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In most congregations, it's all about "the performance". You're either running the performance, or watching it. The emphesis is on "getting it right". Getting it right consumes all of our available time together. There is no time for "love", except for the love they talk about in the performance.


It seems to me that there is real compassion in most institutional churches, but the system (set up with the best of intentions) steals away many of the opportunities to deal compassionately with people.

Giving is an obvious area to demonstrate this. In an institution everyone gives into the pot, sometimes under compulsion, and the money is then doled out via a benevolence fund. You gave because it was expected of you, and the person getting came to get, expecting to get something. niether of you are particularly blessed or experience the compassion of Christ in this transaction.

Outside of the church you have no intermidiaries. You give as you see needs, both blessing and being blessed in the process. Being moved by compassion you give gladly, and the person in need is touched by the heart of Christ.

In an istitutional setting you have many opportunities to either coast or be motivated by compulsion. Outside the institution, you are either internally motivated, or you aren't. Nobody is pushing you, and nobody is performing your works for you.


Matt ~ You make a very good point here. I think that when given the choice to coast many people do. It's like water, we follow the path of least resistance. I think James had it right when he said the faith without works is dead.

Steve O'Keefe

I noticed Brian McLaren mentioned in this post. I am currently working with him and wanted to make everyone aware of an upcoming blog tour he is participating in.

If you'd like to join the conversation, it begins May 9 at these locations:

Tall Skinny Kiwi

Jordon Cooper's Blog

Jen Lemen's Blog

Dwight Friesen's Blog



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  • In the Celtic tradition "Thin Places" are places where the spiritual and the natural world intersect. It is a place where it is possible to touch and be touched by God. "Thin Spaces" are the moments when we experience a deep sense of God’s presence in our everyday world.

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