Christians leaving the institutional religious system

Posted in the Christian Forum

Jack Nelson

Americus, GA

#1 Sep 23, 2013
Christian believers are suspending going to church and switching to house meetings instead. Their reasons vary, but it is safe to say that all of them are tired of being programmed by a solo speaker professional elitist who downloads their spiritual food week after week.

I was driven to write a few words about this subject because of a piece that appeared in a past issue of Newsweek. Lisa Miller says in Finding Spirituality at Home,[Believers] mistrust authority and institutional hierarchy. This, according to her, seems to be the principal reason so many are abandoning the big churches in favor of house meetings commonly called house churches (a term I dislike). And some of the big churches are hurting. They are not hurting in spirit, but in the pocketbook!

I agree with Ms. Miller’s diagnosis that it is mainly because of mistrust of authority and institutional hierarchy that so many are walking away from institutional religion and the big churches. There are other reasons as well.
Believers are sick of meaningless liturgy, stand, sit, bow, sing, contribute. These rituals, rites, and formalities are totally empty of any coherent and edifying message, and they do nothing but breed disheartened believers. Truth-seeking believers long for a family-like atmosphere where everyone is free and encouraged to verbalize, share, mutually participate, and where no one is dressed up like he’s on his way to a Halloween party.
Believers are finally recognizing that once they formally place their membership with a church or denomination, they get caught up in all of their projects and programs. Many have begun to realize that the Christian community has moved from compassion to project. As a result, she has lost her anchor.
Most believers who are walking away from established churches are aware that Satan is shouting Hallelujah when 85-percent of church contributions is squandered on materialistic projects and programs and only 15-percent go to support evangelism and to alleviate the needs of the destitute. These were the only two undertakings the early believers contributed their money to evangelism and alleviating the poverty of the destitute.
Believers are also becoming more aware that church conversion, as opposed to heart conversion, is not the way of salvation. Religion and church have polluted the stream flowing from the river of life. On a personal note, I ceased long ago trying to convert anyone to any of the modern-day religions or to any of the numerous sects. I now point them in the direction of Jesus only, because 2000 years ago there were no church sects for believers to join. They identified themselves with other believers of a common cause, thus forming Christian congregations or communities. None of the early believers were afflicted with mad church disease. And none were church addicts.
As the apostles and first believers were not Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Mormons, Catholics, or associated with any of the other sects that sprinkle our current partisan landscape, recovering church addicts are also free of these schisms. These religious parties did not exist in the apostles’ time. Therefore recovering church addicts will not be formally aligned with any of these except to work within for reform.
If Jesus were on earth in the flesh today, I’m confident He would view our present-day religious institutions as He viewed those of His time. He worked among partisan systems for reform while not joining any of them. And so it is with recovering church addicts work within and among partisan groups, whenever possible, without subscribing to any of them.

So may house meetings increase! And may the systems that enslaved believers for centuries decrease and finally self-abort. And to God be the glory.

“God Loves Ilks!”

