October 23, 2017

Signs You Might Be Practicing Churchianity (1)

By Chaplain Mike

There are plenty of funny church signs out there. I thought we’d begin to look around for signs that communicate something different—the possibility that a church might be advertising “mere churchianity” rather than a Jesus-shaped life.

Note the key words—“might be.” When I show you a church sign like the one below, you can be sure that I probably don’t know the church, its pastor, or the kind of spiritual formation it promotes. I’m not trying to pass judgment on them. I am trying to say that some of the things we say as Christians, and the way we say those things, may be sending messages of which we are not aware.

So . . . the interesting thing about this series will be . . . you get to decide. Churchianity or not? A potentially confusing message, or one that clearly points to Jesus?

Here we go.

Comments

  1. God wants to be lord of your life every day. Not just Lord on Sunday mornings? – This is not a mere churchianty message IMHO.

    However, if this really means the church wants you here every night of the week….. that’s a different story.

    • VolAlongTheWatchTower says:

      I….hate…HATE…Church…signs.
      They should be smashed, burned and the Earth salted where they lay. ZERO use other than service time and turning people off or drawing scorn and derision, I HATE ‘EM. They’re the only thing worse than skits and childrens’ time. You guessed it, I was raised Methodist.

  2. Denise Spencer says:

    If our lives are Jesus-shaped, it will affect every area of our day-to-day walk. Mere churchianity would be thinking that Sunday morning attendance (maybe Sunday night and Wednesday evening, too!) is what it takes to please God. So I’m going to say this one’s OK….unless “full custody” means “Come to our Monday night committee meeting and our Tuesday night mission study and our Wednesday night prayer meeting and our Thursday night Bible study and our Friday night planning meeting and our Saturday visitation–” in which case the church would gain custody, not God! But I’ll give these good folks the benefit of the doubt. 🙂 Thanks, Mike. This is fun!

    • Agree. Harmless and positive at fist sight . . . but got to know the practical intentions. Do they say God but mean church (small c) or do they really mean God? If they really mean God, then a great meaning.

      (btw you’re still on my mind and heart)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I think whoever was in charge of this church sign ran out of things to say and got either punchy or too clever. i.e. “One church sign slogan too many…”

      (One church sign I remember from when I was a kid read “Far from God? Who moved?”)

  3. I gotta vote in favor of the sign. It’s cute, harmless and moderately clever and makes a valid point about a person needing to reflect on Gd in daily life not just Sunday. That’s what i got from it anyway. Not Churchianity.

  4. I gotta agree with the other commenters! I don’t think this is churchianity! However, while I think the hearts in the right place, I think the thought could have been better expressed with a different choice of metaphors/words.

  5. Dan Allison says:

    I like this one and don’t think it reflects churchianity. Reminds me of Ian Anderson’s great line, “He’s not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.”

    • Did he say it perched on one leg?

    • Christopher Lake says:

      Love, love, love that album. As a bookish pre-adolescent in the early ’80s, my heavy-metal friends thought I was very strange for liking a rock band with a lead vocalist who played flute. For a while, I let myself feel ashamed of my love for Jethro Tull (male peer pressure and such), but inside, I still that knew Ian Anderson was one smart, rockin’ guy. 🙂

  6. I am against most snarky signs–this one included.

    But the message is a challenge to give God your whole life, not just Sunday. I would say it’s not churchianity. It’s an ineffective way of engaging our culture missionally, perhaps it’s even an exercise in passive aggression, but it’s not churchianity.

  7. I like it.

  8. Churchianity. They are subtley laying a guilt trip on people. As if we can give God full custody of our lives. This is the message that drives people to despair. Strive for perfection (full custody), but know that you can never achieve it.

  9. david carlson says:

    Kind of depends on the church – either an encouragement to be all in, or a posting from the Borg.

    I vote Mild Churchianity, but not to oppresive. I am with Denise – they get a pass

  10. Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

    Something about it bothers me. I’m not sure if it’s the cliche or the condescension. I’m not sure if that makes it churchianity, but I don’t like it.

