forgiveness,and submission has turned into a brawl? I'm actually somewhat amused - or is the word "bemused"? Oh, THAT's why I shy away from people. I remember now...

Anonymous said...

Sucked into Soulpastor's entertaining experiment once again.
What's community without a friendly neighbourhood squabble now and then?
This was about community, yes? Not a forum for spiritual/intellectual abuse?
'Cause that would be a whole other blog.

Anonymous said...

I suggest we re-read points 1-12 of what Soulpastor originally posted on this blog, take a few deep breathes, and start over. Agreed?

SoulPastor said...

To All
This response is quite entertaining. At moments I am laughing and at others, I just shake my head. Community!

Your last post is interesting, about now you know why you shy away from people. This is my point from day one. I am amazed (or not) as to how we are all connected and follow this banter. The emotions that arise when challenged on issues. Yet we are drawn to communicate.

But look at this “community.” Most of the posting is anonymous, no one is using their real identities (except me and Susan). We do not know who we are talking with. We have not spent the time to sit down with each other to really listen to each others viewpoint. Even the culture that we find ourselves living in is different and reflects our values and shapes our opinions. That my friends, is not community!

This post was regarding community in the church body not the internet. Yet the same dynamics happen with personalities in the church. So we have to ask ourselves, do I attempt to stay and try at relationships or do I pull away (and find another blog) and find another church?

The last 2 anonymous posting are right. An entertaining experiment! Now, go back and read it all over again. Remember that this is a static medium. YOU READ INTO ALL OF THIS THE EMOTIONS OF THIS POST. (I am not yelling!) I am MAKING a POINT! We need people...beside us, with us, around us, talking to us, listening to us and caring for us and us from them. Just a Saturday lug before I go and play hockey!

Thoughts? Or should I ask?

s. said...

my question is, what is it that makes a community accepting, and "safe"?

soulpastor you talk about anonymous posting, and you're right. i admit that it is far easier for me to post anonymously because then i feel like i can be a part of a "community" discussion without the work that goes into making a community really communal - for example i don't have to worry about asserting myself to be heard, or to worry about whether other people are being equally included.

(given the above mess, i wonder if it really makes that much difference!)

and yet, i know soulpastor more than well enough to know that if i have stuff on my mind, i will get a dependable listening ear. what is it that allows me to have that kind of community with soulpastor, but not with so many other people in the church (any church) at large? how does the church as a whole become a place where there is real community?

i realize that i am re-asking soulpastor's initial question on this comment list. but i ask because i don't know of any easy answers either.

SoulPastor said...


Community is not always safe! It is risky! But there has to be an element of trust...and I am with you, there are no easy answers.

Anonymous said...

First time blogger, I think it is hilarious what is going on in here, but at the same time i think it is informative. Looking over the points on here, Mark B and SB seem to have very good points, but it seems SB gets the short end of the stick for reasons I do not know. It really depends on what side of the spectrum you are looking at, if SB is going on life experience, it does not matter how much he has, he may be young, who knows, but the point is he/she is taking what he has learned and applying it to the blog. Mark seems to have a wealth of experience, but that doesn't make him anymore right, he comes from a different situation with different experiences.

Back to the last few posts...

Soulpastor, I'm wondering why community, well at least church community, shouldn't have an obligation to be a safe community. Shouldnt it be expected that the church would be a safe place to be in community with others? Chruch community shouldn't be risky in my opinion, but I guess that is a idealistic view.

Anonymous said...

Maybe "i'm back" , "i'm back (sb)" , "sb or maybe anonymous" , "sb" and finally the last "anonymous" would like to decide on a name! Or, don't you feel "safe" to do so.

SoulPastor said...

To the many Anonymous'
Can you at least come up with a creative name?

I believe that a church/spiritual community should be a safe place, because I too, am an idealist. I also have very high standards for those who call themselves followers of "the way." Why shouldn't I expect from others what I expect from myself? But when I say that relationships are risking, they are. Think about it, even Jesus had a close from betray him. That is part of the human nature, we take risks with people that means we could get hurt. Yet, it was GOD (and not I or any sociologists) who said that “it is not good for man to be alone.” WHY?

When I think about relationships, I think how quickly and easy it is for people to tell me what they think about what I have preached, wear, walk, drive, listen to, drink, eat and the list goes on. At times, the responses are uncalled for, but I can over look it. I think about the banter with SB…if you were to take SB and anyone else, put them in the same room, they would have a good discussion. Ideas would be exchanged and understanding could be somewhat achieved and some sort of community achieved. Now, you may not choose to hang out with SB, and that is OK, but at least you know where his/her head is at. This is my point. JUST SIMPLY GETTING TOGETHER AND ACCEPTING DIFFERENCES.

