life in the suture zone...

In the earthquake faults between tectonic plates, the suture zone is the in between place where they meet. I find in that a metaphor for the times in which we live... and invite your conversation in the suture zone.

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Location: Bakersfield, CA, United States

... a struggling, but mostly joyful, apprentice of Jesus.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


A lot of what one thinks is wrong or right with the church today depends on perspective. I just read a comment on another blog (not yours, Miller) that basically said planting house churches in marginal communities is the only thing Christians ought to be about today. Or at least it could be read that way.

Please don’t think that what I’m about to say means I am against house churches or against planting churches of any model. Because I am very much for that. I do believe we need to be about planting churches everywhere we can, especially among those marginalized by our society (and even by the church at times), and in whatever models we are led by God to use.

But I am incredibly grieved when I hear usually younger people state emphatically that theirs is the direction all Christians should be going, that authentic Jesus ministry can only happen in this way or that…. I’m sorry folks, but I’m just truly, truly grieved.

Do we need more house churches? Yes. Do we need emerging churches? Yes. Do we need established congregations to make the transition to missional churches? Yes. Do we need traditional churches? Yes!

To devalue the godliness and expression of Jesus represented by those who have gone before us is a grievous sin! It smacks of the judgmentalism against which so many of us are reacting today. To focus on what are obvious warts within the tradchurch is sort of like Jesus’ story about the optometrist trying to clear dust specks out of people’s eyes when there’s a log hanging out of his.

I’m sorry to be so harsh, but I know some precious, precious souls who would never make it in a house church or an emerging church or any of the newer models of church that are popping up. But if I read my Bible correctly, God loves them just as much as he loves those of us who are looking at different ways of ministry, and who understand the black eye that the tradchurch has given “church” in much of our society, and who absolutely know Jesus wants us to (fill in the blank here). Maybe Jesus wants us to stop judging. Maybe he even wants us to stop judging those who are judging us. How can mutual castigation further the kingdom of God?

All I beg of you is to have a bit of perspective. If I am right (and of course I think I am ;^) ) we are currently living through the greatest change in world view since the Enlightenment. Even if you don’t grant that, you must admit that change in communication, lifestyle, mobility, mechanics, medicine, technology, biogenetics and a hundred other things has happened more rapidly today than perhaps at any other time in man’s history. However you want to describe them – pre-modern, modern, post-modern, or any other moniker – it’s clear we have people who live in different worlds, even though they live on the same earth. They have different perspectives.

Is it too much to ask that we don’t jump to the conclusion that because God is in what we are doing, that God somehow isn’t in what someone else is doing who is doing it the old way, or a different way or whatever?

Well, now I’ve ranted. You’ll find me doing that here occasionally. If I over-reacted, I’m sorry.

I just have to ask, though. Whatever happened to grace and mercy?

Grace and peace!



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