Welcome to episode 52 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about some of the pitfalls of professionalizing Christianity and relegating our time together to the professionals we’ve hired in our institutions and relying on them to do what all of us should be doing. The body of Christ suffers in this scenario because it’s impossible for every member to function and exercise their spiritual gifts. It also assumes one person in the assembly is more qualified to participate than the others and it creates a false level of separation in the body of Christ we call clergy/laity.
Welcome to episode 51 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about how institutional religion often uses the small group setting as another way to promote itself by making the group agenda-driven and insisting that the agenda remains at the heart of the group. Whether it’s to review Sunday’s sermon, have an institutionally-sanctioned Bible study or book study, or to discuss the institution’s doctrinal statement, institutionally-imposed rules governing our time together are at the heart of the group meeting. Getting to that agenda each week is the real reason we’re allowed to meet and everything else that happens during our time together is an add-on. The simplicity of just living life together and enjoying it, gets lost in this kind of environment. Let’s talk…
Welcome to episode 50 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are a group of activities that vary from group to group or church to church, that we’re told we need to be doing to ensure spiritual maturity. It’s an activity list of things like reading your Bible, prayer, giving, sharing your faith, etc. that institutional environments use as a vehicle for tracking accountability and compliance to preset standards of behavior.
In this episode I interact a little with this article:
Welcome to episode 49 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about faith. In the letter to the Hebrews we’re told that without faith it’s impossible to please [God]. That sounds a little daunting. Does that mean I’m responsible to fabricate a certain amount of faith every day to make sure God is happy with me? What if I fail in my attempts at faith? Is God displeased with me? How do I know when I’ve succeeded? How much faith is enough faith? How do I know when I’ve done enough? In the letter to the Ephesians we read that faith is a gift. But how can it be both a requirement and a gift? That seems like a contradiction.
This episode centers around Galatians 2:20 where Paul said:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Welcome to episode 48 of the UnSunday Show. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about institutional religion’s shady past. This is in response to a comment someone left back in episode 46 (Who Has Bewitched You?) that deserves some attention. The comment was actually in two parts. The first part was more of an observation when this person said, “Communities used to be built around the church, literally.” I agree with that. Entire communities existed around the centrality of the institutional church, but not always by choice.
This individual went to to ask, “Wasn’t that a good thing that bonded communities?” I think this is a really good question that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. So let’s take a closer look at it in light of a couple of snippets in church history and let’s see if the way institutional Christianity bonded communities was a good thing that created genuine community.
Welcome to episode 47 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about Hebrews 10:25. I don’t know about you but in my experience, this verse has been used over and over again as a proof text to convince me that leaving institutional religion was more than just a bad idea. Leaving institutional religion, so the argument goes, is forbidden in the Bible and Hebrews 10:25 is proof of that. This verse clearly tells us, so the argument goes, that leaving institutional religion amounts to “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” and is clearly forbidden and unhealthy.
But is it? Is that what Hebrews 10:25 means? When viewed in context the answer is a resounding “No!” Far from being a warning to not leave institutional religion, Hebrews 10:25 is a warning to not go back into institutional religion. Let’s talk about it.
Welcome to episode 46 of The UnSunday Show. In Galatians 3:1 Paul asked the Galatian believers, “Who has bewitched you?” This bewitching was a result of the Galatian’s mixing of New Covenant grace with Old Covenant law. Or as Paul put it, “Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?” He described this thinking as “foolishness” with the result of having “fallen from grace.”
We’re no different today because we blur the lines between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant and we think everything in the Bible is meant for us so we mix law and grace together all the time. Look around. It’s everywhere. Yes, we began in the Spirit, but it’s up to us to finish strong in order to keep God happy with us. In other words, grace alone isn’t enough. What’s needed is a mixture of grace and rule-keeping. Having begun in the Spirit, we need to be made perfect by our own efforts and determination.
Add to that 2,000+ years of religious tradition that tells us we can never do enough and we have a recipe for disaster. That’s the topic in this episode of the UnSunday Show.
Welcome to episode 45 of The UnSunday Show. This is part one of a two-part relaunch of the show. In this episode I talk about religion’s failure to deliver and how our systems of religion diminish who we are in Jesus. Add to that, a misunderstanding of how the Old Covenant and the New Covenant relate to us today and how the Bible fits together. Thinking that Bible passages all apply to me, coupled with religion’s message that I’m never doing enough, is a dangerous mix. Let’s talk about that and some of the related topics I hope to address in The UnSunday Show.
Welcome to episode 44 of the UnSunday Show. I’m checking in with you on this episode to let you know I’m still here and that the UnSunday Show is going to get a facelift soon. These last few months have kept me busy with things like launching a new business, developing a new podcast editor’s course, and life in general. But all the while, I’ve had some ideas floating around in my brain for retooling the UnSunday Show ever so slightly. So look for that in a couple of weeks.
I recorded this episode on the front porch of our friend’s cabin in the tall pines of Arizona, using the memo app on my phone. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but it’s not bad. I was able to edit out most of the wind the annoying raven that wanted in on the action. We’ll talk again soon.