    • I agree with you and I think I know what it is that bothers me. As one who is called to minister to children and their families, I know that there is nothing funny or clever about custody issues. While I certainly don’t want to be the Church Lady who takes everything waaay too seriously and get “offended” at the the drop of a hat…this one rubs me the wrong way.

      Right now I’m picturing the faces of several children in our ministry who have had to deal, in the past year, with the pain of their parents’ divorce and/or separation. The thought of any of them seeing such a “clever” sign….makes me want to cry.

  11. Its law and God makes this demand throughout the old testament.

    Its Gods demands not his gift, the gospel (Christ on the cross for me).

    Despite Gods laws/demands being holy and perfect they are rejected by our sinful natures.

    This sign is stating a law, what God demands of us, without showing Gods gift to fulfill it (the gospel).

    Its a confusion of the law/gospel distinctive.

    • Much like churches and establishments that post the ten commandments as if they are particularly Christian…

      I agree, it’s law. It’s also cheesy. Unfortunately many of the Gospel church signs I’ve seen are cheesy, but hey, who am I to judge the package? All in all, I think I’m just against church marquee’s altogether.

      NatE

  12. I don’t like church signs in general, but I have to agree with the other commenters–this one’s message is a good one, on the surface. So many churchgoers think that going to church on Sundays, and then not thinking about God for the rest of the week, is fine. God wants us every day. What’s churchianity about that?

    I, too, give this one the benefit of the doubt.

  13. Since the sign does not suggest that full-time custody involves Wednesday night prayer meeting, Thursday night AWANA, and Saturday brunch women’s Bible study, I think we’re safe.

  14. If “full custody” means spending every evening at a church meeting, rather than just showing up Sunday morning, then it is definitely churchianity.

    If it means giving your life 100% to Jesus, then it is just more revivalism/pietism. It is likely that their teaching has been influenced by Phoebe Palmer and Charles Finney. It also sounds like purpose-driven living: Jesus is sad because you are not fully committed and purpose driven; if you want to put a smile on his face, you need to try harder.

  15. I like it. It’s true, quick, easy, and most of all memorable.

    Anyone out there who dislikes this sign can at least agree with my first sentence above.

    Anyways, church signs are not supposed to be too deep, and if they where do you think anyone would remember it? And what if they where too long, do you think anyone would bother to read it? They are meant to be easy, thought provoking signs that can be read from your vehicle while driving by. (Usually at a good rate of speed.)

    The more I think about this iMonk article the less I like it and the less I believe we can benefit from it… (I’m just sayin’…)

  16. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with this one.

    God, Heavenly Father, is a full-time, always attentive, father.

  17. Don’t like church signs. IMO, they all smack of churchianity. Jesus was so personal; these signs just look tacky. Sorry.

  18. Christopher Lake says:

    What I think of this sign depends on what the people who came up with it *mean*. If they mean, “God wants full custody, and that entails burning yourself out in exhaustive over-commitment to our church,” then I see that as “churchianity,” and I abhor it.

    If they mean, “God wants every part of your life to be lived in relation to Him, in a thoughtful, loving sense, but not a legalistic, bondage-like one, including your possible involvement at this church,” then I think it’s a great message.

  19. It gives the impression that God is a divorcee petitioning for visitation rights. It’s the picture of Jesus knocking at the door, begging to come in. It gives a weak impression of God. That could also make it a message of churchianity: poor God needs the church to stand up for him. It exemplifies what drove me crazy about the Calvinist-Armenian debate; one had to choose between a monstorous, deterministic diety versus a limp-wristed, powerless one.

  20. Is it just me, or does the sign presuppose that everyone who sees it will have a dysfunctional family (or at least identify with the atrociously mistaken idea of family that is common in America today)? The family of God ought to be above things like legal battles, and it’s upsetting to see a church ASSUME that divorce and custody battles are the norm. Regardless of statistics, I think every broken home should be treated as – in the most charitable sense – an aberration: this is not the way it’s supposed to be. Whether it’s an attention-getter or not, I don’t think the sign does a good job of representing Christian values.