This leads me to this point…that many Christians, although preach TOLERANCE are really not! Thus community is only having people who agree with your point of view.


SoulPastor said...

Annoy moose

GREAT CARTOON! You made me laugh!

filletofsoul said...

Com`mune´ Pronunciation: kǒm`mūn´
v. i. 1. To converse together with sympathy and confidence; to interchange sentiments or feelings; to take counsel.

2. A body of people having common rights, privileges, or interests, or living in the same place under the same laws and regulations; as, a community of monks. Hence a number of animals living in a common home or with some apparent association of interests.

(Webster's Dictionary)

Soulpastor, your comment about tolerance and, by one of the definitions is a group of people brought together because of similar or like beliefs. It should be safe to say that in the case of a church body it is Christ and the common desire to follow Him that brings us together. There really is no room to tolerate any opposing belief that would deny this. In that way our church/community is intolerant. Thus as you say, "community is only having people who agree with your point of view."

BUT, as we commune together within the realm of our church/community, we notice that although we may all be brought together because of our common belief we do not all think the same! Thus the beauty of community is that although we can be "safe" in it (ie. our foundation is Christ and we all agree on that point) and ideally should feel free to publicly work out our walk with Christ alongside each other, we also can actually "risk" sharing our differing thoughts, feelings, ideas and corrections with each other! This develops and molds our character in becoming more Christlike. In this way our church/community is/should be tolerant.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

SoulPastor said...

OK Fishy...I am am not sure what you are saying in with... "There really is no room to tolerate any opposing belief that would deny this. In that way our church/community is intolerant. Thus as you say, "community is only having people who agree with your point of view."

I am with you on the "we do not all think the same." And that the beauty of community is diversity. And this diversity is celebrated when we spend time together physically! Which brings me back to the fact that people need connection!

filletofsoul said...

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I was just trying to point out that communities are in some ways intolerant. ie. you wouldn't be a member of a neighbourhood community in Lindenwoods if you live in Transcona, you wouldn't be a member of the community of doctors if you are a farmer. Each community has something that all of its members share in common. That is what makes it a community. To change that common denominator would destroy the community. The common denominator in the church community is belief in Christ and the desire to follow Him. If someone believes that Buhhda is the way to God they cannot be a member of the church community. They do not share in our foundational belief. THAT MAY SEEM INTOLERANT.

SoulPastor said...

I struggle with your use of the word intolerant and your examples, but I understand what you are trying to say. But you do raise some interesting questions ... like can people who do not share the same fundamental belief co-exist with tolerance of each other? Not looking for an answer, just asking a question.

Guess what everyone!!?? Tomorrow, I will post something new and fresh (hopefully).

Mark said...

Ah, community.

I didn't check this comment thread for a couple days and now I discover that there is twice the number of comments as there were when I left it. I'm going to say something about community, but let me say something about the so-called "dispute" above.

One of the people called 'anonymous' said something that makes me think that some people are getting the wrong idea. Anonymous said:

"Mark B and SB seem to have very good points, but it seems SB gets the short end of the stick for reasons I do not know. It really depends on what side of the spectrum you are looking at, if SB is going on life experience, it does not matter how much he has, he may be young, who knows, but the point is he/she is taking what he has learned and applying it to the blog. Mark seems to have a wealth of experience, but that doesn't make him anymore right, he comes from a different situation with different experiences."

From this I get the impression that some people think that I'm a lot older than SB and hence it is a little unfair the way that I respond to him. Let me just say this: I'm 5 or 6 years older than SB (and given that SB has said that he's in university, you infer roughly how old I am). And, as an aside, anything that I'd say on here, I'd more than happily say to anyone in person; so don't assume that I'm only responding in this way because I'm writing on a blog (if you don't believe that last claim, feel free to ask Soulpastor for confirmation).

What we really seem interested in here is not what a community is, but rather, how a Christiancommunity should be. That is what I want to comment on.

There are a lot of like-minded Christian communities (let's call these "LCCs"--pun definitely intended). Such communities often get painted with a bad brush; I think that this ought not be the case. There are certainly LCCs that are very harmful to the more general Christian community; for example, if a LCC is like-minded about a particular interpretation of scripture, a particular way of worshiping, a particular political view, or even a particular favourite social activity (those darn bowler LCCs), to the point of exclusion of other, then I can imagine many situations where significant harm will come to people. That said, I think that if the LCC is like-minded with respect to their openness to new people, then I think that this LCC will be VERY beneficial!

