What makes church “church?”

Very interesting post over at bright and beautiful; challenging, disapointing and yet strangly encouraging all at the same time. Take a minute to read it and then continue:

Observation: When growing up Methodist, church was something we did. In fact, church was something we did all the time. Our friends were church friends. Our church social group went to lake, the adults drank beer, and everyone water skied. I think we ate some type of pot luck, sloppy joes, or chili feed at church at least twice a month. My point; church was about community. 

Then I grew up, got saved and something changed. I wanted to be spiritualy fed and challenged. I have been to many, many churches over the past 25 years since leaving that Methodist church. Many I have loved for a period of time, some I tolerated, and some I ended up trying to figure out what I ever saw in them. Each one taught me something and yet it seemed each one left me wanting more, wanting the church to be better or offer me something different.

Question 1: Is it possible that in my desire for church to be something specific and in the interest of spiritual hunger, I missed the very thing that made, and makes, church “church?”

Question 2: Am I off course wanting church to be something or offer something to me instead of accepting church as it is and for what it is?

Question 3: Have we let church stop being about community?

What makes church “church” to you?

What is the purpose of your message?

Speaking about a Joel Osteen and his message, Mark of Denver in Translation say’s “It’s not a heretical message, it’s just not a powerful one.” I have to question this one, not the heretical part which is silly to me, but the “it’s just not a powerful one” part.

A ministry reaching beyond his immediate church; beyond those who closely share his beliefs; reaching out to the mainstream and beyond; reaching those who might not receive a less “heretical” message; seems pretty powerful to me.

Now, if you want question the spiritual depth of Joel Osteen’s television or book ministries that may be a case where you could say “it’s just not a powerful one.” But this leads to the question “what is the purpose of the message?”

If Mr. Osteen is trying to provide deep spiritual or biblical insight I am not sure he is on target. If on the other hand he is trying to pastor to believers; reach those who are ready, willing and wanting to believe; or reach people who will never step foot into a church, I have to think Joel Osteen is right on target.

What is the purpose of your message, to speak or be heard?

What is the deal with Easter?

While planning a business trip for next spring I was surprised to find the proposed date was in fact Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009. What is the deal with Easter? Who decided it could be whenever that who wants it to be?

I mean, everyone knows everyone married better know that Valentine’s Day is in February, in fact February 14th. Every year. Not sometimes the middle of February and other times the end of January. It has the honor of it’s own day in the year, every year.

That’s right, the made up for marketing purposes (but a great day to celebrate love if your reading this sweetheart) Valentine’s Day has it’s own day while Easter, the most important occurrence to Christians, indeed the day we celebrate what enables Christians to be Christian, occurs “sometime in the spring.”

This does not make sense, but what to do about it? Do you know why Easter is going to be on April 12, 2009?