Posted by: theacres | May 1, 2013

What to do about it?

The last post was getting a bit unwieldy so I thought I’d better split it out to avoid completely turning off my small but loyal readership, Jon.

Having experienced the lows and lows of church hunting, mrs the acres and I had both expressed our frustration at the established church that we were experiencing. We came out of one service and both said ‘let’s start our own church’ at pretty much the same time. It was a joke, it was a joke in poor taste. It’s incredibly arrogant of us to believe that the church is so massively off-track that we should go it alone. I even get twitchy at the church plants, that arrive in the middle of an area already plentifully blessed with congregations, and promptly set about not being ecumenical with them in any way. What gives us the exclusive line on truth, the best ideas about how it should work? We’re not special, we have no unique theological insight that’s been eluding the church since the days of the disciples.

For a few reasons we don’t want to cut ourselves off from the church, the church is too important for that. I have been thinking though…

Walking home form work I gathered my thoughts and threw them at God. It’s stuff that’s been milling around my head for a while but it all came together and flooded out. He wasn’t surprised, He’d seen it coming. I issued God a challenge, I sort of laid out a fleece, and while He may have answered, He may not have, so next time I’ll ask for the fleece to stay dry and the ground to be wet.

Tithing is not something that everyone does, it can be a bit of a contentious issue. My family does it, we give the first ten percent of our money to God. Recently I’ve felt challenged about time. Do I tithe my time? Does God get the first ten percent of that? Realistically? No, He doesn’t. My first inclination for the last couple of years is to go back to sleep whenever I can, so the challenge remains.

Why not tithe a Sunday?
If relationship with people is important why don’t we bring back the sabbath in a different way. Let’s rest WITH people. I quite like the idea of church being the whole day, where people pitch up in the morning, hang out, worship, eat lunch together, talk about God, talk about life, share their days with each other. Pray. Go home when it gets too much for the kids, or the adults. Maybe one or two stay and watch antiques roadshow and play the ‘guess how much’ game on the red button, have a glass of wine and a deep conversation.

I’m sure you’ll agree that our faith is so much more when it’s not confined to 1030 – 1200 on a Sunday. If we were to break that out into the whole day, maybe it wold spill over into Monday and people might pop round to each others’ houses for a cuppa and a chat about things that they heard yesterday and had been mulling over. Or a text or a Facebook message to say that the thing that they’d asked for prayer on had been sorted. Or it hadn’t yet, so please keep praying.

It really surprises me to say this, but I have this slightly weird desire that it would become the norm to come home and find my house empty. This wouldn’t be unusual. I’d put my bag down and walk over to our friends’ house and find my wife and son sat around the dining table having tea with them. I’d pull up a chair and join them. Or on another day I’d come home and find a bunch of our friends laughing as they sit in our garden, drinking pimms and enjoying the sunshine. Maybe it’s a bit fromagery but a song could come on the radio (God bless #ucb and #premier) and we’d all start singing in worship, or someone would rock up to the piano and belt something out…

Maybe that’s too idealistic and I know that I’d need to relax a lot, and be considerably less grumpy before it could become a reality. I wonder whether the shared-sunday is a model of church that could work? If the venue is relaxed and the company is good and people are excited to be there then that’s got to be a good start, surely? I don’t know what Jesus would have done, what the disciples did when they met together, this sounds like fun though, doesn’t it?

The danger is that it becomes a nice, cliquey little club, that God doesn’t get a look in. How would one balance it? How do you make sure that more often than not there’s some God content in there? How does this cosy get together reach out and tell people that they need Forgiveness?

I’m no longer interested in giving it a name, but I am interested in having the backing of Godly and wise people who will be on hand if things start getting difficult. I’m all for freedom but like jazz, it sounds so much sweeter if you’ve all got a grasp of the fundamentals, you can improvise when you know the theory and have practiced it. Without a solid grounding it just becomes a shambles, and it falls apart.

If we were to do it on our own, or with a few friends I’m not confident it would work. This isn’t a false humility thing, I know deep down that this sort of thing doesn’t happen in isolation where God’s involved. Why would He give this ‘vision’ to us as an exclusive little party? No, that doesn’t feel like the God I love? He’d want something that gets people involved, that goes off hunting for that lost coin, and rejoices when it’s found.

Lord God, how much of this is me, and how much is You? Please help us to know, and please give us the courage to act when yo ask us to act and to get over ourselves when we’re off-course.


Finally haven’t forgotten the #fivethings:

1. Sunshine – I’ve missed you, old friend
2. Setting the alarm for 0700 – I never thought I’d consider that a luxury
3. The beasting I got from Oli yesterday, mountain biking up and down a steep hill, on a ‘easy ride’
4. My health
5. My wife – I’m more in love with her now that I’ve ever been


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