Catacomb Resident Blog

More Like That

05 June 2022

What do you associate with worship? Does it require an extravaganza of multimedia entertainment for you to feel like you had a church meeting? Does it require careful timing and synchronization of various staff members? Is it the goal of your church to become big enough to need all that stuff?

Over and over again: The whole purpose of a church is to get better at loving one another. That's it; that's the whole thing. Corporate worship does not happen with people you don't know. Think about the meaning of that term "corporate worship" -- it means together with other people. It means being one body in Christ. You cannot be "corporate" without something that links you all, something more than nearness of time and space.

The New Testament simply took off on the synagogue of the previous age. The whole point of a synagogue was to strengthen the local community in service to Jehovah, to call the folks together for divine purposes, folks who were already relatives in one sense or another. It was to bring everyone together to focus on what gave them their identity.

Maybe you've heard the old pun: "Seven days without the Lord makes one week/weak." The emphasis was on meeting with God, but the method was to be with each other as people of God.

So, if you are of white European extraction, that's a real challenge. Our instincts and wiring have evolved to be atomized into nuclear families. For us, "church" is rather formal. Even when it's hard-core charismatic, it's still organized formally, not like one big happy family. Charismatics get the "happy" part okay, but white American church is a very, very long way from what Jesus and the Apostles were talking about. There's not a lot of "bearing with one another" along with the "fear and trembling" about your own weaknesses.

We don't know how to develop and exercise dominion in context, but always seek to crystallize dominion in ways the New Testament people did not. Yes, there will always be recognized leaders, but we seek to include way too many qualifications that are not included in the Bible, so that our leaders are obliged to be fake. We have a very bad cultural inclination to force our leaders into a one-size-fits-all position. You don't have to be good at everything to lead a family; a real father has to work around his weaknesses.

The myth of the Great Man is an awful burden to bear. There's a good reason the Lord divided leadership between two men, the priestly and elder figures. It reminds us that no man is great enough to do it all. And those we have will be flawed.

This instinct for having only one congregational leader is a bad thing we must overcome. It's a serious flaw, not an advantage. In the snowy north lands where survival meant spreading out and every man being able to do it all for himself and his little family, where having too large of a household meant going hungry because resources were spread thin, that instinct served a survival purpose. But it was a purpose based on pagan assumptions, as the evolution of white northerners was outside the gospel.

People in that setting developed a strong preference for dour isolation; they don't really like being around other people that much. And when they do meet together, they prefer to keep a social distance, so they formalized everything to prevent having to really know each other. The northern white races don't care much for social intimacy. Well, that's a serious flaw in white culture, because it goes against what Our Savior taught. We have to work hard on that, and seek the miraculous power of God to overcome it.

I can testify that the Holy Spirit is able to work that way within us. When you give Him room to operate in your soul, He will create a longing to be with others of like faith. You should want to live in each other's armpits, to know each other very well. Don't look for people of "like faith" in terms of similar religious habits, but a common faith in the sense of a true commitment to breathing life into the gospel message. You have to know each other the way close kin do in order to properly bear with one another.

May the Lord heal our moral wounds.

Stop catering to the flesh. Start bending the flesh to the will of God. Learn that "church" means family, and that God is not free to bless you unless you become more like the people He called first, at least in that one issue. The one thing Jews get right is their depth of commitment to each other. We need to be more like that.

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