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#2 Sep 23, 2013
Jack Nelson wrote:
Christian believers are suspending going to church and switching to house meetings instead. Their reasons vary, but it is safe to say that all of them are tired of being programmed by a solo speaker professional elitist who downloads their spiritual food week after week.
I was driven to write a few words about this subject because of a piece that appeared in a past issue of Newsweek. Lisa Miller says in Finding Spirituality at Home,[Believers] mistrust authority and institutional hierarchy. This, according to her, seems to be the principal reason so many are abandoning the big churches in favor of house meetings commonly called house churches (a term I dislike). And some of the big churches are hurting. They are not hurting in spirit, but in the pocketbook!
I agree with Ms. Miller’s diagnosis that it is mainly because of mistrust of authority and institutional hierarchy that so many are walking away from institutional religion and the big churches. There are other reasons as well.
Believers are sick of meaningless liturgy, stand, sit, bow, sing, contribute. These rituals, rites, and formalities are totally empty of any coherent and edifying message, and they do nothing but breed disheartened believers. Truth-seeking believers long for a family-like atmosphere where everyone is free and encouraged to verbalize, share, mutually participate, and where no one is dressed up like he’s on his way to a Halloween party.
Believers are finally recognizing that once they formally place their membership with a church or denomination, they get caught up in all of their projects and programs. Many have begun to realize that the Christian community has moved from compassion to project.
"Believers are sick of meaningless liturgy, stand, sit, bow, sing, contribute"
I disagree.
There certainly is nothing wrong with the liturgy.
Liturgy is the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions.
The word, sometimes rendered by its English translation "service", may refer to an elaborate formal ritual such as the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy and Catholic Mass, or a daily activity such as the Muslim Salah[1] and Jewish services. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy is a communal response to the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication, or repentance. Ritualization may be associated with life events such as birth, coming of age, marriage and death. It thus forms the basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
In a Catholic Mass, the whole liturgy, the man focus is Holy Communion, which is a very personal thing between that Christian and God.
As for standing and sitting, we stand when the Word of God is read and certain prayers are said, etc., nothing wrong with showing reverence.
Singing? What is wrong with singing praises to God as opposed to speaking them?
Contributions? Much good comes from some of those contributions and not to just the Catholic community.
Yes, I believe the early Christians did meet in groups at various houses, etc., yet the teachings of the church leaders is what drew them and what was concentrated on at those meetings.
Without the leadership of the church and their efforts to spread the Gospel , those who were appointed by Jesus Himself to carry on His Mission, His Message, these 'home meetings' would have nothing to discuss.

“Wear white at night.”

Since: Jun 09

Albuquerque

#3 Sep 23, 2013
Nettiebelle wrote:
<quoted text>"Believers are sick of meaningless liturgy, stand, sit, bow, sing, contribute"
I disagree.
There certainly is nothing wrong with the liturgy.
Liturgy is the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions.
The word, sometimes rendered by its English translation "service", may refer to an elaborate formal ritual such as the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy and Catholic Mass, or a daily activity such as the Muslim Salah[1] and Jewish services. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy is a communal response to the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication, or repentance. Ritualization may be associated with life events such as birth, coming of age, marriage and death. It thus forms the basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
In a Catholic Mass, the whole liturgy, the man focus is Holy Communion, which is a very personal thing between that Christian and God.
As for standing and sitting, we stand when the Word of God is read and certain prayers are said, etc., nothing wrong with showing reverence.
Singing? What is wrong with singing praises to God as opposed to speaking them?
Contributions? Much good comes from some of those contributions and not to just the Catholic community.
Yes, I believe the early Christians did meet in groups at various houses, etc., yet the teachings of the church leaders is what drew them and what was concentrated on at those meetings.
Without the leadership of the church and their efforts to spread the Gospel , those who were appointed by Jesus Himself to carry on His Mission, His Message, these 'home meetings' would have nothing to discuss.
Good morning, Nettiebelle.

I went to Mass twice yesterday. Padre is back in Mexico City for more cancer treatments and for reasons no one quite understands there was no substitute priest for Mass. They only asked one priest and he was sick but apparently they didn't even asked the retired Black priest who smokes, Viejo calls him 'the train', who everybody likes and he likes us. You probably remember Viejo who went to Santa Fe to protest ethnic profiling and got on TV.

Anyway, there was a note posted on the mission door that said we should go to the noon Mass at the parish church in which they would break from tradition and switch to Spanish. Some folks said they would go to the eight o'clock because noon was to late in the day but they didn't. I did. It was in Spanish except for Father J's reading of the Gospel and his homily.

I figured I might as well go to the noon Mass, too, who knows, maybe some of our musicians would get to sit in, and I did. Maybe a third of the congregation showed up. The notice didn't come out 'til late Friday so I figure that was the third of the congregation that's close enough to the Church to actually get the message.

Well the noon Mass was in English but our musicians didn't just show up, they were the musicians. So the Mass was in English but the music was ours and way better than theirs. Who knows? Maybe some of the rednecks will switch to the mission just for the music. Deacon read the Gospel and delivered the homily in Spanish so it was kind of the reverse of the early Mass. Except for a few exceptions we sat together as a block. Since the regulars were responding in English and many of us were responding in Spanish I responded in Latin, as much as I could remember.

