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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Friday, April 13, 2007
Everyone Wants To Fix The Church.
Every now and again, a sense of jealousy rises up in my heart - not over my wife, but rather over the church. I burn with jealousy to see her wooed by (and flirting with) the world and its wisdom and ways.

There is a wonderfully poetic quote that I can't quite remember (and I haven't been able to Google with any success) that, roughly paraphrased, goes like this:
One man looks and sees a pile of stone, but another sees a church.
I am not really capturing the thrust of the original quote - because upon reading it the first time I was struck with that kind of awe you get when a thing is "well said" - what struck me when I read the real quote (I mention it now because my awkward paraphrase doesn't capture the sense) was that the first person couldn't comprehend the fine masonry and intricate stonework as anything more than a pile of stone. He was correct of course - this ornate structure was a pile of stone - but the other was able to "make sense of it" and see that this pile of stone was in fact a magnificent cathedral.

Remember the Market, er, I mean the Trend, er, I mean the Purpose Driven Church? Remember the prayer of Jabez? How about the New Perspective on Paul? What about the emerging church? Everyone wants to tell us how to "do church" better.

We could discuss the various merits and obvious flaws of the existing methodologies, approaches, philosophies and whatnot - and I sure others are doing that somewhere even as I type this - but frankly, it is a pointless pursuit. In ten years there will be another half dozen or more "better" strategies for building, fixing, motivating, improving or otherwise repairing the existing church - and as many (and likely more) in the decade after that and so on ad nauseum.

Everyone seems convinced that the church is not what it should be - but everyone seems to have a different spin on what "what it should be" is.

I think we could examine every new "solution" with scrutiny to see if this is the "one" final solution - or, if we are like many - perhaps we will simply take a little "good" from here, and a little "good" from there and sew them into our Christian practicum like so many patches on a patchwork quilt. Eventually we may arrive at something that is closer to "the true church" (cue the "holy reverence" background music) - and since that seems to be a good thing to do, and since it is clearly better than nothing - why knock it?

Well, I will knock it, because, as I said, I burn with jealousy on occasion, and since this is my blog, I can vent that jealousy and let the chips fall where they may.

The "problem" with the church is not that we aren't doing church right - it is that we aren't doing Christ right. No one can see the love of God flowing out of someone whose greatest love is themselves. Listen: a stubborn, unsurrendered heart looks to all the world to be just like any other worldly heart. How can someone who always resists the Holy Spirit expect the love of God to be seen in them? You waste your time when the best you do is approximate in practice what surrendering to Christ would look like if you were actually surrendered to Him. Let me tell you, an approximation looks fantastic on the outside - it can even look genuine and fool everyone around you - but it shows itself for what it is in this way - it has absolutely =no= spiritual power whatsoever.

I think it was an unsaved politician in India who once remarked that Christians make such extraordinary claims while living such ordinary lives.

That is just plain sad because, for the most part, it is stingingly accurate.

If you want to improve the church, start at the ground level - the fallow ground level. What the church needs is not a new plan, it needs surrendered saints. The problem isn't that we don't have the right method, it is that we don't have a right heart. There is no room and no provision for mediocrity in the church.

My plea this morning - and going into the weekend - is this: If you are in Christ and as you read this you are not absolutely surrendered to God - stop putting it off! Listen: God loves you and even if as you read this you are nursing your sin - trust in God's forgiveness and love and put away the sin - do that and God will give you grace, but don't just do it in your head - don't just say, "Dear God, I am a sinner, please forgive me - I will do better next time. Amen." - tell God the truth - "Dear God, I know I should love you and love pleasing you, but I have been telling myself that you don't love me because I am such a phony. I have been telling myself that you can't love me until I am a good person - I have been trying to make myself acceptable to you and in doing so I have demonstrated that I don't really believe Christ's death satisfied your wrath towards me - forgive me my unbelief, forgive me my lack of love - and grant me this - that I would trust in your love and in your Christ, and that in the strength of that trust I would walk not only in the coming moments but throughout the day, throughout my life. Cleanse me as you promised, I will turn from the unbelief that separates us, and ask only that you replace in me this unbelief with faith through your Holy Spirit's filling. Grant me the strength in grace to walk right before you. Amen" - or something like that.

