Monday, May 23, 2005

More about the "House-church"


The first churches were what they called "house-churches." Since this coming-together in homes was the original pattern of Christianity, they must have thought that this fine idea was the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So do I!

Historically, it was only when the orthodox Church started to buy real estate that it needed to collect relatively large sums of money, to pay for the building and land. This first occurred nearly four centuries after the death of Jesus. So, for over three hundred years, the early Christians met in simple homes. "Congregations," or groups of believers, rarely numbered more than ten or so. The result? Loving, warm, caring "families" of spirituality. (When a house-church got more than ten to fifteen regular members, one in the group opened up her home, and a "sister" house-church was formed.)

These intimate groups fostered and supported direct and regular interaction. Each person was a real part of the lives of the others; their lives were interwoven, and they truly cared for, and about, each other. Besides the house-churches, they often saw each other during the week.

Are there any "house-churches" today? Yes, but they are not "organized" into a large corporation. Too much of the Church is, today, a corporate venture, in the sense that it is a real corporation. It is institutional, and detached, and the people are not as close, or as closely interwoven, as was possible in the simple little house-churches. So, as an "institution," churches have grown cold and impersonal.

Back to history: When the first "Church-buildings" were constructed, the Church got into real estate. This cost big bucks. Big bucks attracted and created corruption, so the original innocence of the house-church was lost, with its simpllicity and warm brightness. In following this unfortunate pattern of formality, in emphasizing the size of the congregation instead of its Love-quality, the Church lost very much

All formal patterns of Catholicism and Protestantism followed the formalized arrangement of the Church. All spent fortunes building elaborate, often expensive, buildings. This put terrific pressure on the members, especially those who were poor.

All of this has been said to come to this nuclear idea: We have established a house-church that is as simple and warm as one can be. It is like an early gnostic or sufi group. Those are the finest role-models from history. We gather only once every two weeks, because it is such a busy world. We meet in a most lovely room, in the garage, called the "Pneumarium". This word means, "Place of Spirit." The group is called "the Pneumarium family."

It is small. Usually, fewer than ten people show up. We are not strangers, but people who really want to be parts of each others' lives. I feel very powerfully that the Holy Spirit of Love has called us to this

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