Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Thought-Provoker: Addicted to "Church"?

Jason Zahariades over at "The Off Ramp" posted a thought-provoker titled Detoxing From Church.

Here's a teaser from his reflections:

Moving From Being Churched To Being The Church
Detoxing from any kind of substance abuse is only a means to a much greater end. It is the essential process toward a healthy life, free from oppressive addiction. The same is true for one who detoxes from the church. Remember, we must leave the church in order to BE the Church. We must stop being churched and start being the Church.

As I ponder Jason's thoughts, I wonder if what many of us call "transformation" is nothing more than socially-driven behavioral modification, that is, we're conditioned by the "churched life" to live a certain way and, thus, to unwittingly become numb to the radical Spirit's mission to overhaul everything about us as the Spirit compels us to follow that radical pastor named Jesus.

Just thinking out loud.

Thanks to Jamie Arpin-Ricci, I was informed about Rob McAlpine's thoughts with the same title "Detoxing from Church." Check RobbyMac's post over at "Dry Dock."

What are your thoughts? Take time to read Jason's blog and Rob's blog.


At 9/07/2006 4:57 AM, Blogger Tim said...

I've done it and I feel like a free man. Free to be a person of the kingdom of God, not of Christedom where I spent my days speaking Christianese to those on the inside who were scared of what was outside.

At 9/07/2006 7:48 AM, Anonymous Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

Hey there,

Have you seen RobbyMac's classic piece on this by the same title?

Worth the read.


At 9/07/2006 7:48 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Way to go, brother! I'm glad you did it. I pray that your church plant is going well. Keep in touch.

At 9/07/2006 7:49 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

I had not seen RobbyMac's thoughts on the topic. Thanks for the link.

At 9/07/2006 10:18 AM, Blogger Jason Z. said...

Hi John.
I want to thank you for mentioning my article on your blog. Your book, Jesus the Radical Pastor, was a key book for me when I began dealing with my severe distortions of my identity regarding professional ministry. It was a significant pointer to what authentic apprenticeship to Christ and pastoring should be. I'm honored that you've mentioned my article and blog. Thanks again.
Jason Z.

At 9/07/2006 11:30 AM, Blogger grace said...

Both of these articles were important to me early in my journey away from church. I would consider them must reads.

However, they do mess with one's ability to just "go with the program." I am now overly detoxed and have little patience for playing the church game.

While I can appreciate and fellowship with others who are still deeply involved in church life, the fact that we view things so differently is a barrier to true fellowship.

Most people have no idea that I don't buy the paradigm of church in which they are invested. We only have a couple of real-life friends who understand where we're at, and they have moved thousands of miles away.

So once you get yourself on a different page from everyone you know, then what?

At 9/07/2006 2:39 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Jason Z,
I am glad to hear the book Jesus the Pastor was a help to you. I appreciate your thoughts very much in "Detoxing from Church."

At 9/07/2006 2:44 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

It can be very lonely to detox from church. Also, you can begin to second guess yourself. However, there are those who are seeing the sad "fruit" of the USAmerican church industry and deeply hunger for what Jesus was after. Perhaps your community will be "virtual" until you can connect face to face with those who both understand and affirm you and your decisions and longings. Please know that you are NOT alone even though at times you feel alone. Grace and peace be with you.

At 9/07/2006 7:54 PM, Anonymous Ted Gossard said...

An important point these guys and yourself are making. We want the real thing, not the un-church. But the true Body of Christ!

At 9/08/2006 5:08 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

You got it...right on target.

At 9/08/2006 8:44 AM, Blogger Jim Martin said...

A good post. (and links to posts) This was a good week for me to read this and to be reminded again of the authentic. It is amazing (and so frustrating) at the energy that is being expended in churches to just keep the system going.

Within a church, many might desire to be the church but then get lost in the tremendous expectations of others to provide a setting where they can "be churched." Thanks.

At 9/08/2006 9:10 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Jim Martin,
Your comments remind me of Eugene Peterson's words that if we pastors aren't careful we end up being reduced to shopkeepers minding a religious store. I like the phrase "to be the church, not be churched."

At 10/17/2006 9:58 PM, Blogger Robbymac said...

Hi John,

Thanks for the link and the kind words. I've always appreciated your comments over at Emerging Grace's blog, as well.

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