I've been reading PAGAN Christianity - a book by Frank Viola and George Barna - a great read on the origins of most of our western church practices... if you are stuck in normal church structures (the need for a building, a service on sunday, a message by a 'pastor' an ordained clergy etc..) this book is an important read...
read a review at the Ooze:
Basically the authors are making three points:
1) A great deal of what we do in church today does not come from the New Testament.
2) Much of what is practiced originated out of Greco-Roman customs and traditions (paganism, not Judaism), and/or human-made inventions.
3) Many of these practices actually hinder the church from being what God designed her to be.
The over-arching question the authors seem to be asking is: Do the practices of modern institutional churches reflect a God-ordained/inspired development, or are they a departure from it?
For many years I've been confused (not to mention bored) by the practices of 'the church' compared to the New Testament account of how Christianity was practiced and spread... if you are needing a refresher on why those practices are lacking in creating a revolution I'd suggest a read of this book for a start.
I've also been thinking about some changes in the salvation army in the last 50 years... our meetings used to culminate and focus on 'the mercy seat' - the place where we ENCOUNTERED God.. the best means to encourage people towards this was not through a long sermon (read William Booth's How To Preach for details) but through TESTIMONIES of people who had ENCOUNTERED GOD... participation, participation - transaction and the like... don't get me started on the 'special and ordained' priesthood of 'officership' that somehow took the responsibility of the 'church or corps' over from the soldiery... I mean it's crazy... somehow the disappearance of the mercy seat and the emerging of the 'pulpit as the centre' etc.. has transformed us into well a pagan church basically. It's a bit nuts.
Who knows, maybe we'll break it down into bloggable sections for you over the next few days.
Turns out luck isn't the only thing for pagans...