Our Faith Journey 3 - Tearing Apart and Rebuilding Church

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This is the third in a series of articles describing how our church life changed afer hitting the road fulltime. These are the books that first tore apart and then rebuilt our understanding of church.

If you haven’t yet you can read our backstory and then read about our experiences trying to attend church while traveling.

We couldn’t reconcile fulltime travel and church.

The disconnect between the two caused me to start asking questions. Lots of questions.

Questions that cut right to the roots of our faith life:

  • What was church?
  • What were we missing that we thought church would provide?
  • Why could I not find much in the Bible that looked like modern day church?

I’m a researcher by nature. When I have questions I start looking for books.

Here are the three books that were crucial in redefining what “Church” meant to us.

So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore

Written by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman, this book is a fictionalized account of a troubled pastor who gets help from a mysterious John the Baptist character.

The storyline isn’t strong, the characters aren’t deep, and the conversations aren’t always believeable.

Yet there were a number of moments where I was nodding my head in agreement and appreciating how the book put words to my feelings and experiences within the institutional church.

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You can purchase the book on Amazon or read it for free online.

Pagan Christianity

If it’s ever occurred to you that you can’t find a description of a modern-day church experience described in the Bible, Pagan Christianity may be a book you’ll want to read:

This ground-breaking book makes an unsettling proposal: most of what Christians do in present-day churches is rooted, not in the New Testament, but in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles.Purchase Pagan Christianity on Amazon.com

I say “may want to read” because Pagan Christianity is a book that you cannot unread.

Written by Frank Viola and George Barna, Pagan Christianity largely deconstructed what I knew of as church. It left me convinced the church we grew up in, married in, and had our kids in wasn’t something that we needed to keep looking for.

But what did we need? If the roots of the current church are largely pagan, what should church be?

Frank Viola subsequently published Reimagining Church to answer that question.

However, it largely put forth the idea of house churches as the solution. House churches are still location-dependent so the idea was a non-starter for we nomadic folks.

Finding Church

Written by Wayne Jacobeson, Finding Church rebuilt our understanding of what it means to “Be the Church”.

The book taught us that our church is the people that God puts in our path. It doesn’t happen on a schedule that we set. We can’t organize it. We don’t have to organize it.

His church is a living temple, springing up in the individual heart and then knit into a worldwide community of people whose very relationships put God’s glory on display.  There’s no way human effort can build it or sustain it, which is why our attempts fall so woefully short. She is the fruit of a new creation of men and women who live beyond the human conventions of society and share a life in Jesus that satisfies their most ardent hunger.Purchase Finding Church on Amazon.com

We met the author while in Florida last year and were blessed by his humility and approachability. We’ve also learned a lot from Wayne’s podcast and blog at http://thegodjourney.com/.

Ok, So Really, How Do You Do Church Now?

In short, we don’t.

We don’t “do”.

We “are”.

What’s that look like?

I have some examples in Our Faith Journey 4 - What Church Looks Like Now.

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5 Comments Our Faith Journey 3 - Tearing Apart and Rebuilding Church

  1. Picture of Nico VeenkampNico VeenkampJanuary 10, 2016

    Thank you for sharing your journey in finding a way to experience your faith and finding others to share it with.

    Although I consider myself an atheist I believe that spirituality is an important component of what makes us human. Some may take this and turn to religion. I think that you can be spiritual without religion.

    Recently I read a great book Sam Harris called Waking Up : a guide to spirituality without religion. You may want to consider reading this as part of your research. I think he has some interesting points to make.

    As always I wish you and your family all the best on your both physical and spiritual journey.

    Take care

    Nico Veenkamp

  2. Picture of CandyCandyJanuary 12, 2016

    I love this and find it fascinating.  We were on a church staff of some description for our entire 13 + years of marriage until last year when we decided to hit the road.  I will blog about our experiences at some point.  Right now it’s all a little too fresh.  Our church life looks very different on the road too, but our walk with Jesus does not.  In fact, I think it’s better now!  Thank you for your transparency.  Great read!

  3. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkJanuary 13, 2016

    Hi Candy -

    I understand the “too fresh” part..;) It took 5 years to get to the point of being able to write about it here.

    We’re in a better place too - encountering God in much more authentic ways. That’s the stuff I’ll write about in the next post..;)

  4. Picture of TomTomDecember 11, 2017

    Thanks for having the courage to write this article (and no worries about having to wait 5 years before you could write it; it took me almost two years to find it after you first published it!).

    I haven’t read any of the resources yet but I suspect I’ve come to many of the same conclusions you have. Institutional church. Paganism. Yup.

    May you and your family be blessed for your efforts. You have helped move us a bit further down the road in this area.

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