Mission Statement

Cyber Sabbath's goal is to begin to mend the division between Christ and the world (society) that Church has created through reflections, sermons and devotionals

Cyber Sabbath is a place for the stifled Christian voice to be heard. Media gives way to much time to the extremist - over looking the theologically educated and/or the moderates in favor of what sells their view point. Here, politics aside, a pastor reflects on God's voice in every day life.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

community

My experience as an ordained Pastor has brought me to the unique happenstance that I have done more funerals for people I have never met then my own parishioners.  Part of me is very thankful for this for I wouldn't have wanted to do that many funerals for people I knew!  But the other part of me is sadden that so many people who cannot find a church home in their life are forced (by I'm not sure what) to get just "any old" pastor to lay them to rest. 
After recently doing one such funeral and a reception put on by our outreach committee one of the deceased children responded to me and an elder of our church that they couldn't believe all that we had done for them.  The elder later said "people just don't know what they are missing when it comes to a church family"
And how true is that!  People don't know what they are missing!  This year I have sat a countless number of times with people either in nursing homes or their own homes as they struggle with end of life and illness.  I have texted prayers to people in the wee hours of the night for support and strength.  I have sent emails out with prayers and words of hope.  I have traveled several hours to be with college students in their times of need.  I have prayed over the phone, in person and when words were not right just sat and listened.  I don't say this to get a pat on the back, I say this because I'm one of thousands of pastors who have done this - this is my job, my calling from God.  Every day I help to make the community of Christ. 
But we as Pastors cannot be alone.  People don't know what they are missing - so let us show them!  I recently read an article that challenged all church goers to think of themselves as bi-vocational pastors.  And I think it hit on something.  Pastors might get paid to take care of their flock, but you, the flock, are not just suppose to wander aimlessly but instead challenge the world to know Christ.  Take care of the world in Christ's name so that all might have the privilege to feel the love of community. 

Recently, a young person challenged me when I said that we need to claim Christ when we do something - especially a good deed - for how else were they to know we are doing something because we are Christian if we don't say it...what makes us different from the atheist?  They asked if the atheist couldn't share love.  HMMM That is a tough one!  Of course an atheist can love and heck if we get all theological God can use people without them knowing or understanding so God could use an atheist for sure!  But when we do it in the name of Christ, we bring a love that is all forgiving with us.  A love that is powerful and a community that extends just that one helpful meeting...a community in which all belong.

As I came out of a grocery store the other night, it was late, I was tired and wanted to be home.  A couple was having trouble with their car and so I drove over and asked if they needed a jump.  They were happy for my assistance, especially since I even had the cables.  I shared that I once had a car that would die a lot and I learned to always have the cables with me and to always offer help because I used it so often before.  In that shared experience we find a common language: people who couldn't afford better cars. 

Being a Christian is a lot like that encounter.  We offer help and love to others and try to do the right thing - the golden rule.  I could have helped them simple because they needed help and it was the right thing to do...but because I had the shared experience of being a stranded person without a working car we bonded for that short bit.  We connected and my help meant more.  My sharing ourselves, our Christ and our authentic being, we can develop God's Kingdom in the here and now.  Let us do so!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Identity

When I set this blog up a few short years ago I do so in hopes to reach the "unchurched" or at best to encourage those who are churched that there are people who "see" the problems of the church and are at the very least vocally trying to fix things. 

However, I have come to realize that my blog approach might be all wrong.  You see, churches as they are today are mostly groups of people attached and connected to each  other through buildings, without their buildings or the hopes of their buildings their community breaks down.  So, maybe this place shouldn't be here to speak to those who have already left but instead to ponder HOW do we build community without buildings at our center but instead Christ?? 

I'm not saying that all churches are bad or that all churches are all about money.  I currently serve a congregation who isn't like that - but they also have a very small church to maintain.  But, I say that they aren't like that because they aren't about their "building" surviving but instead their community.

I was recently heard statement made by a pastor in a smaller city who mused that all the churches within walking distance really could combine and be one.  They all are "warm and welcoming", they are all progressive and yet they all have smaller attendance then they once head.  The problem doesn't lie in the pews but instead in the denominational theology.  Interesting thought...but would they do this?  And who would give up their buildings?

Could we challenge ourselves within our churches to think of ways to be the church without our buildings and to find real and meaningful relationships with those outside? 

I ponder this as our churches face real identity challenges?  Who are they today?  Maybe we need to start asking the hard questions to ourselves instead of trying to promote ourselves to those who see right through our false idolatry.