Reading a Book that is Really Messing Me Up

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So You Don’t want to Go to Church Anymore.

Here are some random quotes and thoughts I had while I read this book-things I would write in the margins or underline as I read it…

No more performance based acceptance.

No more task-based friendships.

“Always separate the failure of the system from the hearts of the people in it.”

“Jake, you’ve learned to measure stability by your circumstances and by your ability to see how things will work out months in advance.”

“The great lie of this broken universe is that God cannot be trusted and that we have to take care of ourselves.”

“It could be a lot of things, but if you don‚Äôt sort that out then anything you do together will not celebrate God‚Äôs reality, but try to be a substitute for it. And no substitute for God ever suffices. That‚Äôs why we obligate people to a meeting rather than equip them to live in him. I‚Äôve found that when people are discovering what it means to live in Father, they won‚Äôt need commitment to keep them linked. He will be enough to do that.”

don’t protect yourself at someone else’s expense
“Embracing the life of Jesus is a lot more like learning to use that fork than it is sitting in meetings. Children will learn the truth as you help them learn to live it.”

“We‚Äôre trying to get from our brothers and sisters what we‚Äôre not finding in Father himself. That‚Äôs a recipe for disaster. Nothing we as believers can ever do together will make up for the lack of our own relationship with God. When we put the church in that place we make it an idol and others will always end up disappointing us.”

“By keeping the focus on services or rituals they make most people spectators. By holding up standards and motivating people to conform to them they only encourage people to pretend to be what they are not or to act like they know more than they really do.”

“I‚Äôm convinced that most Christian meetings give people enough of God‚Äôs things to inoculate them against the reality of his presence.”

“It‚Äôs not about teaching, Jake. It‚Äôs about living. Learn to live this life and you‚Äôll find no end of folks to share it with. Teach it first, however, and that will be your substitute for living it.”

A lot of times people think the hardship is from God b/c of something they did, and don’t want to admit that they are mad or bewildered or frustrated at God b/c they are afraid He’ll do something worse to them.

“Seeing the church as a reality instead of an activity will allow you to celebrate the church however she expresses herself around you.”

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At first I didn’t like the title, I thought it was a little too confrontational or whatever. I think now it’s appropriate, because NO WHERE in the Bible does it say anything about going to church, does it? It’s really a funny thing to read this book right now, because I’ve been asking my wife “Where is following Jesus in our life?” I know we do a lot to follow HIS EXAMPLE and to follow HIS TEACHINGS but I have a feeling there is a whole deeper layer to this Chirstian life that involves closer communication and leaning on JESUS. The hard part is, a lot of times the answer to drawing nearer to Jesus is a structured program, where I am discipled at my own pace by a printed page or a DVD.

I was just daydreaming and all of a sudden realized the two best pop-culture examples of Biblical discipleship, ok maybe 3.

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker: Luke left home and family and spent time day after day in numerous circumstances with Obi-Wan
  2. Yoda and Luke Skywalker: Luke went and lived on Dagoba with Yoda for weeks.
  3. Mr. Miyagi and Daniel: He came and worked for him day in and day out

So what do I get from this? Maybe right now that church is fine, but it is no substitute for the things that Jesus showed in His life. It’s one of the best clubs out there to be a part of, but just like anyone that works in a church will tell you, it’s what happens outside the walls that matters. It’s the daily life outside of the controlled environment of a church where the life of Jesus really shows.

So now I have all of these ideas and conclusions and questions, but I’m not really sure what do to about it. HA! That’s the whole point of this book! It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to lead me in in what to do, not some book’s. Now we’ll see what happens as I learn how to be guided in all truth…

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
(John 16:12-15 NIV)

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