Encouraging Intimacy With God through Church Relationships

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Does any one believe that the setting of a local church contributes to the intimacy or lack of intimacy we can experience with God and with each other? That is, in what atmosphere do you think close knittedness thrives?

-- Stephanie Bennett (steffasong@aol.com), May 08, 2000


Steph, by "setting" do you mean physical setting? i.e. living room, verses rented building. If that is what your question is, I would vote for living room, all the time. For me it is much easier to be open, honest and develop intimacy in a living room, rather than a rented church facility.

We do from time to time, fellowship with a small foursquare church that is making real progress in moving forward towards a more relational participatory setting. But, for me, it is still hard to feel as free there, as I do in my living room. Ron fellowships there consistantly, and probably feels differently. I think he feels as free there, as he does in a living room. But for me it is harder.

One interesting take off on this topic---- we are meeting in our home with some couples. One couple seems pretty dogmatic about women submitting to her husband and women's place in the church and etc. We were thinking about having a big dialogue about it, but I thought we should table it until our relationships got stronger. But.... I brought up the fact that we all agree pretty well on practice.... IOW no one has a problem with all the women sharing and talking equally when we meet. In fact it is hard to find someone who thinks women should not teach, who has a problem with women sharing in a home setting in a living room.

Of course I had to bring up, that I thought this was real church as I read it in the new testament, so I got a bit argumentative and said, so obviously you believe women *can* talk in church.

Ohwell... just a side line.


-- Barry Steinman (barry@discountchristian.com), May 08, 2000.

Some interesting perspective Barry. Thanks. Yes, I was referring to living room versus building.

There's something about the atmosphere of a private residence. It is much more conducive to openness and informality. This is not to say that there cannot be intimacy or close relationships without it, but I have found that the kitchen table or living room provides a non- threatening, hospitable environ that makes it a bit easier to 'let our hair down' and relate to each other.

The other part of my question involved intimacy with God. I'm not sure that any particular environment lends itself better to the development of intimacy with Him. What do you all think? It's more when we begin to see that our bodies are the temples of the Living God, and that wherever we travel, there He is... that we can fellowship with Him no matter where we are, that we begin to grow in intimacy with Him.

What do you think?

In Christ, STeph

-- Stephanie Bennett (steffasong@aol.com), May 09, 2000.

Hey gang! Thanks Steph for kicking this off. As Barry mentioned , I am very comfortable in both situations. (buildings and living rooms) I find each has a component that stirs different areas of my heart. In the larger building setting the exuberent group praise and worship often exceeds what people find "appropriate" or comfortable in a living room (or possibly smaller space) Yet in the home setting dialogue of a more personal level and things such as prayer seem to me to work better. I also feel meeting out doors has it's own component. Something about nature that seems to encourage contemplation or devotion.

Not sure if these things are just developed by our personal styles or "good or bad" experiences with these places, but they each have a different "feeling" to me. In my case, my preference is an even balence of each. I see this in the scriptures as Jesus was in the temple court, in homes and on the seashore with his ministry.

As to closeness to God I would say it is the same as above. I can be unresponsive in all places or recieve His fulness in any one of them.

-- Ron Juncal (ron@studio2artists.com), May 09, 2000.

Intimacy with each other is anywhere where 2 or more see God together. I think the answer to Where is God from an "explanation of the Baltimore Catechism" provides some direct and simple insight.

15 Q. Where is God? A. God is everywhere. "Everywhere" not spread out like a great cloud, but whole and entire in every particular place: and yet there is only one God, and not as many gods as there are places. How this can be we cannot fully understand, because this also is a mystery. A simile, though it will not be perfect, may help you to understand. When we speak of God, we can never give a true and perfect example; for we cannot find anything exactly like Him to compare to Him. If I discharge a great cannon in a city, every one of the inhabitants will hear the report; not in such a way that each hearer gets his share of the sound, but each hears the whole report, just as if he were the only one to hear it. Now, how is that? There are not as many reports as there are persons listening; and yet each person hears the whole report.

-- Doug Mikula (dmikula@att.com), May 10, 2000.

Greetings Barry, Steph, and you other brothers and sisters that I've never heard of before. Thanks for the invite Barry. It is timely as I've been sensing the need for a more *intimate* discussion list. It gets hard to communicate when there is 150 or so on a list. Like your question Steff!

as far as intimacy with each other goes there is no question imho that the smaller less formal type gathering is more conducive for relationship building. However we are finding out it's the hunger the desire for intimacy for God that is the crucial environment. It seems when you gather in a small group everything is magnified. eg. hunger, apathy, blindspots, transparency. It can be very good and it can be very bad. Barry your comments about the women submission thing bring up lots of scenarios of how we can focus on side issues and be sidetracked a lot.

as far as intimacy with God, I agree with Steph and Ron. It doesn't seem to be limited to a living room environment. It seems more conducive to the environment of the hearts of those gathered rather than the outward physical settings. Years ago I visited prayer mountain in Korea where 10,000 Christians where fasting and praying. There definetly was intimacy with God there. As in the OT wherever the Ark went God's presence was sure to be whether in the tent or at someones house.

-- Ken Matheson (kmat@spacestar.net), May 10, 2000.

Wayne, good thoughts on the opening. Welcome others! I loved the thought of 10,000 people on prayer mountain being intimate. This makes it clear that intimacy is dictated by attitude. This is where IMHO we must all start in our relations to others, whether in "our kind of meeting place " or not.


-- Ron Juncal (ron@studio2artists.com), May 11, 2000.

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