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Source: (consider it) Thread: I don't know where to go (with this).
Martin60
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# 368

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Sorry, this will be tl;dr

I'm … tearfully exercised by the fact that I don't go to church except as extending the last joint of my little finger in the direction of social action.

Elsewhere I posted on my most recent vicar's (he married us six years ago, we gave up a year ago) report from Brazil:

“'We're now into a daily programme of visiting churches for Bible teaching, training and ministry during the day and evening. … What I loved was the passionate way they expressed their faith in Jesus in worship and their hunger for God. And the team had the privilege of praying for hundreds of people. I saw 3 people clearly healed physically- one guy had been to the doctors on numerous occasions about the base of his foot which had become so painful that he could not place weight on it and was now unable to work. The doctors had no idea how to treat the problem despite numerous visits and scans. But Jesus did and he was healed completely and his life freed from pain and restriction. Over one hundred healings took place and numerous people experienced God pouring his Holy Spirit into their lives. Praise God! I don't think I'm going to get bored of this.',

of which I despair and from the same source this,

'… a team of over 20 young adults in their early 20s dedicated to serving the people of this poor [Brazilian] community'.

You can't have the one without the other it seems.”

I despair at the claims. I despair at the worship – whatever that is - as the be-all and end all. I utterly endorse the social action.

He continues,

'This is more of a reflection than a report. Having attended two worship services in Portuguese each day for the past few days, I have been interested in my experience of engaging in worship when I cannot understand what is being said or sung. It has been a liberating experience of going beyond words in worship as I have joined in the passionate worship of the Brazilian churches. The focus stops being about singing the song properly and it becomes about presenting my heart and worship to him and drawing close to him. And when you don't focus on the words you begin to focus on what is happening in the spiritual realm, what the Holy Spirit is saying, revealing, pouring out and calling out of us while we worship.

So if the first fruit of going beyond words is becoming much more aware of God's presence, the next is posture - using your body to express your heart and worship to God. When you can't unite with others through singing the same words you can still fully participate with them in raising your hands, clapping, kneeling and even dancing! And the gift of tongues allows you to sing and speak praise beyond words and connect your spirit with the Holy Spirit. This enables you to present your whole self to God and to align your whole self with what God is doing by his Spirit. (Romans 12:1)

Now Jesus taught that it was those who worship in spirit and in truth who are the worshippers the Father is looking for (John 4:23-24). So it is not 'either or' but 'both and'. Words are important. The content of what we sing is important- it is vital that it lines up with all God is and all he has done. I was interested that the Church of England's Morning Prayer service this morning contained the following reading:

Revelation 14:3 'And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth'. The Spirit gives birth to new songs within the hearts of those he has saved in response to the amazing love of Jesus the Lamb on the Throne. So singing the new songs the Spirit inspires is vital, in fact the singing of a new song that Scripture tells us about a number of times implies the Spirit wants us to sing truth that connects with what he is doing at that time and place- any old song won't do- our words should line up with what he is doing.

So it is definitely word and spirit. But the danger of most Western church worship is that we think simply singing songs that declare truth about God is enough. So my experience of the last few days has challenged this - to go beyond words - and has been liberating as I have encountered God in a powerful way. I have also shared a video of [name withheld] helping to lead worship in a local church because they saw his anointing and freedom in worship even though he didn't speak the language - he was such an example of all I have written.'.

Should I join in? Regardless? Regardless of the fact that it's meaningless to me? Should I smile, sing and sing and sing and sing and wave my arms and go forward for prayer (I HAVE tried) and be happy? Rather than wait to be happy? Despite the fact that the theology that goes with this, to me, excruciating second rate theology is third rate, as bad as it gets? Magical thinking. Conservative. Damnationist. 'Charismatic Evangelical'.

And one cannot even have 'the conversation'. With anyone in the congregation. Even THE liberal. He obviously doesn't have the headspace. We're good friends and neighbours with the young curate and his wife. It might happen. But hasn't for a year. And all this angst is driven by years of fellowship and friendship and trying, trying, trying to fit in. By my being, us being, intensely … that gets tears and paralysis … involved in the homeless and vulnerably housed outreach. Both my wife and I have run it, consecutively, her and me then just me. Sometimes just the two of us. That's how we met. People would come in off the street to join us. Literally. Passing by. But that door was … closed. I'd STILL bow the knee. Tears. But I'd have to do it completely mutely. Just silently meet expectations. Live the … lie.

