Hi, I'm Jeffrey, and I'm "Unchurched"

posted by Jeffrey on Friday, March 24, 2006 at 8:49 PM

*I've moved, and my posts have come with me! Check out my new blog at www.jeffrey-davis.net/blog/*

I like News 2's Jamey Tucker's blog: Faith and Ethics. Yesterday he did a post about Unchurched Americans based on a Barna study and an interview with Mike Glenn, pastor of Brentwood Baptist church here in Nashville.

In his post he did mention, "I know, many will say you don't have to go to church to be a Christian. But even those who responded that they never go to church agree that church is where you build a foundation for the Christian life."

[Pause to choose my words carefully.] I feel that the very use of the word "unchurched" (in this context anyway) is a misnomer. If you have spent any amount of time interacting here, you know that I feel it is important to understand that we who follow Christ are the church. To say that we go to it on a regular basis is to more easily allow ourselves to disconnect and further compartmentalize our lives. I know, I know, many will say, "Come on Jeffrey, you know what I mean." Yes, I know what the term ["go to church"] is supposed to mean, but I feel it too has morphed into an unhealthy ideology.

That said, is it important to gather together in worship with other believers? Yes, I believe wholeheartedly that it is. However, what form that gathering takes may vary greatly. Does one form, oh let's say like hiking Radnor Lake on Sunday morning with some friends (like my wife and I will do this Sunday), aspire to a lower standard of Godliness or worship than another maybe more traditional form? I truly do not think so. I personally connect with, hear from, and worship God through His beautiful creation in the most intimate of ways--as do my wife and the other couple we'll be joining with on Sunday morning.

What's important? Worship. Connection with God in personal, communal, and intimate ways. If that happens on a trail or in a pew, either way, worship is what matters. Consequently, it is not only on that trail or in that pew that worship could happen. It is in the every day. Its at work. Its at the gym. Its with our neighbors. Its at the store. Its a life. Worship is a life--not something we do once, twice, thrice a week, or however often you gather in a church building.

Unchurched, in my opinion, should not be a term attributed to Christians who merely choose not to worship on a weekly basis in a building designated to the gathering of the Church. IF it is to describe anything at all, it should be to describe those who haven't a relationship with Christ that saturates their daily lives--whether they're "in church" or not. How many, I wonder, who leave their butt prints in the pews Sunday after Sunday would fall into that category? I, for sure, have been there.

I like what the News 2 story this morning had to say about this topic in one of their stories. They said, "Most people discount Christianity because they have a neighbor or co-worker who claim to be one yet doesn't live like it. Changing that is a lot more difficult than putting on an Easter program."

So by the current terminology I guess you'd call me "unchurched". Yet how can that be when Christ teaches that I, as are all who are called by His name, am a vital part of it?

V for Vendetta

posted by Jeffrey on Sunday, March 19, 2006 at 4:55 PM

*I've moved, and my posts have come with me! Check out my new blog at www.jeffrey-davis.net/blog/*


So last night my wife and I went to check out "V for Vendetta" at the good ole' Opry Mills 20 movie theatre. Great movie!! There is some language and some violence (especially at the end), but still worth the viewing, in my opinion.

I'm not big about movie recaps here at this blog, but to quickly summarize this one: the year is 2020. America has crumbled into a civil war. Britain (where the movie is set) is ruled by an extremeist monarch who drives hard the machine of propaganda. Horrible things have been done in the name of science to our main character, "V", and a host of other victims from which we only see in brief flashbacks scattered throughout the movie. The corruption of the government he once loved and it's leaders' total disregard for human life and the well being of it's citizens has driven him to what he has become. His feeling on government can be summed up by a single line of his in the film, "people should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people."

V is quite an interesting character. The nobility of his cause and compassion for others (except the ones he may be killing at any given moment) almost make you feel as if he is totally justified in his means. He has a love for literature, arts, film, and fine music of all sorts--many of which have apparently been banned by the British government in this film. He constantly quotes poetry and other beautifully constructed philosophical thoughts throughout the picture. As for the story line with Evey (Natalie Portman), I shall leave that absent for now. You'll just have to see it yourself.

There is a line at the very end of the movie that struck a nerve close to the surface in my life as of late. Evey tells a detective, who is very active in the entire picture, that she is fixing to carry out the end of V's plan--to blow up Parliament. When the detective inquires as to why, she says, "because people need hope more than a building."

"Hmmm," I thought to myself, "that sounds a lot like what the Church needs too." Is it possible that we have so fallen in love with our buildings and the events that take place there that we have forgotten that we carry with us the message of hope to a scared and confused world? Do we leave it up to someone else to love our next door neighbors or our co-workers because they don't worship at the same building that we do (or anywhere at all, for that matter). What happens when the constructions that symbolize what we live for become instead, themselves, what we live for? What would happen to the Church if all the church buildings where destroyed?
"People need hope more than a building." Wow. Good words.

I'm Back!

posted by Jeffrey on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 at 3:08 PM

*I've moved, and my posts have come with me! Check out my new blog at www.jeffrey-davis.net/blog/*

Well, after a lot of thought, reflection, prayer, and conversation, I have decided to return to the blogosphere and hopefully keep this blog alive. Upon this return, I do not plan to change the types of things that are brought up and discussed here either. As I have always said, there are many things I am not sure of and are merely thoughts in my overactive ADD mind, but over the past 2 weeks of silence here, I have become sure that at least some of them are thoughts in the minds of others as well.

I have tremendous respect for where each individual is on their particular journey into the face of Christ, and so if you find something here that you feel is not conducive and constructive to your journey at this time then please, feel no bondage or pressure to revisit. If you, instead, feel that things presented by me (or others) are difficult yet possibly worthy of consideration and discussion, then feel free to engage in conversation.

We are all free in Christ and through His love we are united to each other, to this planet, to Christ, and all other things that He loves--which is everything. So please, let this be a place to both wrestle and relax. I will never say that it is necessary for us all to agree on everything, or anything, for that matter. For I believe, now more than ever, that healthy disagreement is beneficial. No more will I draw lines in the sand by what I "believe" theologically, doctrinally, eschatologically, or any other ridiculously long word ending in -lly. We can connect with each other in unity, love, friendship, and maybe even community across these pitiful divisions that resemble more battle lines then they do heart felt stances or convictions. So please, find this a refuge--whether it be in disagreement or agreement. I don't think I believe either are a prerequisite for unity.

I identify with Paul, the apostle, as I confess that I do not know much in this world, but I know the love of Christ that has set me free and at the same time binds me to you all, everyone. It is for and through that love that I exist. That, I know.