Monday, December 17, 2007

A Multiplying House Church in Columbus, OH

I use a Google search tool to monitor blogs for the keywords "house church" and find interesting things that way. Here's part of a longer post from a HC in Columbus that has multiplied once, and doubled in size just because of a change in venue.

Our house church has been meeting at our house for almost two years now. We've had a great time, we've grown, even divided/multiplied and commissioned one couple to keep planting house churches in their neighborhood. All very good things. Then just in the past two weeks we had a few things happen that seem to be showing us that we need to move on, move out to where God is working.

Luis and Laura are a sweet couple from Ecuador who are friends of Maria's that she invited to come to our house church. They have been coming for about the past three months, to our house. Then a little over a month ago they had a baby and since it is cold, they don't want to take their baby out any more than they have to. So we had church at their house a few weeks ago. Then this past week we asked them if we could just start meeting at their place every week so they wouldn't have to take their newborn out in the frigid weather. They also mentioned that they had some neighbors that might want to come to the meeting. Well when we met on Friday evening, their neighbors not only came but they brought two other families with them! So, our house church practically doubled in size in one night! The one couple came specifically because their 5 month old daughter has a blood infection and they wanted us to pray for her. (Which we gladly did!) Keep praying with us that she is healed completely.

I've been reading about how if we want to start a church planting movement we have to get out on other people's turf and the new disciples will bring others to follow Jesus as well. Now we're seeing it get started.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Accountability Without Objective Truth?

I lurk a lot and participate occasionally in an online forum hosted by Easum, Bandy & Assoc. In a recent post, someone brought up an article from The Ooze that was wondering how accountability will be affected now that people move so freely (and frequently) among different denominations and teachers.

I was caught by an underlying issue that relates to Postmodernity and posted this reply:

Interesting material.

Just as an observation, and not directly to the question of post-denominational accountability (or the lack thereof) let me point out one thing:

The author refers to "...thinking and behaving in ways that are consistent with various authors, and not simply the Biblical truths."

That's way too facile and frankly a false dichotomy, because there is no absolute consensus on what are "The Biblical Truths." Even there, you still have to wade into the opinions of "various authors," denominations, traditions and so on.

There has always been a plurality of ideas in the Church, even about "the basics," but I think we've insulated ourselves from that by staying siloed in our own denominational cohorts. Now that the denominational lines are being crossed and fading out, we're encountering the diversity that was already there.

I'm left musing, though, that maybe lurking below the question of accountability to whom is the issue of accountability to what. What I mean is, there seems to be an assumption that accountability to this teacher or that needs to be resolved by appeal to revealed, propositional "Truths" found in the Bible. Now, setting aside my point above (that you still need to choose your teacher who can tell you what the BTs are), one can also question weather BT is the only possible ground for accountability.

There is at least one alternative ground, which is accountability to a person, namely Jesus, who doesn't just reveal true facts but somehow is Truth.

Of course, it's still messy in practice. Especially since the Biblical witness is intricately involved in mediating our relationship with Jesus. But I think this is one of the main things that the Postmodern critique of the Modern mindset is raising: Objective Truth is not the only way to conceive of the ground of reality and faith.

Anyone have thoughts to share on that? I'd love to hear them.

Monday, December 3, 2007

House "Church" Emerging Outside the Church?

Do these quotes have a familiar ring to them?

  • rainy Friday night, the young worshipers sat in concentric circles in the basement of an office building, damp stragglers four deep against the walls. In the middle, Megan and Rob played guitar, drums and sang, leading about 120 people through the liturgy...

  • Without a building and budget...

  • (They) have shrugged off what many participants see as the passive, (clergy)-led worship of their parents’ generation to join services led by their peers...

  • (Participants) are looking for “redemptive, transformative experiences that give rhythm to their days and weeks and give meaning to their lives,” experience they are not finding in traditional... institutions

  • "there’s a joyfulness to the singing, the community, the breaking of bread together.”

  • “My friends who I play football with and have beers with are leading service here. I feel like if I wanted to lead a service, I could, too.”
If you've been reading about things going on the the house/simple/organic church movement, or event the emergent church more broadly, you've probably encountered plenty of statements just like these. Except for one thing. None of the quotes above are referring to the Church and none of the speakers are Christians.

They're Jews.

I'm very excited about what I see happening among my fellow Christians these days, but I find I have a particular delight to discover that similar things are stirring in the Synagogues as well.

Apparently, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is up to all sorts of interesting things these days!