I meant to do this more often when I started, but oh well.
All my ICOC or former ICOC friends should go check out codepoke’s unfortunately now closed blog, The Familyhood Church and read his series called ‘The Church of Tomorrow’. It’s 14 parts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14), and each is pretty long, but it’s worth a read.
Here are some highlights, some of which reminded me a bit too much of the old ICOC.
From post #2:
I drool to think that all of the Christians in Columbus might buy up every available house in the most depressed part of inner Columbus. It would give us something to do that could make a difference. It would give us good cause to materially help each other with some home repair at the very least! It would send a clear message to Columbus that the church is a real thing, and really cares. And we would be close enough to real people to love them. Mostly, though, we would be close enough to each other to really love one another. That is worth its weight in diamonds.
But what about our witness to our neighbors?
Seriously? What witness to our neighbors?
No individual can really be a witness to his neighbors. Even if his witness is perfect, the neighbors cannot help but ascribe his loving deeds to his nature. But when a church steps out, that is a witness!
Cool thought, eh?
From there, a couple posts later he introduces Jim from 2026 and he’s looking for a church home. He visits a couple of churches and falls in love with Corner Church. After a few times, he brings his wife Brenda along. They got what amounts to discipling partners and were put in a small group lead by a ‘den mother’. Brenda’s reaction to the visit is in post #10:
“Tell me,” she went on with a pleasant smile, “that you know that’s no church at all, but a cult.”
Jim felt his face turning red, as he backed the car into the flow of traffic, and merged into the little queue to enter the street.
“We were just love-bombed in there! Don’t you know cults do that? My father told me about cults all the time, and how to watch out for them. He said since I didn’t know the Lord, I would be easy prey for any cult – any time.” Her voice was sharp, but her face composed. Jim’s face was growing redder by the second. “He said cults get people to come back by making them feel totally loved from the moment they hit the door, but it’s all an act. Can’t you see it’s not normal for people to be that nice to us the first time they meet us?”
That hits home. Of course, not all ‘love bombing’ is cult behavior. They decide to get some advice on Corner Church from Brenda’s dad. He gives them some and then ends with this:
“I’ll tell you this. If they ever say, ‘We are the work of God on earth. Everyone else has fallen by the wayside, and God is working through us,’ don’t walk away – run! I don’t care how ‘right’ anyone is. If they can say those words, their heart has gone rancid.”
That sent chills up my spine. I think that when we in the ICOC started believing that we were the One True Church (TM), that was the beginning of the end. That was years before the HKL.
Back on codepokes blog, in post #11 Derek, the leader of Corner Church calls the church back to ‘holiness’, to repent of it’s worldliness so that God will once again work through them. He’s not now because they are too worldly. Sound familiar?
In post #12, Jim is fired up about Derek’s passion and vision, Brenda is not. Jim talks to Thom about it. I think Thom is an elder. Thom is dubious of Derek’s plan too. Jim’s incredulous at Thom’s skepticism. Thom tells him:
“Look Jim, I’m the dumb one of the bunch here. I don’t know theology or all those things that people study to get the truth out of the scripture. All I know is what I see, and I don’t see it. Derek is calling for something I don’t see my scriptures calling for.
“I can’t tell the future, but I can tell you the past,” Thom continued. “I’ve seen men call for ‘commitment’ before, and nothing good comes of it. Nothing good will come of this.”
Post #13 was the Big Decision for Jim and Brenda and for Corner Church. The elders spoke their hearts on Derek’s proposal. Most were enthusiastic. One elder, Jim, spoke against it:
I would caution you there is a risk in going where holiness leads.
Holiness leads to police work – thought police work. It leads to one brother confronting another about things on which scripture is silent. Scripture says that one man can observe a day as holy to the Lord, and another can ignore the same day equally to the Lord. One can eat what another cannot, and both still have holy mouths to the Lord. But policemen never say things like that. Thought police always have to say the same thing together. Either it is holy to watch a football vid or it is unholy. Policemen cannot see that what is degrading for one can be inspiring for another.
More words were spoken and the elders made a decision and so did Jim and Brenda, helped by a timely phone call from their ‘den mother’, or at least a member of their small group. Go read it, I can’t do it justice. In fact, if you can, make some time to read the entire series, the snippets I’ve posted don’t do it justice. It’s powerful stuff and a little close to home in spots. In the very least, read the few posts that I’ve quoted here.
Next Blogwalking will include more variety, I promise. 😛
EDIT: Make sure you read post #14 too, where the comments actually get around to the good ole ICoC.