“May You Live In Interesting Times”: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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14 Responses

  1. In my little corner of evangelicalism (of which I possess some discomfort), church history is viewed quite selectively. If certain people or movements from the past don’t fit a certain perspective of Christianity, then they are ignored, discarded or derided. In doing this, great amounts of spiritual riches are left untouched.

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    PH

    I think that has become the situation both inside and outside evangelicalism…

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    My wife has a friend she walks with. Her friend, age 65, goes to a local mega-church. She had never heard of Francis of Assisi. My wife gave her a copy of Martyrs Prayers. She knew of no one in the book apart from Stephen in the Book of Acts…

  4. Michael says:

    As technology advances and viruses rage on, the challenge of what constitutes church is going to be a major question.

    How do sacramental churches function in a cyber space?

    Can they?

    The coming generations are all mobile and used to cyber communication…and may end up preferring online gathering to real gathering.

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    Or, perhaps, we end up with “two tiered” congregations – those online and those actually present. Many churches are close to that at present…

  6. Michael says:

    True…my group hasn’t met in person for two years and I’m wondering when it will be safe to do so…

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    As services have gone online, one in three have dropped out…
    https://www.barna.com/research/new-sunday-morning-part-2/

  8. Linn says:

    We tend to have a Western European take on church history with buildings, hymnals, established holidays honored by the central government…but other countries may show us how to “do church” as we go into the future. When I was in Colombia, many church startup in Colombia bought a house as their first meeting place because that was what was available. When space was maxed up, another house might be a bought in a different neighborhood, a school might be built, and if there was vacant land, it could be bought up and a building put there. Independent churches in China meet in homes to avoid government scrutiny. We could be looking at a hybrid model of part online/part building, or churches where multiple congregations from different traditions meet during the week. In Silicon Valley, many church building host several, often multilingual, congregations during any given week.

    I hope we never lose the online platform that developed during the pandemic. I know it’s not the best for many people, but I am able to attend a Bible study due to Zoom. Nothing on the church schedule fit my evening schedule, but this one did. My own local church absorbed a number of new people into the congregation because we consistently offered high quality online services (including children’s activities) during the quarantine period. I know it’s hard to keep that kind of momentum up, but it happened.

    Christ promised to build His church in Matthew 16. We may not always be very good at it, but He did leave us the church until He comes again. If we as His people truly seek Him, I believe He will show us the way.

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    Linn

    “I hope we never lose the online platform that developed during the pandemic.”

    I think it is here to stay in one form or another, the question is how do we incorporate it as a new reality in our life as the church? I think we still have some issues to sort out…

  10. jtk says:

    How can you REALLY “do church” and be everything the Bible (New Testament) calls us to be as a church if it’s NOT in person?

    I’m not talking about a few months of shut down over covid or persecution in China

    My perspective: African international students who are here and abandon in-person services because it’s not as good as what they are used to so they just watch their home church online.

    It’s an interesting compare-and-contrast as we talk about US nationalism and evangelicalism here.

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    JTK

    If church is an extension of the Incarnation, it seems to me there must be some “physical” aspect…

  12. LInn says:

    Duane,

    I totally agree! It can be for good or ill (just like radio or television have been for churches), and we need to sort it out. However, it does have some really good uses, maybe more for small groups than for large gatherings. But, if I can’t go (which has happened to me often enough due to my long history of hip surgeries), I would much rather be able to attend my own church online than a different one. I don’t think we will get rid of online services, but we can certainly improve them.

  13. Duane Arnold says:

    Linn

    Many thanks for this… if nothing else, it indicates a new landscape.

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