    Also, who is God taking custody of us from? Is there another, equal, progenitor? Ransoming someone back from terrorists might be a more accurate metaphor for redemption than a custody battle.

    By the way, my favorite church sign: “This Morning’s Message: Jesus Walks on Water. Evening Bible Study: Where is Jesus?”

    • Or the joke about some alleged church sign (or message in the parish newsletter/weekly bulletin, take your pick) about the return of the minister after an illness, where under the usual heading of “God is good”, the news for the week was “Pastor Smith is better”.

      🙂

      God bless ’em, the idea is good but the execution is lacking.

    • I was thinking the same, Kate.

  21. Christopher Lake says:

    When I read this sign, I don’t take it as a one-to-one analogy, so it doesn’t make me think of divorce, children, etc in relation to God. If I actually were divorced, I might see it differently. My perspective may also come from having majored in English in college and being very comfortable with imperfect analogies and symbolic language.

  22. The sign is true.

    • The sign is true. However, it condemns as my previous post highlighted.

      To the non-believer, it says God demands your full heart, so step up to the plate and misses the most important message, that you cannot step up to the plate, and we are saved by Christ entirely by his free gift for us (the cross).

      To the believer, it points to what you must do to satisfy God.

      Instead to the believer and the non-believer, it does not talk about Gods solution to the problem, the cross of Christ.

      That sign is not good news. Have any of us kept its command? God provides the remedy for the demand in Christ. We and what we do are not the answer to the sign.

  23. Cheesy. But we’ve had worse at our church. The problem with any “clever” saying on a church sign is that it communicates to Christians, and unbelievers in your community; and these people usually don’t find the same things clever. I prefer to stick to useful rather than clever signs.
    This probably makes my opinion irrelevant on this one,

  24. Reliquarius says:

    I absolutely abhor church marquees. Cliches, platitudes, and cute little slogans eventually end up in the churchiantiy dump.

  25. Buford Hollis says:

    Dear God,

    What about what *I* want, huh? Why does it always have to be about you?

    You didn’t show up for any of your last visitations. You never call or send money. No wonder we’re divorced.

    • Christopher Lake says:

      Buford,

      It isn’t always about God. Believe me, I know life is hard. When I was nine years old, my mother committed suicide. I have Cerebral Palsy and use a wheelchair. I’m unemployed. I’m 37 and single. Life has not been a picnic. However, God also came down into this fallen world, in the person of Jesus, to die for your sins and my sins. If a person is willing to die for you, does that not show love? The death of the Father’s only Son for you?

      • Buford Hollis says:

        Well it wasn’t just for me, it was for everybody in the world, apparently. And I never wanted anybody to kill themselves (or their children). I don’t see the point of it, except as symbolism. Anyway he apparently got resurrected afterwards, so instead of sacrificing his life, it was more like one long weekend.

        My sympathies on your various hardships, by the way.

        • Buford Hollis said: “Anyway he apparently got resurrected afterwards, so instead of sacrificing his life, it was more like one long weekend.”

          Interesting!

          But I don’t even have a comment for that.

          • Buford Hollis says:

            Yeah, the J-Man is such a drama queen! But seriously, a weak point in theology has always been explaining what was so salvific about Christ’s death (and/or resurrection). The liturgical churches focus on the symbolism, and for the most part don’t try to make too much sense of it. Otherwise you have God having to kill his son (or commit suicide?) in order to circumvent rules that he made himself, or something, which is not only disturbing (you don’t want any real people doing that, do you?) but logically bizarre.

          • I have a similar problem with communion (eucharist, Lord’s Supper, mass, whatever) even though I’ve studied the Jewish roots of it, taught it in Sunday School, taken part in a number of seders. I have to accept that it IS significant even though I’ve never quite connected with it. Maybe it’s because we practice it in such a lame, boring manner. So perhaps I know what you mean about the crucifixion being a weak point or even logically bizarre.

