The UnSunday Show
The Clergy/Laity System Is Not Neutral

The Clergy/Laity System Is Not Neutral

May 9, 2019

Welcome to episode 15 of The UnSunday Show. In this episode I continue my interaction with Jon Zens' book, A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick? as I look closer at the top-down authority structure of the clergy/laity system. In my opinion, this system is not neutral but adds an intentional, built-in layer of division within the body of Christ. The pastor-centric, top-down clergy/laity systems in most institutional churches is a product of church history. There is no New Testament warrant for its existence. In fact, the New Testament clearly mitigates against it.

The result of 2,000+ years of the clergy/laity system is that we can't function apart from the pastor. The pastor is central to the extent that the identity of the entire local church is wrapped up in the person of the pastor in charge and if he or she fails to show up on a Sunday unannounced, we don't know what to do. We even assign ownership of our local churches to the one pastor in charge. This expresses itself in phrases like, "I go to pastor John's church" or "Pastor Jim started a new church." This system of complete dependence on one person was first introduced by Ignatius of Antioch in the early 2nd century when he said,

"Let no one do anything in the church apart from the bishop. Holy communion is valid when celebrated by the bishop or someone the bishop authorizes. Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the church."

Let's talk about it.

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Here are some links related to this episode:

Rethinking Religion, Part 3: The Clergy/Laity Distinction

A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick? - by Jon Zens

Visit me on-line at https://unsunday.com. Enjoy!

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Captain and Commander?

Captain and Commander?

May 1, 2019

Welcome to episode 14 of the UnSunday Show! In this episode, I continue my interaction with Jon Zens' book entitled, A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick? In Section 5 of the book, which is called Why Has Church Become So One-Part Driven?, Zens shares the following quote from David L. McKenna,

"[The pastor] is like the cerebellum, the center for communicating messages, coordinating functions, and conducting responses between the head and body.... The pastor is not only the authoritative communicator of the truth from the Head to the Body, but he is also the accurate communicator of the needs from the Body to the Head."

Later in the chapter he quotes C. Peter Wagner as saying,

"The army has only one Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ. The local church is like a company with one company commander, the pastor, who gets his orders from the Commander-in-Chief. The company commander has lieutenants and sergeants under him for consultation and implementation, but the final responsibility for decisions is that of the company commander, and he must answer to the Commander-in-Chief... The pastor has the power in a growing church... The pastor of a growing church may appear to outsiders as a dictator. But to the people of the church, his decisions are their decisions."

Let's talk about it!

Zen's book and my blogs mentioned in this episode:

A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick? (I recommend this book!)

Why Is There A Pulpit?

The Pastor-Driven Church

Visit me on-line at https://unsunday.com. Enjoy!

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One Body, Many Members

One Body, Many Members

April 18, 2019

Welcome to episode 13 of The UnSunday Show. I finally bought a book that I first saw in 2008. It's called A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile by Jon Zens. It's subtitled, What Makes American Christianity Tick? I think the title says it all. It's an excellent book that I really enjoyed reading so I thought I would share it with you by way of interacting with short excerpts from it. This will be the first of several episodes interacting with this book. I'm looking forward to seeing where this takes us.

My first exposure to Jon Zens was in 1995 and I had the opportunity to meet him later that same century (I've been waiting for a chance to use that "century" phrase!). If you're not familiar with his writings, I think you'll find them informative and encouraging. You can find Jon Zens on-line at Searching Together. Here's a link to the book:

Visit me on-line at https://unsunday.com. Enjoy!

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Leaving Religion, Finding Ekklesia: A Conversation With Rocky Glenn and Jim Gordon

Leaving Religion, Finding Ekklesia: A Conversation With Rocky Glenn and Jim Gordon

April 11, 2019

Welcome to episode 12 of the UnSunday Show! I caught two of my friends at a weak moment and they both agreed to come on the show and talk with me about their individual journeys out of the institutional church. My conversation with Rocky Glenn and Jim Gordon centered around their reasons for leaving that religious environment, their experiences along the way, and what community looks like now, apart from religious influence and obligation.

Jim and Rocky's stories are indicative of millions who've left the institutional church environment in favor of a more authentic experience apart from it, me included. We haven't left the faith or the body of Christ. One cannot leave the body of Christ without walking away from Jesus. The two are mutually inclusive. Like so many others, we've simply discovered a more genuine expression of the body of Christ apart from religious obligation and conformity to institutional rules, expectations, and traditions.

You can find Jim Gordon at Done With Religion.

You can find Rocky Glenn at Confessions of a Recovering Church Boy.

Grab your favorite beverage, pull up your favorite chair and join our conversation.

Visit me on-line at https://unsunday.com. Enjoy!

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Community and Accountablility

Community and Accountablility

April 4, 2019

Welcome to episode 11 of The UnSunday Show. Let's talk about community and accountability. Most of us think community and accountability are two sides of the same coin, or that one (accountability) is necessary for the other (community) to function. Community is the agreed upon goal and we think accountability is the bus that will take us there. But it’s not. That bus is traveling in the opposite direction. 

Accountability encourages people to pretend. Community invites us into the Father’s affection where we can feel safe and accepted, fully known and fully loved without any pretense. In an accountability structure, we learn to hide the stuff that’s the real us or that we think will disappoint others and God. We learn how to fake it and which masks to wear to fake people out in every circumstance. In accountability structures, we are focused on getting people to do what they don’t really want to do by way of manipulation and behavior management with corresponding rewards and punishments.

Visit me on-line at https://unsunday.com. Enjoy!

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Dying Daily and Carrying Crosses

Dying Daily and Carrying Crosses

March 28, 2019

Welcome to episode 10 of The UnSunday Show. We've reached double-digits! In this episode I talk about two phrases in scripture that religion has successfully convinced us are spiritual disciplines: dying daily and bearing our cross. Religion has turned these into closely related spiritual disciplines where I need to be killing myself off every day and learning to hold up under the weight of life's circumstances, or bearing my cross.

But is that what these phrases mean? Are bearing my cross and dying daily spiritual disciplines indicative of spiritual maturity? Let's talk about it. Visit me on-line at https://unsunday.com.

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If We Confess Our Sins

If We Confess Our Sins

March 21, 2019

Welcome to episode 9 of The UnSunday Show. Let's talk about 1 John 1:9 and the confession of sins. This passage says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The question I address in this episode is does John mean believers should be repeatedly confessing sins in order to experience forgiveness up to that point in time? If so, how do we reconcile 1 John 1:9 with other New Testament passages that teach the once-for-all forgiveness of sins secured on the cross? Let's talk about it.

My paper referenced in this episode:

Rethinking Religion, Part 6: Confessing Our Sins

Visit me on-line at https://unsunday.com. Enjoy!

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Our Journey Out Of The Institutional Church

Our Journey Out Of The Institutional Church

March 14, 2019

Welcome to episode 8 of The UnSunday Show. My wife joins me in this episode from our old Ekklesia Podcast as we talk about our journey out of the institutional church and the events and circumstances surrounding it. We both hit a wall of performance about 10 years ago as a pastor and pastor's wife within the institutional church environment that resulted in a crash and burn for each of us from performance-based Christianity. We tried to stay within other modern church settings for a few years but became increasingly uncomfortable in that setting as time went on and our eyes were opened wider to a different reality, increasing our inability to stay there. We finally left that environment about 4 years ago and have discovered a more genuine and authentic experience outside those walls.

If you find yourself on a similar journey of leaving the modern church setting, we hope you find encouragement in this episode.

-Mike

Visit me on-line at https://unsunday.com.

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