Don Miller is right but I still disagree about church.

In 2003, I read “Blue Like Jazz,” the book that has become somewhat of a classic among disenfranchised evangelicals. It was my first encounter with Don Miller. Since then, Miller has written extensively and gone from fringe to popular culture, from Portland Pubs to Catalyst stage.
I’ve always admired his candor. I’ve given away many copies of Blue Like Jazz and at times made it required reading for staff. I preface all this because I’m a BIG Don Miller fan.

Recently, he wrote a blog post that got quite a lot of traction online. (Read it here.) He basically spoke of not attending church much, but communing with God in nature.

As usual, I resonate with the feeling. I increasingly am finding it hard to connect with God through singing. I’ve written about why I think the word worship is wrongly associated with singing. (another post).  The things that I enjoy about going to church, even the extended times of praise, times of corporate and personal prayer times “at the altar”- if you know what that is- are being swallowed by 3 kids sometimes in 3 different ministry areas who need to be picked up and corralled. The sermons are sometimes engaging, sometimes, well, sort of repetitive.

There are 3 main issues I have with Miller’s thoughtful post, 1 practical and 2 theological.

1. Miller claims that he and other influential Christian leaders he know don’t regularly attend church. I’ll bet that those he is hanging out with are much like him. Either newly married or unmarried, and certainly don’t have kids they are trying to raise in the faith.

I do daily devotions with my kids. We try to instill in them our faith. But the local church has been a lifeline in that effort. We don’t pass the responsibility off to their teachers and the curriculum. But in the mammoth job of raising children to know and understand Jesus, some help along the way is critical. It’s why we’ve begun going to a Sunday night prayer service with the whole family. My kids need the community of faith and the lessons that come from being in those large and small gatherings.

I would love to commune with God and my fishing rod on Sunday mornings. Or engage with the spiritual majesty of the wonder of God in nature. But I’ve got 3 kids. And they will connect with God that way too. Consistently though, I want them having solid voices of other adults in their lives, helping lead them along the path to faith in Christ. Miller does great work with fatherless. he sounds like he’d be an awesome teacher for 5th grade boys. I know my 5th grade teacher touched my life.

2. The biggest problem I have with Miller’s statement is that same problem I have with the language that has unconsciously taken over the Christian movement worldwide. In current streams, we
*go to church
*join a church
*leave a church
*build a church
So you either are “in church” or you are “out of church.” You attend church or you don’t currently attend.
Which is a totally unbiblical way of looking at the issue. You cannot attend church. You are the church. The “ecclesia,” the community of faith in Christ, is what the movement is. Church is a group of followers of Christ together.
Don Miller can stop going to a certain expression of the local gathering. But anytime he and other believers get together, he is “going to church.” My fear with those who are not intentionally engaged in real community is that we can hide so easily and celebrate so little.

Finally, my last thought based on having lived in cultures that don’t have a similar worldview. But Miller’s approach is perhaps for the mature believer. It is also dangerous, because it borders on pantheism, that God is everywhere and in everything, at the same time and in the same way. Which, I know Miller doesn’t endorse. (BTW, I really wish I could call him Don, but I don’t know him as a friend, though I think he’d be a guy I got along well with.) God is known by nature, but that is more what theologians call “general revelation.” God reveals himself specifically in his word, and through his people. I don’t know much about God, but I am learning. And if I’m honest, I learn most from other people. Often when I’m serving.

The first time I read Blue Like Jazz, I wasn’t sure where Don Miller was on his faith journey. Yet still i resonated deeply with his writing. I still do. I’ll just take a wait and see, when maybe he’s had kids for a few years. And if he’d give me the chance, I’d like to be his friend. And together, we’d BE the church at that place in that moment.

let me know what you think over on our FB page.

Give us a like on FB and comment.
Lifecartography.jpg

82 thoughts on “Don Miller is right but I still disagree about church.”

  1. Howdy would you mind letting me know which webhost
    you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different
    internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
    Can you recommend a good web hosting provider at a honest price?

    Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  2. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading?

    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through
    this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  4. “I haven’t seen you in these parts,” the barkeep said, sidling during to where I sat. “Personage’s Bao.” He stated it exuberantly, as if say of his exploits were shared by way of settlers around multitudinous a firing in Aeternum.

    He waved to a unimpassioned tun apart from us, and I returned his token with a nod. He filled a telescope and slid it to me across the stained red wood of the court before continuing.

    “As a betting chains, I’d be delighted to wager a fair speck of coin you’re in Ebonscale Reach for the purpose more than the carouse and sights,” he said, eyes glancing from the sword sheathed on my cool to the capitulate slung across my back.

    https://images.google.sr/url?q=https://renewworld.ru/otlichie-new-world-versii-deluxe-i-standart-edition/

  5. Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too fantastic.
    I really like what you have acquired here, really like
    what you’re saying and the way in which you say it.

    You make it enjoyable and you still take care of
    to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to read far more from you.
    This is actually a terrific site.

  6. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
    this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will
    try to get the hang of it! cheap flights http://1704milesapart.tumblr.com/ cheap flights

  7. You’re so awesome! I do not think I’ve truly read through anything
    like this before. So nice to discover someone with some genuine thoughts on this issue.
    Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This site is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a
    little originality! quest bars http://bit.ly/3jZgEA2 quest bars

  8. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you
    get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you
    can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any assistance is very much appreciated.
    ps4 https://j.mp/3z5HwTp ps4 games

  9. Hey there! I understand this is somewhat off-topic but
    I needed to ask. Does operating a well-established blog such as yours require a massive amount work?
    I’m brand new to running a blog but I do write in my diary daily.
    I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my own experience and views online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring
    bloggers. Appreciate it! quest bars https://www.iherb.com/search?kw=quest%20bars quest bars

  10. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have developed some nice methods
    and we are looking to exchange strategies with others, be sure to shoot me an email if interested.

  11. I am no longer positive the place you are getting
    your information, however good topic. I must spend some time
    studying more or understanding more. Thanks for
    great info I was looking for this info for
    my mission.

  12. Hello there! This article couldn’t be written any better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept preaching about this. I am going to send
    this post to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have
    a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.