I've literally and metaphorically been out in all weathers with the assistant vicar, whom I love. She fears we're backsliding I can tell. That we haven't overcome the effort needed to attend services by alternating between us while caring for my demented immobile mother. And I DO miss communion. I DO miss fellowship. I always have missed it. Even while I had it. Driving miles to go to mid-week home group after picking up my closest church mate – who doesn't go now of course - from work because I wasn't allowed to go to the local group I could walk to. My mate and I would stare at each other and nearly burst out laughing it was so dire. And we kept going. Until home groups were stopped.

Sorry. As I said elsewhere, I'll try and get to the cathedral for lunchtime once a week, my wife might join me. She's retired too but getting very, very busy, as some people do.

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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No idea. I feel the pain. Love me, love my people, God might say in a reorganisation of Jesus' greatest commandments, but how to relate when people are in such a different place, one you cannot go or countenance?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Martin60
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# 368

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Thanks for reading Karl.

I can't love them their way. I can't love Him their way.

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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I get what your former vicar is talking about in the first paragraph of their report. I call it full body worship. It's a really great feeling. I like to think that its about being in communion with God, but I also reckon that's crap. I try not to think about it and just lie back and enjoy the ride. I'm pretty sure there's a little trick I can pull to achieve that state. Does that mean it's the Spirit, or me doing something with focus? Honestly, I don't give a rats. I choose - deliberately and with my eyes open - to see it as exposing myself to God, but not like that.

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Human

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Martin60
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# 368

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I envy that simon. I admire it. I can't stand the foul sentiments of half of what is sung. And the other half is Jesus is my girlfriend grovellings.

[ 26. September 2017, 11:33: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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I join in the social action and attend the worship.

My mind, soul and strength no longer attend the worship. I spend the time thinking 'I was there once so I can't judge them' and also thinking through what they believe and what I (now) believe. If I don't agree with the words I don't say or sing them.

I love the people dearly or I would not go.

I used to be a worship leader. This week our Minister asked me to lead worship next Sunday. - I don't think she hears what I say when I tell her my faith is tiny and I struggle to worship at all! (I said no).

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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# 368

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Again, most exemplary boogie. What about what's preached?

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Again, most exemplary boogie. What about what's preached?

Some excellent sermons and some rubbish, as always [Smile]

I'm lucky, I have a Guide Dog puppy with me so (if I'm not on AV) the puppy can have an urgent call of nature during dire sermons.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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I only ever went to an evangelical service regularly in pursuit of a woman. She was lovely and, of course, passionate about God. I wooed her with Shakespeare plays and kissing under the stars, but we were just too different. It broke my heart for a bit, but it was worth it, and now I'm 15 years married in May.

Other than that, its bells and smells and teeny tiny elderly congregations for me. I reckon my teeny tiny one is the best, even if half the congregation (3 or 4) are so deaf that they sing out of time with the organist, who struggles to modify his pace to suit. That's gold class worship I reckon.

I fell out of the church habit for most of 2016, and before that I was a refugee from the Uniting Church and went to three different churches for years before settling on the teeny tiny place. I was a refugee because my application to be a minister was knocked back and I couldn't face being knocked back again. That left a huge hole in my heart. Anyway, I'm all misty-eyed about my present congregation because I'm enjoying them again.

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Human

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Martin60
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# 368

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The sermons are invariably alien to me, I struggle to make any of it relevant, apart from the liberal minority of one's. The hymns aren't 100% bad. The odd Wesley gets in. Amazing Grace. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Enya now. Overwhelms me. ... Be Thou my Vision - Alison Krauss. Redman. Quite a lot really. You know the drill. It's any HINT of revelling in penal substitution that sticks in my throat.

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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My teeny tiny church goes mad for Onward Christian Soldiers [Biased]

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Human

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Amazing Grace how I hate that song that failed a wretch like me. I once was lost and stayed that way. Was blind and now I wear glasses. (If you have to have it, more cowbell)

If there's wee bit of comfort and a little eternity shared I can dig it. My need is transcendence: there will be poor always and God will ask why we failed to enjoy simple pleasures before issuing halos and wings.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Martin60
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# 368

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"I'm being wowed by God in worship, He is wowing me, He approves, therefore my theology and praxis are correct."

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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God is like staring into a mirror that is covered in splatters of toothpaste left to dry.

