Category Archives: Church and Culture

A Rumble in the Distance

welcome photoI’ve been watching with interest the developments around same-sex marriage. I believe there are implications for the church as the majority of Americans know and practice it. The financial realities of doing location-based church may become very difficult in the days ahead.

Consider this: if our friends and neighbors were to find themselves unable to “go to church” as they always have, would they know how to find a community of faith without it? Would they know how to practice the life of the church without a building and paid staff?

Now, consider this: Are you ready to host your friends in your home? Are you willing to teach others how to be what I call “a church of the heart?” In other words, are you ready to invite others into a simple church, a “summit” fellowship?

As the landscape of American Christianity starts to shift, we need to be prepared to share what we have learned in our simple church experience. “…Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)”

I won’t go into detail now, but might I suggest you take a look at the Time magazine piece at this link. You may find it interesting.

Quote: Life in the Christian Colony

Resident Aliens
From Resident Aliens
Life in the Christian Colony.
By Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon.

This book bears the appropriate tag, “A provocative Christian assessment of culture and ministry for people who know that something is wrong.”


The church was called to be a colony, an alternative community, a sign, a signal to the world that Christ had made possible a way of life together unlike anything the world had seen (p. 132).

The confessing church…calls people to conversion, but it depicts that conversion as a long process of being baptismally engrafted into a new people, an alternative [community], a counter cultural social structure called the church.  It seeks to influence the world by being the church, that is, by being something the world is not and can never be [because it lacks] the gift of faith and vision, which is ours in Christ. The confessing church seeks to be the visible church, a place clearly visible to the world, in which people are faithful to their promises, love their enemies, tell the truth, honor the poor, suffer for righteousness, and thereby testify to the amazing community creating power of God. The confessing church has no interest in withdrawing from the world, but it is not surprised when its witness evokes hostility from the world. The confessing church moves from the activist church’s acceptance of the culture with few qualifications, to rejection of the culture with few exceptions. The confessing church can participate in secular movements against war, against hunger, and against other forms of inhumanity, but it sees this as part of its necessary proclamatory action. This church knows that its most credible form of witness (and the most “effective” thing it can do for the world) is the actual creation of a living, breathing, visible community of faith (pp. 46-47).

The Dones: Finding Each Other

This is the third in a series about the demographic called The Dones and their exploration of simple church. A version of this article appears at

Having just celebrated Pentecost, the birth of the church, I’ve been thinking about the trajectory of those early believers. Those were heady days! People being swept into the kingdom; discovering a new love for each other; sharing their goods; eating, praying, and learning from house to house and in the public spaces of the temple.

Exciting stuff!

Then things got dangerous. Saul started breathing threats against the followers of this “Way.” The followers of Jesus were forced to run for their lives (Acts 8:1). The result was astonishing. Everywhere they went they started talking about the wonders they had seen in those early days in Jerusalem after Pentecost. In their enthusiasm these new believers were like dandelion seeds blowing in the wind (Acts 8:4). They may have been on the run, but their message took root wherever they landed. And so, other communities of faith sprang up all over the region; little gatherings of people eager to learn.

The Dones. “Done-delions?”

What about The Dones? Could they be like the early church scattering from Jerusalem? Maybe this apparent exodus of faithful followers from the traditional halls of the church are a new wave of the Kingdom. And why not? By all accounts these folks haven’t lost their faith, only their patience. They want their freedom. And some of them are discovering other “free-range Christians” outside the walls. They haven’t forgotten the importance of gathering with others (Hebrews 10:24-25), they are merely simplifying, meeting without the box.

I’m excited about the possibilities. I would love to hear of the adventures of The Dones. I’m hoping those of us who have been meeting simply can link arms with them. Jesus has promised to be in the midst of those who gather in His name. I think it will be better for him to be in a hundred places among ten than in one place among 1000!