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Archive for the ‘Simplicity’ Category

Simplicity – Gathering

This past Sunday morning we had a bit of a different sort of church gathering.  On the one hand, we had all of the normal elements to a normal Sunday morning for Westchurch; singing, prayer, communion, giving, etc.  However, in walking in and sitting down, you would notice right off that you were in for something a different.  

For starters, we had all of the seats set up in a circle, and in the middle of the circle was the communion.  I could go on and on about the symbolism of this…no hierarchy, equality, communion being the central focal point, but I will spare your eyes the unnecessary reading.  There was no sound system set up (this is something important because we meet in a school, and setting this up and taking it down is a big thing to do on a regular basis.)  There was no powerpoint, just a total focus on what we were there for.  From my perspective, this was something quite refreshing.  

The other part which was certainly different was the way we did the lesson.  Taylor Smith was able to lead some discussion on simplicity through meditation on Matthew 18: 3ff.  It was a time of communal learning and communal input.  There was not a long talk beforehand (I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing), but rather the Spirit of God coming out of the conversation.  If you ask me, it looked a lot like what was going on in the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 14:26).  People were bringing something different to the table and sharing!  

Now, you might be saying to yourself, that sounds a lot like Bible Study.  Well you are right, I reckon it does.  There are of course a few additional aspects/elements which can be seen, but basically it does look a lot like a Bible Study.  My question to this is that I wonder if a “bible study” looks a lot more like what church is supposed to be like rather than what a normal church does?  I am not sure as of yet.  

I read a good book which raised some good questions about how we do things in church.  It is called “Pagan Christianity” by George Barna and Frank Viola.  If you are interested in a good quick read and some good history on where and why we do the things we do in churches today, I would highly recommend it.

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OK, so I have been once again giving this whole notion of simplicity some more thought.  One reason for this is because I am doing a series on Sunday about the topic, but also because it just seems to really resonate with me at the moment.  I just can not seem to shake the huge desire in my life for more simplicity.  

I wonder what it is inside of me that craves such a thing, and yet really does not know what it would look like to live a simple kind of life.  I mean, on the one hand, I know what it would look like to get rid of so much of the things that I have.  I know what it would look like to get rid of so many of the “appointments” I have in my diary.  But would that truly feed this craving in a healthy way?  Am I just scared about the idea of doing something like this and am making excuses for not doing it….?  I am just not sure.

I read that perfection comes not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.  Perfection is this?  Is this what Jesus did by making things more simple with the greatest commands?  Love God and Love others…..everything in the law and the prophets hanging on this kind of thing.  Is this what he meant by his yoke being easy?  I mean I know it can not mean that turning the other cheek is the easy choice.  But maybe he means it is easy in that it is much more simple.  It is much more boiled down and not so flipping complicated.  I am not sure what it all is, but I know I want to live less and less complicated and the more I read the bible, the more I see my life in complicated ways…..

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Simplicity

I reckon this is a state at which we would like to get to and yet we do not really know how to do it.  I believe one of the human conditions is to complicate things.  The freedom of simplicity is what we desire, but the natural flow is the bondage of complexity.

However, I think we are beginning to see a new trend in todays world.  Maybe not a trend, but I think there are signs of intentional simplicity.  Take a look at Google’s search engine and then compare it to Yahoo or MSN.  What do you see?  Maybe you can see this in some of the new ways of interior decorating or even the logos of products.  Simple is better.  I reckon you can see this is sports as well.  The game plans are getting more and more simple….although the Bulls were pretty simple back in the day (give the ball to Jordan).

I wonder if this complexity is something we have been putting into some of the was we do church and the way we perceive following Christ.  Have we made some of this stuff so hard?  Have we made too many lists of what it looks like or means to follow Christ?  Somewhere in the bible it says something about loving others and loving God….that being the end all be all right?  Maybe this is the basics, but as my coaches and others have said in the past, if you can not get the basics right then why “play the game?”

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