House Church Talk - "God not with us," she wrote.

David Anderson david at
Mon Mar 29 15:11:09 EST 2004

Here below is a short excerpt from a lengthy piece which turned up in my 
mailbox a few weeks ago. Short, because I have not requested permission 
to forward it. The words are from a former pastor's wife, perhaps best 
left unidentified.

    David Anderson


For these past ten years, seeing that God was so obviously not with us, 
my prayer has been that He would reveal to us our ornaments. What are 
those things that we cling to that have caused Him to withdraw?

We get our ornaments from many places and we may wear them privately or 
corporately, but, for the sake of this writing, I am going to talk only 
about those ornaments we get from the Institutional Church. 

The Ornaments

Please remember, as you read this, I am talking about ornaments, not 
people. For example, some of the Israelite ornaments were gold. Gold has 
no soul. The person wearing it has the soul. They may use the gold to 
build a calf, or to cover an ark. 

PASTOR: This ornament is the most valuable one you can get at IC. It says 
you are the most important person at every function. You have a special 
inside with God, and those closest to you are the most important people 
after you in IC. Since the size of your ornament depends on the number of 
people who follow you, and the amount of dollars they generate, it helps 
if you are good at PR and can administrate. If you don't have these 
skills, it is important to get people to follow you who have them. 
Another plus of this ornament is it comes with a salary. The requirement 
for this ornament is the ability to get people to follow you.

ELDER This ornament goes to those who have that wonderful combination of 
dedication to the IC and success in the world. A willingness to spend 
time with needy sheep and having the gifts of the Spirit of God add 
luster to this ornament, but are not necessary. 

DEACON This ornament goes to those new members of IC who are willing to 
sacrifice everything they have to fulfill the demands of the Pastors and 
Elders. Being a team player (this is called being "faithful" in IC 
language) really adds value to this garb. Requirements? Voluntary 
enslavement at the expense of your family, relationship with the Lord, 
and common sense. 

WORSHIP LEADER Don't get this confused with a worshipper, one whose heart 
hallows the Lord. This ornament goes to those who stand before the IC and 
lead singalongs with the intention that everyone will enjoy it to the 
point of going up to the mountain of experience. IC membership will 
reflect the skill of the Worship Leader, so Pastors are always on the 
lookout for skilled musicians. In a progressive IC, a Pastor may even use 
those who have no relationship with God to take his sheep into the Holy 
of Holies.

There are pitfalls with this jewel: nobody wants to confront a Worship 
Leader if they have sin (called "artistic temperament" in IC language) 
because they may stop singing if they are offended. Since the songs are 
usually about Jesus, and He is a God of fire, Worship Leaders take the 
chance of getting burned. 

TITHER (10%, an Old Testament term not advocated in the New Testament). 
Everybody who gives money to the IC gets a version of this ornament. The 
size and value of the ornament depend on the quantity of money. Extra 
weight is given to the jewel if it is given when common sense says it 
should have gone for bills or other needs, because then the money was 
given by "faith", an IC term used to identify a gift given with the hope 
that it will be reciprocated.

MEMBER jewels that go to those who, whether or not they agree with 
everything the IC is all about, are willing to sign a paper or make a 
public vow promising to support the IC by frequenting their hallowed 
meetings, volunteering for IC maintenance jobs, and giving money to 
support the IC. This is called "commitment" in IC language. Most IC's 
won't allow Christians to serve freely in their group unless they have 
this ornament. IC has developed many teachings to persuade Christians 
that there is some- thing wrong with them if they refuse to wear this 
jewel. Requirement? Sign a paper or make a vow.

SPECIAL SPEAKER This ornament is for those who sell their thoughts. 
Whether the speaker is a Prophet or a comedian, sheep will spend time and 
money on them because: They are hungry and hope to get something to eat, 
or Pastor says go, or they feel guilty for not being "faithful", or they 
like being around people (enjoy "fellowship" in IC language). The beauty 
of the ornament is reflected in the amount of money the speaker gets for 
speaking, because sheep give more money to speakers they enjoy listening 
to. The qualifications are that you think sellable thoughts, and the 
confidence to express them publicly.

House Church Talk is sponsored by the House Church Network.

House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.