I have run across a number of pretty good links today and yesterday and rather than posting them individually with lengthy comments, I thought I would just provide them all together.
The first one comes from Robert Martin looking at the soon to be world of "The Church in Post-Christendom" Robert approaches this topic from a more leftward Mennonite view than I would but he makes some valid points (a different blog post is the launching pad for his post). We need to be having these conversations now instead of sticking our collective hands in the institutional sand!
Then this morning there was a very good post from Eric Carpenter and it is something I was actually thinking about this morning in the shower (making me wonder if Eric is reading my mind, I need to check the shower head for brainwave readers or something). Eric looks at an important event in the book of Acts in his post Acts 20:7 and the First Day of the Week and makes the observation that I did, namely that there is nothing to indicate that meeting on Sunday was the normal pattern. Sure there is 1 Corinthians 16:2, which indicates that the church in Corinth was to emulate the church in Galatia and set aside some money to store up until someone could come and get it. We read that and assume that this meant taking up an offering "at church". In fact the ESV Study Bible notes make that exact point: This shows that Christians gathered for worship on Sunday, not Saturday (cf. Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10), in order to acknowledge the crucial importance of Christ’s resurrection. The problem is that what Paul is saying is that each of you should put something aside until someone can come pick it up. That by no means indicates an offering "at church". Paul is not speaking contextualy about the church gathering at that point in the letter but we so easily slip into assuming that what Paul meant was what we do on Sunday, passing the plate/basket and dropping some money in.
One from Becky Lynn Black from her "Ethiopia Vignettes" on a brother named Olka who just passed from this life to his reward, Evangelist Olka, Ode to Faithfulness. If you want an encouraging read, check this out! May God grant me the strength, wisom and humility such that others will speak of me after my passing as they do of this brother, a man I look forward eagerly to meeting in the presence of our Lord!
Finally, Alan Knox has an important post with a provocative title: Increasing maturity in Christ is demonstrated by increasing unity with his followers. It is a great lead in to the post, consisting primarily of a comment made on a different post. Too many people in the church think that we show how mature we are by how "discerning" we are. The more people we can divide from, the more serious about our faith and mature we must be. The opposite might be true. Not sure I agree with everything in the post but it certainly is thought provoking in a way that is quite different from what we are used to in a church world full of division after division and semi-professional "discernment ministries".
Anyway, these are all great reads. Check them out!