            It may help to understand that animal sacrifice was crucial to the Hebrews and to all of the pagan nations surrounding them. Christ’s sacrifice is in the context of the slaughter of the lambs in order to get out of Egypt, the (almost) slaughter of Isaac followed by subsitution by the ram, etc. Christ becomes the perfect, unblemished lamb. Even John the Baptist forecasts this: “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”

            It’s a cosmic idea. Over on another post at iMonk we’re talking about Robert Capon’s book Between Noon and Three. The title itself refers to the crucifixion—it was between noon and three that the skies were darkened–and then Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And the ground shook, the curtain of the Temple was torn, graves opened, etc.

        • Christopher Lake says:

          Buford,

          You’re right that Jesus’ death wasn’t “just” for you. It was for the whole world. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was still for you.

          Consider this. It is mysterious, and I won’t try to explain that away. I’m Catholic, and we’re okay with mystery. Consider it though: If God the Father *did* send His Son into this world, to die for sinners like me and you, then according to the Bible, the Son had to leave perfect happiness, no pain, no suffering, to come into this world, take on flesh, be mocked by most people while He lived, be abandoned by most of those who claimed to be devoted to Him, and be terribly tortured and crucified. He had to leave perfect happiness in Heaven in order to be mocked, tortured, and killed on this earth.

          You don’t see the point of it? It is because our sins separate us from God, and Jesus died so that that separation could be bridged. Again, it is mysterious, but there is a precedent for it on the Old Testament, with the sacrificing of lambs for sin. Jesus is the perfect, spotless Lamb who was sacrificed, killed, for the the sins of the world. His death, burial, and resurrection, wasn’t “one long weekend.” It was God taking on human flesh and meeting the pain and sin of this world in His very person.

          Would *you* leave perfect happiness to come into *this* world to be tortured and killed for people like you and me?. Jesus did, and He did it for you, me, and the whole world.

          • Christopher, I hope you don’t think I plagiarized you! I hadn’t read your comment when I responded to Buford a few minutes ago. Being okay with the mystery; the precedent of sacrificing lambs; Jesus being the spotless lamb, etc., is pretty much what I said, but I think you said it better.

          • it is so much more that we give it credit…

            imagine an eternally sufficient being taking the time to simply imagine something as insignificant to his existence as we are. Just the fact that God stopped to create us is beyond generous…. yet he took the time to make us important… then took the time to teach us “good and evil” and “choice” in a very simplistic and dimensional method that we could grasp. His creation chooses to reject him… yet he continues to have mercy and buy again what was already his through “redemption” He then took the time to put aside his status as all powerful creator to become one of us… and live according to the laws that he created for us… he demonstrated a self sacrificing existence, an existence that truly sacrifices everything mortally possible for the sake of others. Then validates his divinity by overcoming death.

            Not only does his death redeem or “buy us back” but it purifies us beyond imagination… even our own wicked deeds become of no effect as they are washed by the blood of Christ. So that we cannot do enough good… or enough evil… to credit or disqualify ourselves… so that no man could boast of their worth!

            Not only is the sacrifice of Christ a perfect paradox over “performance based reward” it is also a silver cord of spiritual truth that we often ignore…

            you will rule and reign with me… the least will be the greatest….the last will be first… go low and you will be lifted up… serve others… feed the poor… help the helpless…

            this all mirrors the person and personality of God…utter sacrifice… what makes God who he is is that he is utterly selfless…. and only through selflessness can we truly understand who he is and why he is so worthy of our love! and only those who learn selflessness could rule and reign as he expands his kingdom…

            to me… the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the most amazing thing that a Creator could do… it is so fantastically impossible. That no human being would ever dream up such a thing… yet it is so perfect and paradoxical that only the most perfect being could imagine it…and execute it.

            I hope that you will never imagine it to be anything resembling “a long weekend” ever again… but instead as a tender kiss of a loving creator that would give everything possible to allow you to freely make the choice to love greater than you could have ever imagined..

  26. From a Wesleyan perspective, which free methodists claim, giving Jesus full custody implies a crisis experience called “entire sanctification”, where ones intention becomes to please God rather than self. Perhaps the point of the billboard is to drive one to that crisis.

