February 11, 2006

an Acts 2 church

I know a fellow. Left the Catholic Church in his youth -- like many of us left the churches of our parents -- as he couldn't cope with the rules, the paper-thin veneer of faith, whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.

I think for most thinking folks the faith of our folks -- no matter how well intentioned -- seem that way. We need to find a way to make it our own.

My friend in Christ is now worshipping with the Presbyterians. And he's finding Presbyterianism pushing all the same buttons as the Catholicism of his ill-spent youth. His constant refrain: I'm looking for an Acts 2 church. He's looking for a vibrant faith. He's looking for the winds of the Spirit. He's looking for faith with signs following.

When I look to signs following I see a community for whom whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. and again all the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. I'm not sure how comfortable I would be in such a church -- but that seems to be Luke's clear implication -- you got the spirit -- the institution of private ownership ceases to exist for you. Voluntary anarchic socialism -- located at the level of the church congregation and not at the level of the state.

Paul warns us, but as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.

Miracles exist for two reasons. One to mark a fresh blowing of God's spirit -- to draw attention to a new way of being the church. Two, to offset the limitations and injustices of this world and give us a hint of what could be -- is -- truly possible. When that possibility hinted at in miracles becomes a reality, the signs will no longer be needed. And as Paul promised, then faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


At 3:56 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

Being related to a great many churches over a great number of years, I have never seen "an Acts 2 church", although some with various degrees of approximation to one.

Generally speaking the ones closest to it have been the smallest churches; it requires a special level of love to all the members, that suggests intimate acquaintance.

Re communism I knew of one church long ago though I never saw it:

I was preaching one of my very first sermons: at the Marine Hospital in New Orleans, to a handful of people.

Afterward one man came up to me and told me about his church, very small. They did not have health insurance (not unusual in thos days), but he said they didn't need it because everyone tithed, and when anybody got sick they and their family were cared for out of the tithes.

I found that inspiring!

At 6:27 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

I haven't ever been to an Acts 2 church. The closest thing I can think of to this would be a religious community, like a monastery, where everything is communal. It does sound very inspiring :-)

At 11:12 a.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

great post, kwake, thank you.
"looking for a vibrant faith" -- I can certainly relate to that. However, I wonder if I'm searching in the wrong place -- I think vibrancy comes an goes, just like life, there are highs and lows.

However, I can also relate to the feeling of being in the wrong church or parish. I haven't been to church in a long time and I'm finally beginning to miss it.

At 11:38 a.m., Blogger david said...

welcome back Marjorie!


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