With thanks to the fantastic ASBO Jesus. Check out his site for more of the above!
Maybe this one should have been saved for the winter…
Stuck making flower arrangements, when you dont know your rose from your thorn? Trapped making after Church refreshments, when you dont know your tea from your coffee? Maybe you need our top five ways to escape a Church Rota???
My Church is on my sofa. My church has gone sofar.
I believe that the original Church in Jerusalem is our best model for a Kingdom of Heaven shaped society, the most direct demonstration of the body of Christ, because it’s the one that the Holy Spirit initiated at Pentecost before anyone had any idea of what Church was supposed to be like; it’s where it’s at! The first 3120-ish men and women were filled with the Holy Spirit with Jesus’ words and life still in their heads, in their hearts. The core 120 of them knew him as man to man. They knew his heart for humanity and his intention for his people, and from that sprang the community that we call Church.
So what was the early Church like? We’re told the early Church was “of one heart and soul”, so much so, they made a thing of selling their valuable assets (Tithing? So Old Testament. Chuck it all in!) They put the proceeds at the feet of the Apostles for them to distribute to the poor. This was so successful that it was said “there were no needy people among them”! Talk about Christian praxism & charity, eh!
Another thing I’ve noticed from reading Acts is that the Church would regularly meet in the homes of it’s members. In fact, it seems that the extended households of that culture were each ‘Churches’ in each City. There’s fifteen direct references to the church in the home in the NT, from:
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”
and then further on:
“Likewise greet the church that is in their house”
Up until persecution broke out after Steven’s stoning public spaces were important gathering points for Jerusalem’s household-Churches, so we do see a good case for mass fellowship gatherings. However, Churches were primarily house-based, as they shared their most important meal together, the agape communion meal, in their houses.
My third thought on the example we have of Church is that Jesus himself said that when a couple of people are gathered in his name, he’s there too. So according to Jesus, a bunch of Jesus-people together is all it takes to be a Church. No bells & whistles, no incense or lecterns, no big screens, fancy lights or drumkits. Though all of these can be useful, like the temple courts they’re not what the Church is made up of, they’re just useful.
Wow… The blogosphere has been CRAZY busy this week:
So you may have noticed a picture on the side of The Church Sofa about Laughing with some guy named Tom. We thought you all might like to find out a little more about who this guy is so we invited him to join us on the sofa for a while and tell us a bit more. Please sit back, relax and enjoy our interview with the man behind ‘Laughing with Tom’
If you could be any vegetable, what would you be and why?
Ooh, I think that would have to be a carrot. For no other reason than because I love carrots and houmous.
What is your favorite pudding and why?
Banoffee pie. Taste it and see. I tell you, it’s the desert of the heavenly banquet – believe me, I’ve checked.
Are you a funny man, a magic man, a speaker man, or a preacher man? Or a combination?
A combination – A little bit like Banoffee pie. Special.
Tell us a joke…
Went into tesco’s and all these dwarfs were stacking shelves, I thought ‘Every little helps…’
What’s your book about?
It’s a combination of stories, both humorous and serious, illustrating quick thoughts and biblical reflections.
I am a big sports fan. I love many mainstream and non-mainstream sports. I enjoy watching my family play rugby and cricket, and I love talking about ‘the game’. Yet what has been happening on the business end of sport has me having to stick up for ‘the game’.
The legendary Los Angels Dodgers Major League baseball team has filed for bankruptcy. The second most recognisable baseball team in the world (second only the New York Yankees) – through poor financial management, broken business/personal relationships, and a flawed business model – are now broke with a pessimistic future.
The new owner of Birmingham City football club, Carson Yeung, is in a Hong Kong prison on money laundering charges. This is the majority share holder of the club worth £87 million. There are also claims that some of the appointees have had run-ins with the law also.
The American football (NFL) and basketball (NBA) leagues are having a ‘Lock-out’ (effectively a union strike) until negotiations on greater financial share of the respective sports revenue. It takes the mickey that these bargaining are happening during one of the worst recessions in history.
When I see some of the ancient writings on financial responsibility seem more relevant than ever:
The wicked borrow and never pay back, but good people are generous with their gifts – Psalm 37:21
Poor people are slaves of the rich. Borrow money and you are the lender’s slave – Proverbs 22:7
Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you Let us be bold, then, and say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-6
The reason I bring these ideas to attention (which a few of many) is because they are principals that would benefit the many. The phrase Oligarch could be used with quite a few of these owners: Where all power and opinion comes from one sources, maybe even one person. The business-only outlook of such men and women excludes the people whose contribute the most to the owner’s team: the fans, the local citizens, and the sports fans everywhere. A cold and aloof image with minimal press does not help the sport either.
The Biblical principal of not being enslaved by our debtors, seeking to contribute to the good of the world, and to not be solely money-led in life is of benefit for all of us. Knowing that God is for everyone, wanting to help you whenever and where ever, takes the power out of money. We can aim our lives to serving God and humanity, where our income sustains our household and for the greater good. This might be ideological stuff, but these ancient texts (amongst many others in the Bible) give these sports teams a far greater deal.
Ben can be found at BenBlogs, and is a lay preacher at his St Annes Church in Oldland,Bristol.