Tag Archives: attendance

97: Talking Church with Dan Dailey

In this episode John and Gregg welcome Dan Dailey, author of the blog post that’s been the subject of the last two podcasts–Episode 96 and Episode 95. Dan’s posts, The Sin of Forsaking Fellowship, is here: https://danieldailey.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/the-sin-of-forsaking-fellowship/ .

John and Gregg talk with Dan to get a better sense of the intentions behind his blog post with the goal of giving him “a fair hearing” regarding his perspective on church and church-going. This after speculating in previous episodes about Dan’s situation and motives.  They’re grateful for Dan’s willingness to dialogue and the opportunity to talk with him firsthand.

John and Gregg both look forward to the listener feedback on this episode.

95: Obligated Church Attendance?

In this episode John and Gregg discuss a blog post entitled “The Sin of Forsaking Fellowship,” by Dan Dailey, first raised in the Untangling Christianity private Facebook group. John wonders about a comment that Gregg left on the blog post.

Gregg explains that he was struck by what he saw as a crucial contradiction at the beginning of the post. For example, the author both appears to be writing from a personal perspective and has made a rather drastic choice for a Christian (to “quit going to church . . . permanently”), yet the author claims that his reasons for making this decision are not relevant to the post. Gregg explains that he finds this misleading (because his reasons for leaving church surely are relevant to the post!) and so wanted the author to know that this approach created distrust for Gregg.

So Gregg underscores that knowing why someone holds a particular perspective, especially where it appears to deviate radically from accepted norms, is essential to understanding the perspective (and perhaps, being persuaded by it). Particularly, the idea of being a Christian but permanently leaving the church is extremely uncommon and so Gregg wants to have information about why this decision was made and why this might be a good decision for others (which Gregg believes the post is advocating).

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91: Kids and Church | Belief vs Understanding

In this episode John and Gregg resume their discussion about church attendance, this time regarding children. John starts by wondering about Gregg’s process in allowing his children to make choices about where to attend church, and also about the difference between teaching our children to believe Christianity, versus to understand (life, and so Christianity).

Gregg explains that it would have seemed deceptive (to his children) if he and his spouse tried to force their children to approach Christianity in a way different from how the two of them were approaching it (i.e., by not allowing them to make at least some of their own decisions, such as where they wanted to attend). Gregg see this as allowing the children to have some information (about Christianity) yet also standing back a bit and allowing Christian experience (and particularly the experience of God) to “unfold” in his children’s lives.

So Gregg hunches that a big reason for the children wanting to come to the church that he and his spouse play is that large role that they saw this church (and especially, Christianity) playing in their parents coming back together after many months of marital separation.

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90: How to Decide on Church

During this episode John and Gregg again discuss church attendance, especially as their earlier conversation on this topic generated much feedback from listeners.

John continues to grapple with the notion that one may abstain from going to church, the more so as he tracks with one of our listener’s who has also pressed pause” on church attendance. John notes that importance of reconsidering what church-going is about, despite the pressure that one is “supposed to” attend and that things might “go wrong” if one doesn’t.

John remains quite concerned about how his current lack of church-attendance will affect his son. Yet he emphasizes that his integrity (in abstaining from church until he has a better understanding of why he would attend and the value of attending is more apparent) and living out that integrity in his family, and to his son, is more important than attending church in the hope that he “ensures his son goes to heaven.”

John summarizes: he cannot educate his son to do and believe something that he cannot do (and does not believe).

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89: Do I Have to Go to Church?

In this episode John and Gregg discuss listener Stephanie’s question: “Is it possible to have an authentic Christian experience without going to church?”

Gregg is enthusiastic that Stephanie developed this conversation in the Untangling Christianity private FaceBook group. He comments on the role of “obedience” in terms of going to church, noting that Hebrews 10:24-5 tends to be cited as “command” to Christians to attend church. Gregg summarizes the greater context of the end of the book of Hebrews by indicating that the focus is on who Jesus is, what Jesus has accomplished (bringing in the new covenant), and what this means for Jews relative to the first covenant.

However, Gregg is wary of finding a harmful circularity in this situation. He explains this by noting that if many Christians equate church attendance with being “obedient to God,” then this means obedience in what sense / to what? In other words, what is the greater cause to which Christians are beholden? And where the reply is often something like: “to be Christ-like,” Gregg would ask the same question: to what end / for what reason?
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