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Culturally Relevant & Contemporary


BeachOfEden
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I positively consider myself a Progressive Christian..but I don;t not belong to nor attend any church. I am 35 years old and I enjoy the beach culture. I also like and enjoy the sound of contemporary sounding Christian rock. The mega popular Evangelical churches offer good contemporary Christian rock and they are very good about being culturally relavent towards the youth cultures..such as surfers and all...However, as we as Progressives know....along with the great sounding contemporay Christian rock and the great speakers they have like Greg Laurie..the problem is you also get a a very fundamental right winged dash of old time sexism as well and a dash of oldtime hellfire or "Left behind" threats...all of which I reject.

 

I have found United Methodists and Disciples of Christ church closest to matching my own social justice views...but I don;t care for their services because they are boring and they are not very into the contemporary sound. Another thing I find concerning with the Progressive Christian churches is like how I said they have no culturally relavent programs. For example there are no Progressive Christian Surfers groups,ect.

 

I really wish Progresive churches would make more of an effort to become cultually relavent and contemporary in nature. What do you think?

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Hi!

 

I share your sentiments, which is why I am not a member of any church at this juncture in time.

 

I have found in "The Course In Miracles" a satisfactory, if not singular, source of sacred commentary to explore. There is a community here in Denver which approaches a "Church" in intention but so far has not interested me. I do participate in a study group by audio tape and find it useful. You may look into this source of shared dialogue by contacting the Miracle Distribution Center on line at <Miracledistributioncenter.org>.

 

And there is Wayne Dyer on PBS.

 

Jeep

Edited by jeep
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What I maily do is subscribe to a number of different christian newsletters in the mail. One I like is called, "Earth Letter", and it is ran by a collective group of eco-minded Progressive Christians in Seattle WA. Their group is called Earth Ministry and they write things about nature which Scriptures. The other is not a Progressive group, they are Evangelical, I guess but they have a newsletter called, "Wisdom & Power", and they are Abraham Faith church of God, also called Open Bible Church of Pomona. They are offically Progressive, however, they DO have female pastors, I hear, and they do not believe that Christ will burn up the earth one day, both of which I find agreeable.

 

But..I feel that one of the main reasons that Progressive Christian churches are declining and Evangelical ones are growing more popular is that while Progressive churches are liberal in their social justices views..they seem by large to show very little interest at all in being culturally contemporary or trying to compete with the Evangelical churches "Seeker-Senstive" outreach programs. I wish I could chat about this with the United Methodist Church here in Ventura where i live or even Santa Barbara..but I feel that it would be a wast of time. I think the majority of congergation members are old liberals who those liberal like the old style and they really are not interested in trying to attract the youth..and so sadly, the 12 to age 35 crowds flock to the contemporary but very dangerously narrow-minded and fear-laced Evangelical churches. Their the youth learn to make Christianity hip and unboring..but they also slowly learned to be judgemental and to view as non-Fundamentalists as "Cults" that are doomed and unsaved.

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Hi Beach of Eden--

 

Are there any United Church of Christ or progressive Episcopalian churches in your area? (I guess Disciples of Christ is similar to UCC). Don't know if they would have any contemporary culture to offer, but they might be worth a try.

 

I second your observations about youth being attracted to churches that seem to have the culture down but are more conservative-evangelical in theology and approach. I'm a Catholic who goes to progressive (although not officially progressive) Catholic churches and sometimes UCC and Episcopalian churches. The "liberal" crowd seems to be older. I have seen a few very cool Catholic churches that offer various kinds of masses (rock, folk, gospel, and hip-hop youth choirs), but they can't announce themselves as being "open and affirming" even if they are in spirit.

 

I don't have any suggestions, just wanted to share the frustration.

 

Regards,

curlytop

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I'm sorry to hear about the lack of hip and rockin' UM Churches in your area. The UM church that I serve has a traditional service (complete with handbells even) and a darned good contemporary service with the best praise band I've ever seen.

