Welcome to Provocative Church

As you browse, read and share the many articles, our hope is that you may find this site an encouragement to your faith and Christian life.

Worship

We were created to worship. And we are to worship God with every aspect and area of our lives - presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

The Church

The bride of Christ can often times be difficult and messy - but it is Christ's beautiful mess - to which He is the head and chief cornerstone.

Ancient Future

Our faith comes out from a rich heritage and history. It was during the formative years of our faith that creeds, confessions, traditions, and liturgies were developed. These practices and traditions recaptured will not only anchor us but move us forward in our faith.

Freedom

There is freedom in the gospel as it proclaims that in Christ we are sons and daughters of the King. The importance is learning to preach those truths to our heart and life everyday.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Leaving the Church


Anne Rice, the bestselling novelist most popularly known for "Interview with the Vampire" and her other creepy vampire novels as well as her novels on the life of Christ, announced on Wednesday via Facebook that she has officially renounced Christianity.

Here were her Facebook comments:



Anne Rice says that she refuses to be anti-gay, among other things, noting that her son, novelist Christopher Rice, is openly gay, closing with the notion that she will continue to be “an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God.”

Anne seems willing to still embrace Jesus, while jettisoning all the baggage of being associated with organized church and faith.   Anne's decision is more than a personal declaration, rather it is a sign of the times as a quickly growing number of people also wish to leave their organized religion behind them as well.  According to the latest American Religious Identification Survey -  34 million Americans have left their organized religion in recent years.

Organized religion has been perceived by some people of faith (as well as those outside the church) as focusing on the wrong priorities and the emphasizing the wrong messages.

Author and once minister, Steve McSwain said in a recent article that he left the church when he realized that “the church was more lost than the world it was trying to save” and that the church is “an institution vastly more interested in saving itself,”.  Moreover, McSwain points out that, “While 40 million people died of starvation in the last decade, churches spent $10 billion on campuses,” that is, building megachurches and beautifying the grounds they are on.

Certainly the church can learn and benefit from the concerns and critiques of Rice, McSwain and the the 34 million others who have experienced feeling disenfranchised and disappointed with the church.  But I believe that those concerns and critiques, must not be allowed to cement into cynicism toward the church.  The church is not man's institution, rather it is Christ's body, Christ being the head.  We can't say we love Christ, but hate His bride, the church - they are inseparable.  But unlike Christ, too often the church and the people of God act imperfectly, sanctified sinners who don't always reflect God's glory.

To that point, I appreciate Chad Nuss' admonition to persevere with and within the community of faith even in it's imperfect state:
Church community consists of people that are very different, who sin against each other, who don’t like each other from time to time, who do all kinds of bad, hypocritical things–yet they stick together because the call to Christian community is to learn how to die to ourselves for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the church, for the sake of community, and for the sake of the glory of God. (read the whole quote HERE)
Being a part of the church is not being a part of a perfect institution, rather it is a call to die to ourselves and to live in light of the Gospel everyday.

Information Overload

Too much stuff, so little time. Here again is a lot of good material throughout the week that I've come across. I feel the need to share some of the good stuff with you since I don't have time to comment on it throughout the blog.

This stuff shows up in my Google RSS Reader throughout the week and I use the widget from my "shared items" in my Google Reader to post the most interesting information that I've gathered from the web. Enjoy some fun, entertaining and provocative reading. (my shared items have their own individual rss feed that you can subscribe to directly)




Sunday, July 25, 2010

How To Speak Christianese