    • On second thought, I bet the church secretary saw it on Facebook and thought it would look cute on the marque. It probably means nothing. In that case it is DEFINITELY churchianity,

  27. Well, how about this…

    Is Jesus your life or is Jesus the source of your life?

    More and more I’m discovering that “nominal” is not a swear word or indicative of “cold” or “lukewarm” faith. If a person walks by faith during the week but only goes to church on the weekends, what does that say about them? That they should at least show up for Wednesday service and Thursday prayer meetings and Friday men’s meetings and Saturday visitations if they were “on fire” for God?

  28. It might be a language barrier thing, but when I see the word ‘custody’, I think of imprisonment before divorce.

    So this sign reads very strangely to me:

    God is imprisoned in the church and wants you to visit more often?

    God wants you in prison all week and not just at the weekend?

  29. Cute. But, really, it’s condemning rather than freeing. Churchianity.

    Churches should stick to posting their service times and quit trying to be cute.

    One I do like, even though it’s cute:

    Dear Lord, make me the man my dog thinks I am.

    🙂

  30. What does “Keep Right” have to do with it?

  31. For me personally, I find it convicting rather than condemning, so I’ll give it the thumbs up. Jesus himself preached this kind of message. He doesn’t want us following Him just on weekends.

    NOT churchianity.

  32. honestly…this is the problem that I have with churches in general…churchianity? who gives a flying crap what you label it? the fact that anyones bothers to take the time to judge the intentions of whoever wrote this sign is utter B.S.!!! I honestly get tired of the preening and self pleasuring I see among the sects of christianity…”they aren’t sincere!… we are!” and “silly deluded church focused people…. we are focused on JESUS(when actually we spend more time focusing on the fact that we are not church focused people)” can’t you just say… “hey funny sign” and be done with it? I can’t imagine Jesus critiquing church signs as part as his ministry… beware lest you become most like what you hate most.

    Simplicity, Truth, Peace,

    Comparison, silly nicknames for beleifs, and overanalysis have gotten the church to where it is…. the sick thing is that none of this is new… none of the theology… none of the ideas… they are all just re-imaginations of the the same thing…
    Ecclesiasties 1
    9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    10Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
    11There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

    silly people…

    listen to the preacher!

    Ecclesiasties 12
    8Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
    9And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
    11The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
    13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

    hmm… I would ask what you would label this whole discussion if you were honest?…Just Sayin…

    • Idle chatter, bordering on gossip. You’re right. Sorry.

    • Ouch. Good points, jasonthebaldguy. And I guess if we’re going to throw stones at a church’s signage, we have to be prepared to have stones thrown at us, too.

    • jasonthebaldguy, you look to be older and wise than me based on your profile pic, and maybe I’m wrong on this due to my young age, but how come you haven’t figured out yet that one man’s opinion or interpretation is always the right answer? Or that wisdom is not the same as being right? Or that the preacher could only be wise out of the knowledge he possessed?

      We give a flying crap about these things because the Bible does. Should we just ignore where Peter and Paul corrected others bad doctrine? I hear Gnosticism is pretty good, actually, the guy older than me told me it was right; obviously he’s wiser and more experienced, more of a man of God than I am.

      Regarding the church sign, no one is judging the intentions of anybody in particular, but the worldview and underlining doctrines and philosophies behind the intentions of the whole. And we seem to be evenly split on whether it’s Christianity or Churchianity (two made up words, both equally valid), owing in large part to our own backgrounds and experiences with different sections and members of the universal body of Christ. It’s calling being discerning, not judging. Is there preening and “self-pleasuring”? Sure, and those are sins to be repented of. Jesus spent a large amount of time critiquing things like that church sign, and he was not wrong for doing so, not because he’s the Son of God, but because he knew his Scriptures, had the Holy Spirit, and was without sin, thus allowing him to neatly avoid the preening and self-pleasuring.