Time to go to ESL class. I'll point out that Father J's readin wasn't all that good but when he sang his Spanish was pretty excellent and get back to learning 'Down by the Riverside'.

God bless you.

“God Loves Ilks!”

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#5 Sep 23, 2013
15th Dalai Lama wrote:
<quoted text>
Good morning, Nettiebelle.
I went to Mass twice yesterday. Padre is back in Mexico City for more cancer treatments and for reasons no one quite understands there was no substitute priest for Mass. They only asked one priest and he was sick but apparently they didn't even asked the retired Black priest who smokes, Viejo calls him 'the train', who everybody likes and he likes us. You probably remember Viejo who went to Santa Fe to protest ethnic profiling and got on TV.
Anyway, there was a note posted on the mission door that said we should go to the noon Mass at the parish church in which they would break from tradition and switch to Spanish. Some folks said they would go to the eight o'clock because noon was to late in the day but they didn't. I did. It was in Spanish except for Father J's reading of the Gospel and his homily.
I figured I might as well go to the noon Mass, too, who knows, maybe some of our musicians would get to sit in, and I did. Maybe a third of the congregation showed up. The notice didn't come out 'til late Friday so I figure that was the third of the congregation that's close enough to the Church to actually get the message.
Well the noon Mass was in English but our musicians didn't just show up, they were the musicians. So the Mass was in English but the music was ours and way better than theirs. Who knows? Maybe some of the rednecks will switch to the mission just for the music. Deacon read the Gospel and delivered the homily in Spanish so it was kind of the reverse of the early Mass. Except for a few exceptions we sat together as a block. Since the regulars were responding in English and many of us were responding in Spanish I responded in Latin, as much as I could remember.
Time to go to ESL class. I'll point out that Father J's readin wasn't all that good but when he sang his Spanish was pretty excellent and get back to learning 'Down by the Riverside'.
God bless you.
Hope your Padre is well and back soon, 15th.

“Wear white at night.”

Since: Jun 09

Albuquerque

#6 Sep 23, 2013
Nettiebelle wrote:
<quoted text>Hope your Padre is well and back soon, 15th.
Padre left Wednesday morning and is usually gone for about a week so he'll probably be back next weekend. You can tell he's tired and I don't know if it's the treatment or he's just over-exerting himself but we do tell him to get some rest and if he wants to sleep through Mass we can just sit and pray by ourselves but he seems to feel obliged to celebrate Mass every day and twice on Sunday.

I talked to Rico after the ESL class which went quite well. We continued with the Our Father. Everyone recited it individually then we went over some common errors and second time around they did much better. The Our Father pretty much filled the whole class with a bit of discussion about when the plural 'es' or the past tense 'ed' become an extra syllable and when they don't.

Anyway, I talked to Rico and I guess the homily at the twelve o'clock was in English because he remembered the part where Father J said he didn't speak Spanish so if we confessed to him we could say we were a bunch of ax murderers and we'd still get three Hail Marys. I know he didn't say that at the first Mass. I've been telling them that all along. Thing is, we don't go to confession at all because as Padre says 'We're all saints'.

God bless them.

God bless you.
lol

Pineville, WV

#7 Sep 23, 2013
Nettiebelle wrote:
<quoted text>"Believers are sick of meaningless liturgy, stand, sit, bow, sing, contribute"
I disagree.
There certainly is nothing wrong with the liturgy.
Liturgy is the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions.
The word, sometimes rendered by its English translation "service", may refer to an elaborate formal ritual such as the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy and Catholic Mass, or a daily activity such as the Muslim Salah[1] and Jewish services. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy is a communal response to the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication, or repentance. Ritualization may be associated with life events such as birth, coming of age, marriage and death. It thus forms the basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
In a Catholic Mass, the whole liturgy, the man focus is Holy Communion, which is a very personal thing between that Christian and God.
As for standing and sitting, we stand when the Word of God is read and certain prayers are said, etc., nothing wrong with showing reverence.
Singing? What is wrong with singing praises to God as opposed to speaking them?
Contributions? Much good comes from some of those contributions and not to just the Catholic community.
Yes, I believe the early Christians did meet in groups at various houses, etc., yet the teachings of the church leaders is what drew them and what was concentrated on at those meetings.
Without the leadership of the church and their efforts to spread the Gospel , those who were appointed by Jesus Himself to carry on His Mission, His Message, these 'home meetings' would have nothing to discuss.
As usual, you miss the point. Christians are leaving the Church because they are getting wise to the pontificating pontiffs. The Church and ESPECIALLY the Catholic Church, is getting TOO worldly. Jesus Christ is hardly taught any more. The Church is too interested in SOCIAL programs that cater to the whims of the worldly, the worldly that cry out, "Do not judge me" so the Church doesn't judge and thereby lets in just anything that crawls around.

