Saturday, November 24, 2007

living with integrity amid a world of boxes

This post has nothing to do with any recent speaking experiences I’ve been part of, but arose from an email conversation with a friend

box1.jpg box2.jpg

We live in a world of boxes. The boxes are labelled by humans with words like conservative and liberal.

The question is not what others think I am. Nor what boxes they might wish to place me in.

The question is who God thinks I am. And how have I communicated that relationship with authenticity and integrity.

Posted by steve at 09:32 PM


  1. Yes, it is easy to lose focus of God when we become so concerned with the ‘boxes’. I know when I enrolled my kids in a state integrated Catholic school they had to gain entry in the 5% ‘non-preference’ category because they were not baptised Catholics. Over the years it has been hard to convince them that they are not necessarily different and that only God knows the nature of their relationship with Him.

    Comment by Jack — November 24, 2007 @ 10:06 pm

  2. I could not help but just join in here.

    Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg Church stated ”the Call of Jesus is not to revere – but to follow”

    I think the Institutional church has done an impressive job of putting Jesus on the alter – up on the pedestal – placed Jesus on this higher level of existence that many just think is impossible to reach – impossible to follow – but easy to revere.

    The Institutional church has done a great job of reminding people that if they act this way, dress this way, sing this song, behave in this manner -(worship in this manner and tradition) then and only then are they capable of reaching Jesus…

    Don’t worry about not being part of that box… Jesus came and called us to Follow -not to be boxed…

    Isn’t it all about unboxing the Image of God in Us anyhow… Living in His Image ?

    Pastor Glenn –

    Comment by Glenn Kelley — December 8, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  3. thanks Glenn. I went and checked out your site. I wonder if being “cool” as your worship seeks to be, might not also be a box? I grew up knowing that i could never be cool and that was part for me of becoming unboxed.

    i guess i also struggle with the word “institutional church” as a phrase. Its’ easy to trash the church of the past. Yet today I was preparing to bury a 92 year old woman. Her life was hymns and so all the family reached for hymn books. there is a danger that the box of cool might be used to trash and demean what was lifegiving for her.



    Comment by steve — December 8, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

  4. Hi

    I checked out your site too Glenn. Is ‘cool worship’ another box – perhaps yes but at least thats better than people feeling there is only one box and that if they’re not in it then there are no alternatives. Steve, I think its the same as saying is labelling yourself ‘uncool’ just creating another box? Onlyy God knows what potential for cool you may have :).
    I don’t think the website ‘trashed’ the institutional church, in fact it described its worship as ‘ancient-future’ and as drawing on hymns. Yes there was a light hearted mention of old fashioned services, but hey the elderly are the first to cringe at a lot of contemporary music but its not something I’d be hurt by, I’d just laugh and enjoy our differences. When I first entered a church I felt totally lost as I wasn’t brought up in a Christian family and I hadn’t experienced the hymns or any of it and felt like I didnt belong and found it hard to make links. I think ‘Unboxed’ is trying to make links with people, trying to reach out. As an aside, I think worship on the whole has become far too much about giving people what they want/need and less concerned with worshiping God.
    Thanks for the thoughts anyway, Jack (in the box?)

    Comment by Jack — December 8, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

  5. jack,
    are you the same jack who, when I talked about U2 commented “I think the modern church sometimes appears insecure the way it grasps at anything vaguely ‘cool’ to link into.”?

    🙂 seems like you’ve changed your mind about the re-birth of cool?


    Comment by steve — December 8, 2007 @ 11:23 pm

  6. Hi Steve,
    Yes I’m the same Jack – but not the ‘same’ from day to day I hope. In response, a) yes, I often change my mind but b), I said in a later posting on the U2 topic that my original remark did come out of my own experiences and wasn’t meant to be taken as a criticism of what you may be doing in your church. I no longer attend any church but when I did for awhile the church was very ‘institutional’ to use Glenn’s word but threw in the odd ‘cool’ bit and offered evening ‘contemporary’ services that were kind of an inbeween (faster songs but not current day music). I know they meant well but at times it all came across as a bit ‘insecure’ – a bit like when the class nerd goes through a period of trying to be cool and it just doesnt work and you prefer them and respect them more when they are ‘nerd and proud of it’. The church of Glenn’s seems a bit more fully in its own skin, if that makes any sense.
    c) Sometimes I fire away a comment just to challenge and it may not represent any deeply held view of mine. I also often have doubts and I appreciate people defending their ideas because it helps me gain clarification.
    Have a good Sunday and thanks for the blog Steve, I’m enjoying and growing from it, Have a good Sunday, not the same Jack

    Comment by Jack — December 9, 2007 @ 10:17 am

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