I think that if we spent more time fixing Christians we would not be so preoccupied with trying to fix the church.

Labels: , ,

posted by Daniel @ 7:09 AM  
15 Comments:
  • At 10:31 AM, April 13, 2007, Blogger The Thunderer said…

    "I think that if we spent more time fixing Christians we would not be so preoccupied with trying to fix the church."
    I like that. Amen!

     
  • At 10:50 AM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Rileysowner said…

    Daniel, that was an excellent post. It is full of wonderfully phrases treasures that I will probably quote a time or two myself.

     
  • At 10:53 AM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Annette said…

    hi, new here. would you mind terribly if I wanted to clip and paste this post into our church newsletter? I'm always wanting to get people to THINK a bit deeper and I thought this post a good one.

     
  • At 11:07 AM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Thunderer - Hey welcome to the blog!

    Rileysowner - I am glad you were encouraged!

    Annette, welcome to the blog as well! Feel free to clip and paste.

     
  • At 11:37 AM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Even So... said…

    Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes...

    Fantastic post, friend, and yes, I completely and totally dig the turn of a phrase or two or three or more as you have done here. That seed quote sprung forth a rich harvest in you now, didn't it?

     
  • At 12:06 PM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Gayla said…

    Daniel, as ususal, you speak the truth, sir.

    "I think that if we spent more time fixing Christians we would not be so preoccupied with trying to fix the church."

    It stands to reason that if Christians were living biblically, the result of that would, indeed, be a fixed church.

    Daniel, what is the "New Perspectivae on Paul" of which you speak? I've not heard of this.

     
  • At 1:08 PM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    JD - usually I am not terribly adept at turning phrases, I must have saved up long enough to spout a few. ;-)

     
  • At 1:36 PM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Gayla - "New Perspectivism" or "New Perspective on Paul" began (more or less) when a fellow named Sanders wrote a book that suggested that everyone through-out the entire age of the church (not to mention modern Judaism) has misunderstood the way in which a 1st century Jew believed he was justified. Sanders suggested that Jews in Paul's day did not believe that you earned salvation by keeping the law (as has been historically taught), but rather that such works were a sign of being in the covenant.

    Sanders thesis, which was later picked up on and modified somewhat by N.T. Wright and the like, eventually denies imputed righteousness and erodes the doctrine of justification by faith.

    I am no expert in it however.

     
  • At 2:18 PM, April 13, 2007, Anonymous Margie said…

    Amen

     
  • At 2:23 PM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Happy Belated Margie! (if you are JD's Margie that is... otherwise, I guess that wouldn't make much sense...)

     
  • At 3:46 PM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Faith said…

    Daniel, that was a very pricking post...right to the root of my heart.

    Thanks for keeping it honest!

     
  • At 5:01 PM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Gayla said…

    Daniel, thank you for expounding and thanks also for the link. :)

     
  • At 8:16 PM, April 13, 2007, Anonymous Margie said…

    I am, and thank you!

     
  • At 1:02 AM, April 14, 2007, Blogger danny wright said…

    I read a very similar post at:

    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2007/04/emerging-orthodoxy-t-he-title-caught.html

    Sorry, I don't know how to put this link into one word like "here", but it’s a very similar post from a pastor.

    Do you think that there’s a new passion for his church being experienced by the Body of Christ? I think so because there's a new feel to the complaints. Even the world knows the church is a mess, and there's no shortage of people within and without to slam it, but I'm hearing also a brokenness of heart from people that love the church. They have no lofty plans of how to "fix" it, but as you said realize that without examining their own hearts, they will never be able to go beyond being just another critic. I personally am beginning to feel a little ashamed of myself for my accusations toward his beautiful bride, and am realizing that I have not been a good and healthy part of the body in terms of prayer and commitment, and have no right to hurl accusations at anyone except myself.

    First visit here, I admire your ability to write, great post.

     
  • At 6:07 PM, April 14, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Danny - that was an excellent article thanks for posting the link and welcome to the blog.

     
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