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 Where is Christianity going?

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Here's a riddle: A young man walks into a building. From the outside, it looks like
a nondescript, run-down, abandoned warehouse. Inside he finds mood lighting, music
with throbbing bass, and young people wearing skinny jeans and superfluous scarves.
A bar off to the side offers drinks of some sort, and a frenetically lit stage is
shrouded in fog. Jumbo screens display what appear to be music videos. Everywhere
people text on their iPhones.

A young woman with a nose ring and a vaguely Middle Eastern tattoo comes up and
introduces herself. She makes awkward (but refreshingly earnest) small talk about
her passion for community gardens and food co-ops. She asks him if he has heard
Arcade Fire's new album, and compliments him on his bushy beard and lumberjack look.
Beards like that are cool, she says. Eventually she asks him for his contact information.

Question: Is the man in a bar? Or is he in a church?

It could go either way.
By the way, the opening comments: "Here is a riddle.... etc. etc written as an introduction, are not my own. I am uncertain who the author is, but use it purely to get some activity on the site.
Ron.
Good job! Great Discussion!
Blessings Ron,

Jesus said "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I am there."

I don't feel it matters where people meet as long as they bring their faith with them.
God knows their hearts, as to whether they are there to be seen or there for His glory.

I have to agree ith you though.
With some of the new charismatic churches he could be in either a church or a bar.

Let's pray he is in a church for the right reasons.

In His love
Rod
Ron,

I'm going with Rod on this one. What is driving these new kinds of ministries? I pray that it is a desire to spread the Gospel of Christ. However, at my age I really struggle with some of the new methods. I am interested in hearing from some on this site on this issue. The Gospel of Christ is unchanging yet I see that often Jesus would feel more comfortable in places that the self-righteous would reject. I want to follow Him wherever He is going even if it means going into a place that would make me feel uncomfortable. If He is there, I will be just fine.

Roy
Excellent point!
Hi guys, I understand where “Ya all are coming from” But surely our good sense
must prevail. I see it as a problem where change slowly takes place and worship loses forms of order and decency.

Something I have noticed and it can easily be seen on Christian TV. One group will do “Something Spiritual” out of the ordinary and depending on the response, two, three days later another group are found doing the same thing. Finally followed by a number of other groups.

Or people fall to the ground and start laughing hysterically or even known to bark like dogs.. The Holy Spirit we are told is at work in the Church. But the Holy Spirit appears to cause people to do this only when that particular preacher is in town.

Should we go down to their level in order to win souls? How can we be sure that we
don’t bring the gospel down to a level that we ourselves are no longer true representatives of the cross, but simply an imitation.

Note the “Florida Outpouring”where it was claimed that an elderly woman was kicked in the face (under instruction from the Holy Spirit?) to liven up the meeting. Or a Pastor kicked in the stomach to cure his cancer.
I can hear you say: “That is way out and I would be out of there like a shot”
But sadly thousands filled the place night after night to participate.

Sure General Booth of The Salvation Army fame, went into the local Pubs and there preached Hell fire. But he finally lined them up into marching order, to march up to one of the Salvation Halls where they signed on to “God’s Army” in order not to return to the Pub.
But then despite what has been said above. What is possibly just as bad is where people go to Church Sunday after Sunday. They have a membership of 50 – 60 persons. Nothing happens there and 10 year later the same 50 – 60 people are still the
Church members.

We have a vibrant gospel and we don’t need to water it down to win souls. Winning souls is the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore neither gimmicks or an attitude of “indifference” or “Couldn’t care less” will never win the day.

"let everything be done decently and in order" 1Cor 14:40
Ron,

I heard of an assembly one time that the people became so hysterically carrying on that they spilled out into the streets and everyone that saw them thought they were all drunk. They were carrying on something terrible.

I also heard of a Man that spit on the ground, made mud and put it on the blinded man's eyes indicating a cure for his blindness. I heard of another time a Man just spit on a blind man. I think another time He just spit and put that on a man's tongue.

Ok, Ron, I guess I'm being a little ornery. I am not ready to say that everything that goes on that seems to be a little crazy is not God. I saw a video the other day of a revival in Nigeria where an individual was being delivered from a demon. When the people saw he was free they began to act what some would call hysterically. Maybe more of His Spirit in our meetings would not be all that bad. I grew up in the holiness movement where people did some pretty strange things. I have seen people shout and run around a camp meeting tabernacle. I do think that sometimes the Holy Spirit might cause a reaction in us that is not normal. However, I agree with 1 Cor. 14:40.