      Has ‘comparison, silly nicknames for beliefs, and overanalysis’ led us to this point? Naturally. Human nature. It’s why I separated from a church that was preaching strong Keswick beliefs, which the Holy Spirit led me to believing were utterly wrong. How far back are you suggesting we go? 100 AD? 70 AD? The upper room? Let’s get back to the Jews vs Gentiles segment, shall we.

      I appreciate your warning though, be ware of becoming those you dislike most, because the thing I never want to be is someone who shares your view and opinion.

      One last thing. The iPhone is a new thing under the sun. Please don’t torture Scripture. Coke was a new thing under the sun, and it’s better than the real thing. I know you are talking about theology, and yes, nearly all ideas have parts that come from all ideas. But quoting Solomon, thus rhetorically aligning yourself with “wisdom”, does not make you wise…or even a person worth listening to.

    • Boy, Jason, did you miss the point of this post. Go back and read the introduction again. This is not about judging anyone. It’s about asking what we Christians are really communicating when we say some of the things we do, and how other people might hear those messages.

      Hey, and those of you who thought Jason was giving good counsel here—you might want to go back and read the beginning of the post too. There are plenty of times when we here at iMonk might be criticized for judging others. This is absolutely not one of those times.

      • I’m fairly certain that if I were a pastor and my church’s signage turned up on this site with 80 comments saying that it was “churchianity” and not “Jesus-shaped”, I’d feel pretty judged, regardless of the disclaimer. And I do think Jason has a point.

        Anyway, the only problem I have with the sign is that it’s gimmicky. It’s not telling people to attend church every day, but to walk with God every day. If that isn’t “Jesus-shaped”, I guess I don’t know what is.

        There’s lots of much worse church signs out there, as I’m sure we’ll see.

      • In defense of Jason and those who thought he offered good counsel (which includes myself), I’ll say that it’s hard to ask people to give an opinion on whether a sign is “churchianity” or not without it feeling a bit like judgment. And I guess what I got out of Jason’s post was that in debate here about the church’s signage, the pastors and congregation of that church may feel like they themselves are judged. If a pastor or member of Ritter Avenue Free Methodist Church came here to this site, I’m guessing they’d feel a bit like they’re being judged.

      • Mike,

        I am not specifically critisizing for judgment here… in some respects I simply felt an urge to remind everyone not to get caught up in the minutia of things and lose sight of what Jesus called us to be… granted upon reading my comment again (hindsight 20/20) my intensity level may have been a bit high 🙂 For the record I absolutely detest the current state of christianity and it’s “building focused, program focused, mentality!! I love meeting honest, humble, Jesus belivers that simply want to be who they are before God… I just get a little bent regarding all the “terms” applied to stuff so that we can safely categorize it and dismiss it… I guess what I often think is that the reality of the message is sometimes lost in the telling rather than the living…. if that makes any sense at all…

        no animosity here… only love bro.

  33. Beware the fool who says ‘don’t judge’.

    • Stuart B,

      I am a fool… and wish that I were less a fool…If you knew me at all you would know that I do not have any claims to wisdom…only a desire to see the redemption of this foolish flesh…

      I also foolishly vent my frustrations as I did above… simply because it is something that flows out of my heart… I long for the day when the body of christ focuses on the simplicity that Jesus proclaimed, when we dedicate our energies to serving those around us, when we redeem theology by embracing the simplicity of simple trusting love.

      you misquoted me…I said “beware lest you become most like what you hate most.” my intention was to warn that often in our quest to be different we become vicious in an attempt to discredit or villify the things we are different from… and sometimes become “most like what we hate most” even though in some ways we are different.

      “beware the fool who says dont judge” ? do you have a scripture reference? or just quoting yourself there? just making a statement? was confused by that…

      some good dialog on the subject from a fellow fool…

      1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
      5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

      10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

      11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

      12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

      13Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

      • Pressed for time, so one comment, and this is my own quote – the problem with the Bible is that it is either true or it isn’t. Now, you quoted a verse saying “why dost thou judge thy brother?” That is a good verse, it’s true. But you cannot neglect the verses such as “why judge those outside the church? Judge those inside.”

