My beef with Lee Strobel and the Modern Church

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I was just telling Eric the other day how much I dislike visiting churches–the contemporary, come-as-you-are style Christian church.  You end up leaving with an invite to a newcomers barbeque and “free gift” on your way out.  Not the “free gift” of accepting-Jesus-Christ-as-my-personal-savior-gift…an actual gift.  Usually a Lee Strobel book and a worship cd by the praise band.  We actually went to a church in VA last year where we were approached by the greeters who offered us a free gift for visiting.  I didn’t mean to be a smart ass, but I replied, “Is it a Lee Strobel book?”  The woman replied, “Why, yes!  It is!  How did you know?”

I know these things because we used to be on leadership at our church in Ithaca, NY.  We made the coffee and stuffed the newcomers baggies with The Case for Faith.  We ate bagels, picked the carpet color in our new building, and attended meetings to discuss how we could reach out to our community.

It looked a little bit like this video that was just posted on facebook about if Starbucks was run like a church.  If you’re a Christian, please watch it, and laugh at yourself.  If you’re not a Christian, just laugh.

Eric and I have changed our perspective on the concept of church since then and our tastes are radically different…due to some church implosion…its a long story.  Unfortunately for us, moving further south decreased the likelihood of finding a more free-form organic church (dare I say liberal?) group.  Its hard to find a group that’s as rough around the edges as ourselves in the formal church setting.  Notice I used the term “smart ass” in a previous paragraph.  Oh, shit.  I did it again.  And as much as I detest much of Christian culture, I still pine for Ithaca and what we had before everything went bad.

We did find an amazing Christian group in the DC area (you know who you are) made up entirely of church refugees like us.  A unique group of young poets, artists, writers and their familes were exactly what we needed to remember there are people like us nearby.  Even so, it has been a challenge finding more people who live less than 45 minutes away from us (see Still Starting Over).

So here we are…debating on whether to walk into another church.  Still investing in our artsy church group, but needing some additional support closer to home.  Not looking for the place of church, but what church was always meant to be: the people.  Here’s to starting over, and the planting roots.  And to me not being a Smart Ass.  Cheers!

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