Sunday, November 25, 2007

The minichurch effect

On Nov. 23, Kyle Wingfield wrote about his personal, mini-church (at least it comes off as that) experience in Europe (W11). He suggests that Christianity on the Continent has less to do today with "[o]ld ladies sitting in otherwise empty churches" than with "smaller groups in caf├ęs and restaurants" - i.e. conventicles? He gives two reasons for this style of meeting: first, that the church (Well in Brussels) doesn't have its own building yet; and second, that a coffee shop is less "intimidating" for the unchurched who happen to stumble upon a service in progress. This is apparently popular in Europe right now, where only 15% (versus 44% here) regularly worship somewhere other than a mosque etc.

In response, Thomas D. in Plymouth, Mich. wrote (A9, Nov. 24) a letter defending classical Christianity. While claiming that Wingfield's article "falls prey to a common fallacy, that of setting up a straw man for classical Christian beliefs and practices (passe, formulaic, anti-intellectual) and then suggesting these are the reasons for its demise, or replacement by more relevant spiritual movements," he sticks in a nice paraphrase of G.K. Chesterton: "[T]raditional Christian beliefs have not been intellectually examined and found wanting, they have been caricatured and left unexamined."

In closing: "When one rationally and objectively views current events and culture, it is classical Christianity that is nouveau, even rebellious. The "well spring" of classical Christianity still provides spiritual refreshment to those with the courage and discipline to seek it." - Thomas D.


MathewK said...

Yeah, i've seen some of these "new-age" churches, i don't know if they are attracting more followers, but it's not for me, maybe i'm just old at heart or something.

Aurora said...

I think the cell groups is a real key. It's really revolutionized the church.
MK, I'm not much for 'new-age' churches either...LOL I think the small groups that meet say mid-week are good when you go to a huge church like the one I attend.

Hannah said...

The trouble is (coming from a Lutheran perspective once again) this: Are the cell groups under pastoral supervision? Read up on conventicles for more info.