        I embrace the accusation of being called a stumbling block, because the gospel is offensive. Every time a believer tells another believer that “such and such is not in the Bible/not Biblical”, well, according to your use of this passage, that then is a stumbling block.

        It’s not. But again, I choose that that passage should not be interpreted that way. You choose it to be interpreted that way.

        So unless we move to a level in this discussion higher than this point, we’ll be stuck here. And I would be on equal ground to claim your first quoted verse (v1) as reason for me to end this discussion with you here and now.

        Ain’t the gospel great, though? We still both want sinners to come to Christ. Common ground.

        And my apologies if I misquoted you.

        • Stuart B,

          I think we agree on more than you think, you are right that there are other verses… there is this crazy tension between what is and what should be… and we are a bit caught in the middle… it all boils down to a heart issue. Peter judged Ananias and Sapphira, I think in some regards all of this falls to relationship…at least that’s how I handle it… I can easily talk to someone that is a fellow believer that I have a long standing relationship that I think that he is in the wrong about something… however if I do that same thing with someone I have no relationship with… we almost always end up crossways. It is only the “common ground” of Jesus Christ that holds us together!

          I most definitely do not accuse you of being a stumbling block… that was not at all my intent with the passages I referenced… (else I would be judging your heart! 🙂 It was just the context was so great I couldn’t not put the rest in there! I think that “Stumbling Block” is best described as an “intentional trip” kinda like a buddy does when they stick out their foot as you walk by… with the exception that the “intent” is somewhat malicious. However the word says ‘Iron sharpens Iron… so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend’ (quoting from memory here) this means that we will disagree and sharpen each other… but that there is a relationship involved… otherwise we are simply hacking up innocent bystanders so to speak.

          The Gospel is offensive true but not in the same way that for instance I am offensive, I am flawed and so my offensiveness comes from my selfish nature… however the gospel is offensive because it is so perfect and simple that it truly “offends” the sensibilities of those who would want it to be more difficult and complex… it is a perfect paradox that refuses to release the tension that it places us in… we are un-acceptable… nothing we can do can save us… yet God makes us acceptable no matter what we do… through the blood of Christ…if we accept his sacrifice… and even as I write the words I would seek to qualify or some how explain the complexity…but it is simply true…

          We are all at different places in our walk… yet it is how honestly we walk… and not where we are that matters…

          apologies accepted…you were already forgivn (none needed really 🙂

          thanks for the stimulating discussion!

  34. Not awful but it still gives off that “do more / do better” vibe.

  35. By “Weekend Visitation” it seems to imply attendance at a church building on Sunday mornings. So, by “Full Custody” does it then mean for us to be trapped inside a church building 24/7? I don’t think so.

    I think it means something like 1Thessalonians5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

    So I’m OK with the sign.

  36. I think the whole idea of these sayings on signs is dumb.

    DSY

  37. Trying to judge the message or the messenger should not be the point of this discussion. That would presuppose that the readers knew something about God and want He wants. To the lost people of the world, this sign would not be life-changing good news. It would be irrelevant. Just my $.02.

  38. Rather than something cute or clever – why not use words from the gospel or psalms?
    We never know just how a ‘clever’ sign will hit another person. As a divorced person who did deal with weekends and shared custody, I found it a little condescending/judgmental, especially for the person who might be dealing with ‘weekend’ visits. I doubt it was meant that way – but that’s how it could be perceived. And perception is everything.

  39. The great thing about this sign is that it is open to interpretation and specifically gets a discussion going. I don’t think any of us except the author can say it’s Christianity or Churchianity. But whether each individual one says it is one or the other, it is true.

    lol, /threadclose.

  40. There’s a church in our city which had a thought-provoking quote from a Saint or famous Christian on their sign every week. I have never attended there, but I eventually scheduled a meeting with the pastor to find out more. I think a church sign can reach people, even invite people inside.

  41. I’m voting not churchianity. I see the complaint others have about living at church being the implication, but i don’t feel that was the intention.