So, the question is: How should a Christian Communities be?

I can say ways that a Christian Community should NOT be, but it is a lot harder to say how it should be without using some vague terms like: "Loving."

I'm interested in seeing if anyone has any good ideas about how a Christian community should be.

SB said...

Mark B, how do u know my age?

Soulpastor i think you are right about putting me in another room would create good discussions, personally i find it hard to have a text conversation over a blog. I think that ideas, what i say, what others say, gets misinterpreted and it creates tension. I would have to say that i am conterversial, no its not about me, i dont tihnk ive ever said that, but someone on here did, thats a mis-interpretation. Yes it may seem that way at times but sometimes im just arguing MY point, not someone elses.

Do i believe half the things i say on here, maybe, maybe not. Sometimes i like to stir the pot, it makes for good discussion. In fact in all the posts on Soulpastors blog, the ones that have the most comments/replies are the ones that i have stirred the pot in or made a comment, the others get 3-5 posts on average when i do not post. Im not trying to talk about myself here, but a fact is a fact.

Now back to the topic, community: In reponse to MArk B's what should a Christian Commnuity be? Hmmm, this is very hard to have a solid "definition". I might have to take some time to think about this, ive been sitting at my computer for 10 mins to put some words together but nothing sounds right. Maybe a Christian community should be "Intune" with each other and "Intouch" with other non christian communities. To be in "ressonance with one another" and to try to help ressonate or "tune" with the others that are out of tune (non christian communites and the people in them).

Thoughts on that analogy and if u need me to explain something then just ask.

Anonny Moose said...

"In fact in all the posts on Soulpastors blog, the ones that have the most comments/replies are the ones that i have stirred the pot in or made a comment, the others get 3-5 posts on average when i do not post.

In fact, I believe the sun rose today because of you, SB. For which we all want to give you thanks. I'm off to get my meds...

filletofsoul said...

Okay, that was mean. We may not all agree with what SB posts. We may be driven crazy by the poor spelling (proofread please!) And....maybe he types before he thinks things thru. But, he did have a point. More people do write when he is posting. Maybe this is because we could all use MORE INTERESTING TOPICS to reply to than having to wait for SB to spew off something to get us going.

Anonny Moose said...

I, Anonny Moose, most humbly repent for being "mean." Do I get a timeout?

And I can categorically state that SB was not responsible for the sun rising. However, we mooses (meese?) are investigating to see whether he's responsible for the overcast skies, light snow and abnormally mild temps. May be related to hot air emanations. (You'll probably want me to repent for that as well. We mooses can be very repentful.)

Harvey the Loveable Henchman said...

Alrighty then.
Why does Anonny Moose remind of Dr. House from...well "House"?

So how about that new topic soulpastor?

SoulPastor said...

No Pressure!

OK I am working on it...give me a moment.

SB said...

SB, anonny moose, before i lower myself to the mindstate of a moose like yourself ill let u in on a little secret...I clearly stated in my post that it wasnt about me, but just pointed out a strange fact that i found. Also most of the things i say are to start discussion, the bad spelling is based in part on me trying to type insanely fast at work becuase i have my work to do as well.

Anonny moose u can investigate all you want the proof is in the pudding here.

I wouldnt say that i dont think things thru, but rather i come at the angle of a arrogant teenager, and i think it shows in the replies i get, i am actually thinking about quoting some of this stuff in a upcoming experiment i have to do for school, but anywho.

I will tell you however if u met me in real life you would be quite amazed i think, im not who you may think/judge i am.

Anonny Moose, the sun did infact rise on my command this morning. Also what meds do you take for letting a Blogger who u dont know get the best of you, i hope those dont cost too much money.

P.S. to MArk B on his comment about being 5-6 years older. My research in fact shows u are at least 11 years older then i am. Im only 19, but my sources may be wrong so im not to sure.

SoulPastor said...

Give it a rest each other or take each other out for lunch...or to the gym for a round or two...but it ends now!

And my dad is bigger than your dad!

SB said...

"And my dad is bigger than your dad!"

HAHAHA, and u wanted to end it, your funny Soulpastor. My dads 6'4, 250lbs though!


Yes i agree it should end now.

Cant wait for ur next post!

Anonny Moose said...

...sniff...My Dad's dead. Hit by a truck in Northern Ontario. I think the driver stole his antlers...sniff...

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

Yup, you're resources are wrong. I'm 7 years older, if you are 19.

Just because i'm curious, what did your research into my age consist in? Who'd you ask that gave you such bad info?

(If you want to e-mail me I'll tell you how I know your age, ask Soulpastor for my address.)