Sunday, May 07, 2006

Inquisitive Reading Ahead (in search of authenticity)

I've been having a spiritual itch that has needed some scratching for some time; I suspect it kicked into high gear when I did some mission/relief work in Louisiana after Hurricane Rita. I don't find pewsitting attractive anymore as there is a huge gulf between hearing and doing.

There is something about the word "missional" in one's approach to make a difference; what is the slice of the world that as a Christian I've been assigned to partake in? Another definition of missional is: Christians going out into the world to serve God rather than isolate themselves within communities of like-minded individuals.

I remember Henry Blackaby's statements in "Experiencing God" -
God is always at work around you.
God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.
God's invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.

Last year, a friend mentioned the emerging church which made the itch more intense and seeking to understand what all the talk was about via many bookmarked links - Wikipedia distills the definition of the emerging church as:

The emerging church or emergent church is a diverse movement within Christianity that arose in the late 20th century as a reaction to the influence of modernism in Western Christianity. The movement is usually called a "conversation" by its proponents to emphasize its diffuse nature with contributions from many people and no explicitly defined leadership or direction. The emerging church seeks to deconstruct and reconstruct Christianity as its mainly Western members live in a postmodern culture. While practices and even core doctrine vary, most emergents can be recognized by the following values:
People in the postmodern culture seek real and authentic experiences in preference over scripted or superficial experiences. Emerging churches strive to be relevant to today's culture and daily life, whether it be through worship or service opportunities. The core Christian message is unchanged but emerging churches attempt, as the church has throughout the centuries, to find ways to reach God's people where they are to hear God's message of unconditional love.
more values defined

I just placed an order from Amazon for these three books is search of looking for perspectives on Authenticity:

"Why Men Hate Going to Church"
David Murrow -
Book Description
It's Sunday morning. Where are all the men? Golfing? Playing softball? Watching the tube? Mowing the lawn? Sleeping? One place you won't find them is in church. Less than 40 percent of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25 percent of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. And why are the men who do go to church so bored? Why won't they let God change their hearts?

David Murrow's groundbreaking new book reveals why men are the world's largest unreached people group. With eye-opening research and a persuasive grasp on the facts, Murrow explains the problem and offers hope and encouragement to women, pastors, and men. Why Men Hate Going to Church does not call men back to the church-it calls the church back to men.

"A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey"
Brian D. McLaren
A New Kind of Christian's conversation between a pastor and his daughter's high school science teacher reveals that wisdom for life's most pressing spiritual questions can come from the most unlikely sources. This stirring fable captures a new spirit of Christianity--where personal, daily interaction with God is more important than institutional church structures, where faith is more about a way of life than a system of belief, where being authentically good is more important than being doctrinally "right," and where one's direction is more important than one's present location. Brian McLaren's delightful account offers a wise and wondrous approach for revitalizing Christian spiritual life and Christian congregations.

George Barna
Book Description
World renowned pollster George Barna has the numbers, and they indicate a revolution is already taking place within the Churchone that will impact every believer in America. Committed, bornagain Christians are exiting the established church in massive numbers. Why are they leaving? Where are they going? And what does this mean for the future of the Church? Using years' worth of research data, and adhering to an unwavering biblical perspective, Barna predicts how this revolution will impact the organized church, how Christ's body of believers should react, and how individuals who are considering leaving (or those who have already left) can respond. For leaders working for positive change in the church and for believers struggling to find a spiritual community and worship experience that resonates, Revolution is here. Are you ready?

First things first: I cleaned up a ton of links on Safari to not browse so much so that I can devote more physical book reading time in my schedule.

The season ending shows should wrap up soon: 24, Invasion, Alias, My Name Is Earl, The Office, Desparate Housewives, American Idol, Survivor, The Simpsons, That 70's Show... which will give the TIVO a break and shift 8 hours into reading...

Purging out my BlogLines feeds - I check out about 93 on a daily basis; some I have to keep on top of for my work such as the handheld/PDA/wireless/Palm feeds, but I will pull back radically on the opinionated ones. Reading rants about politics, nonsense or non tolerance towards Christians isn't productive anyway, so I''ll pass it on by...

With a birthday coming up, I get reflective on spiritual things anyway, so I'm anticipating some thought provoking epiphany moments to spring forth in search of authenticity.

1 comment:

Watchman said...


Sounds like were are on similar journeys. I stopped going to the "church as we know it" a couple of years ago. Then I read Barna's revolution book and realized I wasn't alone. I'll book mark your blog.