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Liberal Church Ideas

Discussion in 'Whosoever Will, May Come - Liberal' started by lismore, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. lismore

    lismore Maranatha

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    So what would the generic liberal church look like in practice?

    What would it's structure be? What would it's services and other meetings be like? What would it's priorities be?

    :)
     
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  2. LuxMundi

    LuxMundi Guest

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    I am not sure there is any specific liberal way of doing church.
     
  3. Izdaari

    Izdaari Episcopalutheran (TEC/ELCA)

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    Agreed. I once attended for a while a liberal Baptist church. It was liberal in theology, very liberal in politics (had pro-Sandinista signs on the bulletin boards), but old fashioned and stodgy in the way it worshiped. Probably the advanced average age of the congregation had a lot to do with that. Since I was theologically conservative (in an Anglican Lewis/Wright kind of way), libertarian-right politically, and culturally a punk and metal riot grrrl, it was not a good fit on any level. I didn't stay long.
     
  4. William II

    William II Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.

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    The Church I attend is very liberal. Worship is conducted in the traditional manner, but the sermon's often focus of the teachings of Christ, his love and how to live a more Christ-like life...not stuff about how gays are evil and junk like that.

    Our Church is also Open and Affirming, which means we marry gays.
     
  5. LuxMundi

    LuxMundi Guest

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    Wow! I want to see photos! :p
     
  6. Izdaari

    Izdaari Episcopalutheran (TEC/ELCA)

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    Sorry, but I don't share those or my real name on the internet. I'm paranoid like that.

    But I'll share a Meez:


    [​IMG]

    (I do not really have a mini-dragon pet or play bass. I just thought they'd look cool in the pic. :blush:)
     
  7. thispoorman

    thispoorman Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God

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    The Moravian Church is quite like that, except that we're officially still in the "discernment" phase regarding homosexuality.
     
  8. lismore

    lismore Maranatha

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    I once attended a Reformed Church in Malta that I thought was quite liberal, based on their approach. I remember that they sang 'We are the world', their service seemed to be based on reaching out to people.

    That's why I asked the question, I assumed there were liberal ways of doing church..........

    I also visited a Pentecostal Church on Malta, their meeting seemed to be quite experientially oriented and in a way similar.

    :)
     
  9. Izdaari

    Izdaari Episcopalutheran (TEC/ELCA)

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    In that liberal Baptist church I went to, the only ways you could tell it was liberal were the pastor's theologically liberal sermons and the left-wing propaganda on the bulletin boards. Otherwise, we just sat in the pews and sang the traditional Baptist hymns with the blue haired old ladies. Just like in the conservative Baptist churches.

    Liberal theology and/or politics can be found in most any style of church I think.
     
  10. lismore

    lismore Maranatha

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    Would you say that liberal means a more relaxed style of approach?

    Sometimes Charismatic churches can be more relaxed, allowing more freedom, more liberty.

    Liberty=liberal?

    :)
     
  11. Izdaari

    Izdaari Episcopalutheran (TEC/ELCA)

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    Not necessarily. Like I said, that Baptist church was very traditional and stodgy in style, not relaxed at all, though theologically and politically liberal.

    OTOH, my AoG church, though more conservative, is pretty casual and relaxed. If you want to kick your shoes off when you come in, that's cool. If you want to dance before the Lord like King David (though hopefully wearing more than he did :blush:), that's cool too.

    My new "emergent" Episcopal church seems pretty relaxed too.
     
  12. trek4fr

    trek4fr Newbie

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    I think this is true, Izdaari. Even "liberal" churches have some rather conservative components to them.

    By definition, conservative often seek to "conserve" or keep things pretty much the same. (There are always exceptions.) And liberals tend to want "liberation" from doing things or thinking about things the same way things used to be done or thought about. This makes "liberal" churches hard to fit into descriptive molds because they tend to relish their freedom to buck against conformity.

    At the same time, I've found a number of churches in my area that, while putting forth fairly liberal or progressive theology, are quite conservative in their liturgy. The way they think about theology may have changed, but they still tend to "do church" in fairly conservative ways.

