Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

Archive for October, 2008

The Shack

I recently finished the bestselling book, The Shack (by Wm. Paul Young, published by Windblown Media, Newbury Park, CA.)

I encourage you to read it. I’m so glad I did. But …

I didn’t read it for instruction in theology, or to build on my theological foundation. I read the book for pure enjoyment, and enjoy it I did.

Without giving away the plot, I came away from my own “Shack experience” with a better understanding of myself; how I’ve tended to live with fear and weighed down by guilt. Young spoke my heart language.

If you want a peek into someone’s (Young’s) imaginative perception of God, The Shack is a good book for you.

One more thing. It’s not an “easy read” if you want to savor Young’s imagery. Take your time.

And … after you read the book, send your comments to me, or if you’ve already read it, I’d love to hear from you. You’ll make me work hard if I have to edit out any comments that contain references to the content of the book, but I’ll do that for the benefit of those who haven’t read it yet.

While you read …

Think!

When Is A Church Too Big?

I opened the Editorial Page in my local paper – The Richmond Times-Dispatch – and read the following opinion.  Since I’m attending a large (mega) church, I was fascinated with the perspective of the writer.  The title of the Op/Ed is “All Size.”  Think about it.

“A new study has documented what many parishioners at megachurches already knew: Such houses of worship are neither cold nor impersonal, and can offer as much community as many smaller churches do, if not more.

“Those findings help explain the explosive growth of megachurches, which — according to another newly released survey — shows no signs of abating. Other factors might be at work, too. Megachurches are not doctrinally narrow or rigid, but they are clear about certain points of dispute. In anage when many mainline churches have drifted toward cultural relativism and liberal theology, 92 percent of megachurch members believe hell is a real place, and four out of five believe the Rapture really is coming.

“Most megachurches work hard to create intimacy within the congregation by offering dozens, if not hundreds, of small groups that focus on everything from Christ-centered personal finances to motorcycle riding. (That might help explain why the megachurch member is more likely to have friends in the congregation than the member of a traditional church.) The churches often grow by attracting people who come for the community — and stay for the communion.

“Megachurches have their critics, who point out (often with some justification) the emphasis on worldly issues rather than otherworldly reverence. But megachurches clearly have found a formula that draws many who otherwise might spend Sunday morning on the golf course. Based on our limited understanding of the Scriptures, the Final Arbiter will be pleased if more people come to Him — no matter which route they take.”

I agree with the writer.  Large churches have some down sides, but there are a slew of ups.  I’m not suggesting anyone abandon their small(er) church for a larger one – NO, no, no.  Not for a minute.  What I am saying is, let’s stop the criticism of larger churches – and the comparing, competitive spirit in the criticisms – and let’s get on with “being the Church.”  United.  Loving.  And humble.