Saturday, 21 February 2015

Semantics or Religious Apartheid?

Is it just me, or does anyone else have a problem with this? Am I missing something here?

Man Church? Who comes up with these antics and sales gimmicks?

Maybe it sounds a little extreme, but the very first thing I thought of when I saw this was, I wonder what would happen if a sister were to walk into their gathering on Wednesday at 7pm? Would she be welcome? Or would she perhaps be shown the door? And if she were shown the door, what if she made a stink about it, perhaps even filing legal action for discrimination? Would she win? Now there's a show that I'd be curious to see play itself out.

No, I'm not a fan of lawsuits at every slightest whim when someone feels that their rights were somehow trampled upon and violated, especially among people who count themselves as believers. What ever happened to turning the other cheek and going the extra mile (Matthew 5:38-42)? Paul said that "The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means that you have been completely defeated already. Why rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers" (1 Corinthians 6:7-8). But I have digressed.

It's really quite sad how often we use buffoonery in the name of Christ's church!

Again, am I missing something here? In his song "Dirty Water," Lecrae says that "the most segregated time of day is Sunday service," (or maybe in this case, Wednesday evening), and I'm beginning to think that he may be on to something. The word "segregation" makes me think of another word: "apartheid," and the thought of apartheid only leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Clearly it does not belong in the church. Is that what we're talking about here; a form of religious apartheid? Ouch!

Now I'm not opposed to men fellowshipping together any more than women doing likewise. In the same way, there is nothing wrong with children's or young adult groups that cater to their specific interests. There's a host of words we could use to describe gender or age specific subsections of the church. Maybe I'm just fiddling with semantics, but whenever I hear or use the word "church," I cannot help think of it as encompassing the whole body of Christ and not just a small subsection of it. As such, if this "Man Church" were really a true "church," it would have to include everyone from cradle to grave, regardless of gender. In other words, "church" is about family, and every member in it. In my way of thinking, anything less might be better off not called a "church," however if it is, it's probably more accurately described with the word "pseudo" hyphenated in front of it.

That's the way I see it anyways. Peace.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these"
(Jesus; Mt.19:14).

Photo source: Unknown; via Facebook

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Science of God

"Science disproves the existence of God."

Who hasn't heard a plethora of people espouse that belief? But does it really? What if the reverse was actually more likely the truth? What if, contrary to many atheistic dogmas, science actually proved the existence of God? Could it be that what science is really saying is what the church has been saying all along, namely that "God's not dead, He's surely alive" (to borrow a line from the Newsboys)? I like to think so. 

I would like to dedicate this post to all my many friends who would call themselves either 'atheists' or 'agnostics,' and I do so with all due respect. Just as this blog is called Rethinking Faith and Church, largely because of a lot of "rethinking" I myself have done on spiritual matters since leaving the institutional church, I would challenge you, my friends, to also do a little "rethinking" as you watch the following video from Prager University, and that you do so with an open mind.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll begin to see that God is very much alive, and if that is true, then maybe it's not such a far stretch from there to see that such a God really does LOVE you too. That is my prayer.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

Photo Credit: Fred Locklear; Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, 13 February 2015

Are You Feeling the Love?

My brother shared this image with me the other day as well as the following thoughts:

"I must admit, I really did LOL at this one ... but then when I got to the underlined comment, I felt a bit ashamed. It's sad how quickly we jump all over a little mistake made by a 'friend.' I sure hope the Mark in this post has a thick enough skin to take the teasing. Not everyone has." (Shared here with his permission)

The last commenter is right, of course: "There you go, Mark!!!! One little slip of the finger and all of your friends mock you. Are you feeling the love?"

I couldn't help but wonder how much love others feel in the things I say or share online. Being somewhat of a humorist myself, I too see the funny side of this post, and from time to time, I too have been known to make fun of a simple typo or grammatical error of another without giving too much thought to their feelings. It is easy to say that they need to "toughen up," and not take everything so serious, but the fact is, we are not all the same; some of us are much more sensitive than others, and it is my humble opinion that we would do well to also be a little more sensitive to people like that.

Now, maybe Mark is OK with the teasing and, as my brother commented, "has a thick enough skin" to deal with it. But what about the next person? Especially as Christians, how would Christ have us to respond? Maybe the bacon jokes, if they simply must be, are best kept as a private one-on-one message and out of the humiliation of the public eye.

"It [love] is not rude ... it keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5), but social media apparently does.