Roy
Hi Roy,

Yes I get your message. But I guess as long as I don't start singing "Who'll play me dominoes" and throw incense around in the church, I'll continue to go with a starched collar and suit. Wonder what some would wear if they were going to be introduced to Queen Elizabeth. If I would do that for the Queen, why not for the King of Kings? Also I would have done nothing less when I married my Bride. Wonder what we will have on at the Wedding Supper? Surely not short pants. But then who knows? LOL!
Ron,

When you go in to see the King of Kings you will have to be wearing the garments He provided for you. Whatever that garment is, it will be glorious. I just pray it doesn't have a lot of starch. I guess I do like the more casual style we have today. Sometimes I think church is more about what we wear than who we are. Case in point is Easter Sunday morning. When I go to church I see people that I have never seen before and then the next week they are gone. But, boy were they dressed. I really think He is more concerned with what is on the inside than what is on the outside. What do you think?

Roy
Roy in all honesty,
I love the South African sun and spend a tremendous amount of time under it with short pants and open shirt.
The suit is scratchy and uncomfortable. B-U-T I would feel a hypocrite knowing that I would wear a suit when going to Buckingham to acclaim the Queen. After all it's the Queen you know !!!!!!! But not wear one when going to church to acclaim the King. I somehow feel I would be letting my own ideals and myself down.
But that's me! I also believe that the Lord understands both arguments.
But then this discussion should be more about behaviour than dress. I am afraid that a lot of behaviour is disrespectful, much to do about performance for the benefit of observers and not in keeping with the gospel.
Imagine you are a visitor to a church, and you walk in to find that nearly everyone around you is a well-dressed, fashionable, “indie”-looking twentysomething with skinny jeans, stylish hair, and a clear sense of cutting-edge fashion. You look at yourself, and you don’t fit in. You feel self-consciously excluded, unfashionable and awkward. We all know what this feels like. Whenever you’re around a bunch of hipsters and you are clearly not as hip, you feel uncomfortable. You can’t help but feel that way.

Now, it may well be that the hipsters in this hypothetical church are very genuine, authentically cool people. They could be very friendly and not at all elitist or snobby. But nevertheless, they have that hipster “look,” and on first impression, it isn’t the most inviting thing to outsiders. More often than not, the impression “cool” gives is alienating, off-putting, and exclusionary. It implies a hierarchy, an “in-the-know” vs. “out-of-touch” dichotomy, an atmosphere of divineness and discomfort. But is this the sort of atmosphere you should find in a church?

Here is one of the problems for Christian hipsters. Whatever they might mean by the clothes they wear or hairstyle they sport, however authentically they are expressing themselves, the fact is that the medium of “cool” communicates certain connotations, and some of those connotations might not fit so well with what Christ in us should convey.

Many Christian hipsters would like to believe that their faith has mostly to do with their beliefs and their actions, but that it doesn’t have much at all to do with how they look. But I think we have to consider that our “look” does matter, because—for good or ill—it does communicate things.

Christian hipsters may be driven by legitimate motivations, by honest aesthetic interests and by an understandable desire to want to distance themselves from the old-guard evangelical culture that connotes so many bad things for so many people.

But in the process of trying to create new associations of what Christian identity is and how it is enacted in the world, many Christian hipsters are simply falling neatly in line with an already established and increasingly proliferate industry of “hipster” identity. We are rebelling against the consumer-minded excesses of mainstream evangelism by identifying ourselves with the consumer-minded practices of hipster culture. Our alternative is simply consuming different sorts of things. Instead of McGee and Me, we’re watching Mad Men. Instead of Audio Adrenaline we’re listening to Animal Collective. Isn’t our identity more than our consumer preferences?

Unfortunately our culture—built around consumerism and advertising—has for years reinforced that identity is in fact about what you consume. We are told that buying certain things will make you attractive or “cool.” Liking certain things will give you a unique flavor and will make you “different.” In short, consumption makes you who you are, and gives you the power to set yourself apart from the pack. The medium of “cool” has been perfected by the culture industry, and its message—exclusivity, elitism, edgy rebellion—is collateral damage in just another economic exchange.

The article goes on to say many other worth reading things, so check it out at:
http://www.hipsterchristianity.com/blog.php?blogID=55

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