Summer School

God has taught me some things over the last few months. I wanted to write them down to help me see how God is changing me:

  • The issue is the heart, not the model: I used to think that the problems with modern Christianity were all because of that evil Institutional Church, but God has really changed my heart and showed me that when we are far from Him it is because our hearts aren’t right: we may lack love, be selfish, be power hungry, seek human approval, fear conflict, so on and so on … The bottom line is that the problems Christians struggle with have much more to do with our hearts then they have anything to do with some evil monster. The one I have tended to blame everything on was The Institutional Church.
  • The goal is Christ-centered community, not a gathering: I know it seems crazy to say that I used to believe that starting a gathering was the ultimate goal of this whole “church” thing, and if you had asked me I would have never admitted it (I really didn’t think that was what I believed) but I know now that was what I was driving toward. I felt like everything I was doing: the blog, the get-togethers, the conversations, the cups of coffee, the lunches, the dinners; I thought of all of this as building toward what was really important: having a regular gathering. What I would have said was that I wanted to be part of the church, but what I thought that meant was being part of a body that had a regular gathering.  Now I see that God is building me into a community of believers and the lunches, the coffees, the dinners and so on have all been places where God has used people to encourage, teach, edify, and change me. Are these not the real marks of being part of the Church?
  • My family CAN be part of my church family: I know this sounds ridiculous, but I had this idea in the back of my mind that it would be a cop-out to seek Christ-centered community with my (extended) physical family. For some reason it just didn’t seem difficult enough to build on present relationships as opposed to starting new ones with strangers. I know, I already said this was ridiculous. Since God has showed me that this makes no sense He has used many family members to work in my life, and I feel like we are all growing much closer as our relationships become more and more centered in Christ.
  • The Resurrection of Jesus is very important. I knew it was a big deal, but it is far more important than I ever realized. I’m fairly confident that Christ’s resurrection is the power and central message of the Gospel, and as I think about it more and more I realize how it is the hope that can strengthen us through all of our trials and struggles in life.
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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

9 responses to “Summer School

  • David King

    Hi Dan,
    Right on about the heart. The heart is always at the heart of every thought we have. The heart is the root of our sinfulness. We tend to be good at blaming others and shooting at big targets like the church. I appreciate your openness and honesty. You are man enough to own up to your faults…a wonderful grace. We all just need to wait on our sovereign God who always works it all out for our good and His glory…meaning time is cool, while we think, speak and act, God is working to change us and lead us to His plan. It just gets better and better.

  • Marshall

    it would be difficult to fully separate cause and effect within the wide & time-extended scale of “institutional church”.
    When generations pass through an effect, they may be brought-along to living it as it becomes their cause.
    Though many have been victimized in various religious systems, they (we) are not truly victims any longer: Christ has lifted us out and restored us.
    Both “community” and “gathering” are [good] effect, not to proxy our cause: Christ.
    Human family ideally functions enthralled & encompassed by Christ — all of Him, Head to sandals.

  • Fred

    I think you and I have been learning from the same Teacher. 🙂

  • Alan Knox

    What a great journey! I wonder where it will lead…

    -Alan

  • Jason

    Great post, awesome things, seems like Christ is being formed in you, rather than organic church, may we all follow your lead as you imitate Christ.

  • Dan Allen

    Thanks for all the encouraging comments on this post! I am amazed at how God is constantly changing me, especially since my original goal was to change everyone else! I think I am suffering from a bit of plank eye syndrome: I was far too focused on what everyone else was doing wrong when I obviously need to be looking at my own need to change! Thanks again!

    Dan

  • Good Things to Learn | The Assembling of the Church

    […] friend Dan at “The Ekklesia in Southern Maine” has written a great post called “Summer School.” In this post, he writes about things that he’s learned about the church and community […]

  • danny

    Hey Dan,
    This is Dan 🙂

    I agree with you Family CAN be a part of the church family. And it does seem ridiculous to have to put it that way but I can relate to your feelings. In the past my family has actually been accused of being a cult because of our intimacy. We were, however, merely being the church family.

    I think you know I recently moved back near my parents (God’s leading) and it has been wonderful! We are the church family. And we are looking for others who want to try, with us, to act like the church family.

    Praise the lord for the wonderful things he is doing in your and our lives.

  • Dan Allen

    Dan

    Glad to hear things are going well for you! It is a wonderful thing to be able to grow and mature with other members of our physical families! I wish I had only seen this earlier! Thanks for the comment.

    Dan

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