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:
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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.
Grab your favorite beverage, pull up your favorite chair and join our conversation.
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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.
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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.
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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:
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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.
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March 7, 2019
Welcome to episode 7 of the UnSunday Show. "Preach the word" were Paul's words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2. This short phrase presents two concepts that I talk about in this episode by asking the questions, what is preaching and what are preachers, and what did he mean by "the word"?
We take what we know in our modern-day pastor-driven model, and superimpose it back into scripture on passages like this. We assume that preaching and preachers are a reference to pastors and what they do because that's what we see all around us. We've been told the pastor is the preacher and the preaching is what's done from behind the pulpit every Sunday as we're instructed and challenged to live better lives and get better at this whole Christian thing. But is that how the New Testament presents preaching, preachers, and the phrase "the word of God" to us? Is the pastor the preacher, making preaching on Sundays a biblical requirement or imperative? Is that what Paul meant when he encouraged Timothy to "Preach the word" or has that interpretation come to us via church history and tradition? Let's talk about it.
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March 3, 2019
Welcome to episode 6 of the UnSunday Show! This is a bonus episode, published outside of my normal Thursday posts. If you like what's going on here, please share it with a friend. In this episode, I talk about formal church membership. Formal church membership is an accountability contract the institution will require you to sign in order to have leverage over you as motivation to keep supporting the institution. That's not a description you'll see on any church website, but it cuts to the chase and it's true. Make no mistake, what you're signing is an accountability contract designed to keep you in conformity with the institution's established requirements using rewards for compliance and punishments for failure to comply.
There are usually 3 areas covered in most formal church membership contracts that are there in order to secure conformity to the established rules of the group. They are:
- Money and Personal Resources
- Power, Authority, and Accountability
- The Threat of Excommunication For Failure to Comply
This episode is a re-post of one of my Ekklesia podcasts from about a year and a half ago. I'm reposting it here because it says everything I wanted to say in this episode, so why re-invent the wheel? There are a couple of small things in it that I would reword today, but those aren't show-stoppers. I also present some foundational thoughts on how we've brought Old Covenant imagery into the New Covenant ekklesia (church) and how detrimental that is to both our view of God and the church.
This episode is loosely based on my paper:
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