But I commend you for showing where your true allegiance lies. With the Church.

“God Loves Ilks!”

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#8 Sep 23, 2013
lol wrote:
<quoted text>
As usual, you miss the point. Christians are leaving the Church because they are getting wise to the pontificating pontiffs. The Church and ESPECIALLY the Catholic Church, is getting TOO worldly. Jesus Christ is hardly taught any more. The Church is too interested in SOCIAL programs that cater to the whims of the worldly, the worldly that cry out, "Do not judge me" so the Church doesn't judge and thereby lets in just anything that crawls around.
But I commend you for showing where your true allegiance lies. With the Church.
How do you know what is taught in any Catholic Church?
You are not Catholic and never attend Mass.

“Wear white at night.”

Since: Jun 09

Albuquerque

#9 Sep 23, 2013
lol wrote:
<quoted text>
As usual, you miss the point. Christians are leaving the Church because they are getting wise to the pontificating pontiffs. The Church and ESPECIALLY the Catholic Church, is getting TOO worldly. Jesus Christ is hardly taught any more. The Church is too interested in SOCIAL programs that cater to the whims of the worldly, the worldly that cry out, "Do not judge me" so the Church doesn't judge and thereby lets in just anything that crawls around.
But I commend you for showing where your true allegiance lies. With the Church.
That's not true. You are simply blabbing your corn pone opinions.

Since: Sep 08

Anderson, IN

#10 Sep 23, 2013
lol wrote:
<quoted text>
As usual, you miss the point. Christians are leaving the Church because they are getting wise to the pontificating pontiffs. The Church and ESPECIALLY the Catholic Church, is getting TOO worldly. Jesus Christ is hardly taught any more. The Church is too interested in SOCIAL programs that cater to the whims of the worldly, the worldly that cry out, "Do not judge me" so the Church doesn't judge and thereby lets in just anything that crawls around.
But I commend you for showing where your true allegiance lies. With the Church.
Actually,they are leaving the mega churches of the Christian Reconstructinist movement.

http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fa...

"Q: What denominations are gaining members and what denominations are losing members?
A: Mainline Protestant denominations continued to decline, according to the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the United Church of Christ, all reported decreases in membership in 2011. For several years now, the Southern Baptist Convention, a conservative evangelical denomination, also showed a decrease. The Roman Catholic Church also reported a decrease of less than 1 percent."

Seems as though Catholics are losing the least. Even Baptist beat them.

“Wear white at night.”

Since: Jun 09

Albuquerque

#11 Sep 23, 2013
Cookie_Parker wrote:
<quoted text>
Actually,they are leaving the mega churches of the Christian Reconstructinist movement.
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fa...
"Q: What denominations are gaining members and what denominations are losing members?
A: Mainline Protestant denominations continued to decline, according to the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the United Church of Christ, all reported decreases in membership in 2011. For several years now, the Southern Baptist Convention, a conservative evangelical denomination, also showed a decrease. The Roman Catholic Church also reported a decrease of less than 1 percent."
Seems as though Catholics are losing the least. Even Baptist beat them.
"Q: Are U.S. churches multiracial?
A: Sadly, no. Eleven o’clock Sunday morning continues to be the most segregated hour in America."

I'm half Irish and Half Hungarian. Only Mireya and I showed up for the Rosario de Misericordia today. I always smile at the part:

Lider: Blessed Mary, Mother of Mexico,
Todos: Protect our homeland and defend our Faith.

Mireya got the Leader part. I've given up on changing it to 'María Santísima, Madre de las Américas'. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

God bless you.

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