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Human

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Helen-Eva
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# 15025

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I don't feel qualified to comment really but I feel like someone ought to say: look after yourself. You can't help others (the social action) if you're being driven utterly miserably soul-grindingly screwy yourself. If being in the presence of these people drives you nuts and is making things that are sacred become risible then maybe you need to get away from them. They may be lovely people who are very sincere, but if they're having a bad effect on you, you do need to look after yourself.

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I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
I don't feel qualified to comment really but I feel like someone ought to say: look after yourself. You can't help others (the social action) if you're being driven utterly miserably soul-grindingly screwy yourself. If being in the presence of these people drives you nuts and is making things that are sacred become risible then maybe you need to get away from them. They may be lovely people who are very sincere, but if they're having a bad effect on you, you do need to look after yourself.

Excellent point.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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# 368

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Thanks Helen-Eva. I can cope in the social action context. It's the Facebook feeds that are breaking my camel's back.

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Thanks Helen-Eva. I can cope in the social action context. It's the Facebook feeds that are breaking my camel's back.

Unfollow them - simple.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Ethne Alba
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# 5804

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Thank you for this thread.

Today my FB was brutally pruned. It took a while but i can feel the benefit already.

+ slipping out to the loo is always a God-send. Last month i took a turn round a nearby community garden and returned much refreshed and in a better mood of the remainder of the service.

It's the small things.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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quote:
Should I join in? Regardless?
Doesn't sound like you should, to me. You sound like you're making the mistake I often make; that either _they_ represent The Way because 'things are happening' and therefore I must conform to what they're doing; or that _I_ represent The Way because I'm so honest and thorough and I see all the holes in what they're trying to be and why can't they be more like me.

But people, and cultures, are so different. And so what? I really don't think this matters, and it seems God meets people in very, very different ways. They do their thing, and they are blessed. If there's love joy peace patience goodness kindness faithfulness gentleness and self control - then it's of God. But you don't have to do it the same way. If there isn't ljppgkfgsc - that's their problem, unless you think you're called to be a prophet to them (!). And you, and I, need to find somewhere to do ljppgkfgsc in a way which works in _our_ own culture, and in the strength of God, because we're such w*nkers left to our own devices. If I may say so.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Martin60
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# 368

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LOL! Cool. Ethnoi eh? Folk. As in there's nowt so queer as. Aye. Bloody engineers. What do they know? Stop the sacred feeds. Yeah. Wilco.

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Huia
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# 3473

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Thanks for reading Karl.

I can't love them their way. I can't love Him their way.

Nor could I. I don't think this is necessarily a failure of love on our part, it is a difference.

Surely if we are to love God with all our heart, then we may not all love in exactly the same way as our hearts are different.

If my whole-hearted love for God falls short in some way, I think it reflects my unhealed self and I believe that God will have compassion for my shortcomings.

(sorry if that's not very lucid - daylight saving has just caught up with me and it's after bedtime).

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
God is like staring into a mirror that is covered in splatters of toothpaste left to dry.

Like this?

Pellucid (as an elision pf perfectly lucid) to me Huia.

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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My experience is that I am imperfect. I will get things wrong even when I am trying to do my best.

At that point I can hate myself for being imperfect and live my life trying to either justify, or deny, my imperfection (did that for a long time - it sucks as a life strategy)

Or

I can forgive myself for being imperfect and do the best I can.

I do not think my life should be about meeting expectations; even my own expectations. I think my life should be about meeting life head on just as it comes to me and doing the best I can after seeking guidance from God.

I don't live up to the standards of folks who fling themselves at something great and wonderful. I do what I do. I help people as I can. I now help people better than ever because I quit trying to live up to impossible ideals that I demanded of myself.

YMMV, buy you don't seem to be that happy a camper right now Martin. Perhaps you might resign yourself to being a human being and give forgiving yourself for it a whirl.

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Martin60
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# 368

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I'm glad you're back mate. Expectations eh?

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
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# 368

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And Ethne Alba - this is your thread too. Thank YOU.

Of done me back in as well as me feet, so no cathedral for me today! Here & Ian Banks' Whit will have to do. And plant IDs. The head cold is quite benign so far.

[ 27. September 2017, 11:15: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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There are times when I pray, "Lord, I'm a mess, but I'm your mess."

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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Martin60
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# 368

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I hear Him nod and smile in the pitch dark silence at that.

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged


 
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