    The Emerging movement, to my knowledge, is at the forefront of actually changing how church is done in order to bring it more in line with their theology. For instance, because they tend to be big on conservation, they will often put chairs in a circle so that they can really see one another. Plus, leaders or facilitators try to foster a lot of questioning time for feedback and contemplation. I don't know how many times, in my Baptist, Bible, and Pentecostal church backgrounds, I wanted to stand up, raise my hand and say, "Yes, but what about...?" But most conservative (and mainline) churches are focused on monologues. The Emerging movement is open to changing that.

    I wish Christian Forums had a separate subsection for Emerging Christianity. We could have some awesome conversations there. It really doesn't fit into the liberal paradigm that well. As you know, NT Wright is quite conservative. And McLaren is an evangelical. Not really liberals as I see it.
     
  13. Izdaari

    Izdaari Episcopalutheran (TEC/ELCA)

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    Right. Of course, Wright doesn't identify with the EC, though McLaren and other EC folk like him. But, though conservative, he is open minded.

    I don't mind hanging with the WWMC folk. They're pretty cool. :cool:
     
  14. lismore

    lismore Maranatha

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    I see what you mean:)

    Ideally I would hope that a relaxed Church would also be quite 'liberal' in many ways.

    But a balance is good, not stodgy, not over the top, just fine and relaxed! And a balance in theology too.
     
  15. dbcsf

    dbcsf Guest

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    I attend a liberal church. For one thing, most of us do not worry about things like who is saved and who is not. We believe Jesus is working great for us, and we are happy to share Jesus with any and all comers. But, when it comes to people of other faiths or spiritual approaches to the divine, we are open minded. Who knows if they are finding salvation? God knows. We are obviously certain of the path to salvation through Jesus.

    Just saw a movie, "Under the Moonlight", for example. It shows a divinity student (Muslim) struggling with his faith. Very similar to a Christian divinity student, if you ask me. Obviously the people who made this movie were very godly people.

    Consequently, we treat people of other faiths with respect. We do not feel we are superior to people who do not know what we know. Who knows what they know. We cannot see inside their souls.
     
  16. William II

    William II Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.

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    Wisdom :bow:
     
  17. Speculative

    Speculative Senior Veteran

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    Generally, I see liberal churches as having more of a traditional worship service, albeit more relaxed in dress and liturgy, with a liberal theology and political focus. The focus is more on the Kingdom of God in the here and now than in the Kingdom of God in the hereafter--so the focus is more on good stewardship of the Earth and in social ministries than on "getting people into heaven".
     
  18. DailyBlessings

    DailyBlessings O Christianos Cryptos; Amor Vincit Omnia!

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    Liberal is the norm in my part of the country. I'm not sure if there is a "generic" liberality, but there are some patterns. One will almost always hear the term "open and affirming", for instance, which means that no one is barred from coming or kicked out for not believing something. Usually, liberal churches prefer a more traditional liturgy, at least within Lutheranism, but I've been to a few that do the whole powerpoint-praise band shtick as well. Sacraments are usually there, at least occasionally, and liberal churches are less likely to turn someone down at the rail for communion. In terms of priorities, I'd say they are exactly the same as the priorities of most conservative churches I've been to, minus the politics of hate, of course: bind up the wounds of the sick, serve the poor, listen to the Word, praise God. The congregation has more autonomy and is not expected to regard the word of the pastor as the word of God. There's probably going to be a church council, and they probably won't have anything like the kind of power that "elders" do in some American traditions- more like the UN, less like the Holy Gestapo.
     
  19. NeoTheo

    NeoTheo Guest

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    What would a liberal church look like in practice?
    - Accepting all kinds of people to join
    - Talking about possibilities and positive things much more than of sin
    - Reaching out to the poor
    - Going out for a drink
    - Chatting about religious views
    - Chatting on the web with people
    - Standing up for the minorities
    - A much much much more modern sunday service (if services are to be continued!)
     
  20. lismore

    lismore Maranatha

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    Ya. Innovative rather than traditional and stodgy. Would traditional not be more Conservative?

    :)
     
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