Discussing reality church

Dan Kimball’s post called Reality Church stirred up a lot of thoughts for me. If you haven’t read it yet, take a moment to read it. I understand what Dan was getting at about growing into a more mature and realistic understanding of church life.

I agree with Brother Maynard’s summary of the stages and his doubts about returning to the same church we started from. Here is a quote from his blog:

Then there’s Dan Kimball’s description of the ten phases of Reality Church where people move from being excited about Jesus to overcommittment to disillusionment to being happy and balanced.

Now thanks to Dan Kimball’s efforts I know that I’m only two phases from a happy balanced life. Seriously, it’s a good description of the detox process — or it would be if the journey he described didn’t end up in the same church that it started from… I think the majority make a break in the ninth and tenth stages and move into a more missional or emerging church expression.

Understanding that this was a general outline, not intended to be all-inclusive, let me point out a couple of things that I took exception to.

There seems to be an assumption that all who have left church did so because of immaturity, idealistic, unrealistic expectations, and an intolerance of the imperfections of others.

What really disappoints me is the conclusion that there is no point in hoping for something different. I’m sure step #10 would depend on what church you are returning to, but for many of us that is not an option.

I’ll have more to say about this in another post.

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3 thoughts on “Discussing reality church

  1. Grace,
    Hey…I caught your comment on Dan’s blog and followed you here. I appreciated your comments. The church I am “returning to” is the seeker-sensitive fill-in-the-blank church. I’m really struggling. To what degree have I made an idol out of my expectation of “church”? What if my “expectations” really seem BIBLICAL? What do I do then??? Thanks…I’m at stage 9…and wondering if stage 10 is death or life…
    Peace,
    Fr’nkiln

  2. Hi Grace,
    Though I’m on a blog fast I am permitting myself to post on others’ blogs.

    I checked out DK’s 10 stage thing. It was refreshingly light-hearted yet full of insight. I like the way he writes. Thanks for the heads up on that one.

    Why is disillusionment such an epidemic these days? I tend to think God Himself is in the thick of it. What is He up to in our lives, in the church???

    Very interesting times we live in.

  3. Hi fr’nklin. It’s always nice to meet fellow travelers on this journey.

    I have read your “letter to Jesus” and the postcript. I share many of your observations.

    We also attend a seeker-type church. I appreciate the fellowship there, and I know that God is at work among them.

    Even though we attend there, I consider myself unchurched because my heart isn’t really there.

    This is a season of learning and unlearning for us. I don’t know what the next step is, but I trust that God will show us at the right time.

    For now, I am working on being the type of person that I think the church should be. I can’t change the whole church, but I can become a more caring person, more of a disciple. This is challenging to me after having been dependent on religious programs.

    thanks for stopping by!

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