They bravely sing Christian songs as well as secular songs that fit our worship themes. I'd say write some emails or letters to some of your area UM churches and share with them EXACTLY what you stated in your original post.

I'd like to think that at least one church would respond to your important call to action.

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I tired the Ventura United Methodist church about 2 years ago Easter. They just started trying to have contemporary service. It was not good and the speaker was not good at speaking and they'd played off key. I tried the Ventura First christian Church and it was not as bad as UM..but it was not very good either. No, it is not because I think either of these are "Too" liberal for my tast. It's just the non-Progressive non-denominational Evangelical church of my friends and it's called Bible Fellowship Church and it is ran better. It has great contemporary music and their Pastor knows how to speak without boring people to death and he has a sense of humor...But again, this church while contemporary is NOT progressive and thus they do not share my social justice views. What I really wish is that their was a church with the music and good speaking style of Bible Fellowship Church but with United Methodist/ Disciples of Christ Progressive views on social justice. But the MU church and DOC church of Ventura is very boring. Their speakers are boring.

 

If anyone knows of some good Progressive churches in Santa Barbara then maybe I'd check that out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Friends,

It sounds to me like what you are looking for in church is merely entertainment. You can find that on the television, radio, books and other forms of media. If you go just to be entertained, it is no wonder you are disgruntled with it. If I went to a rock concert to learn how the soldiers were doing in Iraq, I would be disgruntled as well. However, the purpose of attending church is to worship, not for entertainment. We attend church in order to meet the Creator and to offer Him praise from the heart and to learn what His word teaches. I would encourage you to return to church, a good Scripturally sound church, for the purpose of meeting God, and see if your outlook changes.

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I believe you misunderstood me. I was not saying that church was intended to be painful. I truly enjoy going to church. I don't find it boring at all. I, myself, have a great time. What I am saying is that if you go for the purpose of meeting the Lord and serving Him then you are more likely to enjoy the service.

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When Jesus spoke to the people he used interesting examples to make his points to maintain people's attention. Many churches do not have good speakers and my expeirnce has been that when this is the case in fundamental churches, and people comment that their church services are boring, the church tries to shame the congergation by telling them that it is their fault that church seems boring to them...when in realityit is because the church itself does not have good speakers and their music is terrible. It's more easy for those running the church to simply place the blaim on the congeration then for them to have make changes.

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Yeah, same with me,Aletheia. I have never been DF-ed in JW..or never even reproved. I just simply and silently walked away from the organization/attending the KHall in 1996.

 

"Did you used to attend a JW congregation or were you a JW?"

 

Like many, I did attend that KHall to make my perents happy. You know how it is...JW's, like Evangelical protestnats get obsessed with "Gathering together as you see the end drawing near-" concept...in other words...HAVING to attend 'their' church to get and remain saved...Which is kinda ironic, especially when you consider how both JW's and Evangelicals are constantly stating that, "One can NOT EARN their salvation with good works."

 

There were many things that struck me as not right with JW's. First and foremost I got this book written by a Progressive Christian pastor of a Disciples of Christ in seattle named John Temple Bristow. He wrote this book intitled, "What Paul Really said About Women." This book, to me, PROVED that at least '3' women WERE NOT just "helpers" but WERE "ELDERS" who served SIDE by side WITH Paul as equals and yet JW's like Southern Baptists, deny women from teaching the congeration as elders or pastors.

 

This was a turning point for me becuase over my 26 years years being in JW I had seen MANY marriages in which the husbands were sexist and verbally abusive to their wives. Also, while I DO feel it IS correct that JW's teach the conditional rather than fundamental version of hell and also i agree with the belief in this earth being restored..I do NOT agree with the JW's twist to it where paradise is a place ONLY for those who agree with "The JW Organization."

 

I also deteast their Pentacostal-like formal dress codes..as well as their terrible old fashioned hymns. Also and very important is that i felt their obessive force on looking to "The organization" as the channel to jehovah was very unhealthy and cult-like and very opposite of 1 Timothy 2:5..which says that christ is our ONLY meditor to God.

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