Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Comments on Stuff I forgot

Since the stuff I forgot generated so many comments, I thought I’d throw my two cents in.

As for church architecture, I suspect there is a difference between what someone expects aesthetically in a church building and what one looks for in a church community. The survey asked what appealed to them, but it didn’t ask if it would encourage or discourage them from attending—and that is the more important question. However, I still think the unchurched must be shocked to walk into a church where there are not symbols of the faith. The mall has symbols. Government buildings have symbols. Art museums have symbols. Why strip our places of worship of appropriate symbols?

I loved Marty’s question—What does God expect of his people? Actually, that is what I plan to explore in my sermons this summer. The lectionary is leading us through the gospel of Matthew and Jesus’ comments on discipleship. I wonder how many people we are not attracting to the church because we are so busy asking what they want/need from us instead of sharing the good news (and I do think that it is good—albeit hard—news) that God has expectations of us.

Hell has very little to do with my commitment to the Christian endeavor. For me, I am a Christian because of my need and desire to be in relationship with God—now and in the next life. And while I see why the fear of hell could motivate someone to follow rules, I can’t see how it would motivate you to be in relationship with God. So while we can’t ignore hell—scripture brings up fairly regularly—I don’t find a need to emphasize it or to argue with people about their different understandings of it. Of course--there is probably a connection between this conversation and the last paragraph with talk of expectations. After all, what good are expectations if there aren't consequences if they are not met?

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