Thoughts on Starting a Home Church

2020-05-28 13.00.59

Over on Gunner Q., I asked why American Christians didn’t simply start home churches. The author replied:

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This response is notable, because whenever I ask this question, (as I have, many times) I get precisely this sort of response. It finally dawned on me, this morning, that I’m failing to communicate what I mean.

I will correct myself immediately by defining ‘home church’.

I don’t mean investing tons of money in expensive pulpits, stained glass or lighting.
I don’t mean registering an LLC, or applying for the 501(c) tax exemption.
I don’t mean advertising in print or digital media.
I don’t mean paying some con-artist to “ordain” you as a priest.

Many imagine that priests are required to have special training to lead religious services. This is a depressing illustration of just how illiterate many Americans are.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This is your certificate of ordination. Congratulations! You are now fully qualified to preach, perform marriage, blessing, baptism and funeral rites, and to give the holy eucharist.

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Despite the fancy suit, she is no more qualified than you are.

While the first amendment guarantees that anyone of any religion can legally lead his congregation in America, Protestants have a unique advantage, in that their religious texts and their church fathers have long held up the ideal of an autonomous community of believers.

Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 13.43.38Christian philosopher Martin Luther declared that every believer is a priest.

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St. Paul, the author of the Holy Bible, agrees with Martin Luther.

Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 13.40.47Jesus, the original Christian prophet, wants you to start a home church.

So, why hasn’t the author of this article started a home church, already? His first excuse is the lack of antifeminist men in California. It is somewhat hard for me to believe that a state with Ronald Reagan’s no-fault divorce legislation (including legendarily punitive lifetime alimony laws) isn’t full of men (of all religions) which have complaints about feminism. Even so, here’s what I’d do:

  1. Have some very simple business cards printed up with your name, your phone numbers, and your email address. Buy the minimum quantity, but don’t use the cheapest paper or typesetting.
  2. Don’t call it a home church. Call it a study group.
  3. Train yourself to look for men who might be a good fit for your bible study, and casually mention it when you find a promising candidate.
  4. Move toward disruption. If one of your acquaintances is going through a death, a divorce, or having problems with custody, support that man and invite him over.
  5. Become the alternative to the status quo.

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The Status Quo: Priests Blessing an Abortion Clinic

The author’s second excuse includes some criticism of his immediate circle of friends, who don’t want to risk catching SARS or having trouble with the authorities.  There’s really no reason why a serious man couldn’t get an account at YouTube during the quarantine, and livestreaming some bible verses, prayer and commentary.

Most confrontations with the pigs happen because of obvious problems that are easy to fix. Imagine two cars, speeding through a red light. The pig on duty has to choose between the Mazda with a broken mirror, and a well maintained four-door sedan. We all know who is getting the ticket. Keeping your lawn mowed, your house neat, and your neighbors untroubled will keep you flying safely under the radar.

If you do get a visit from the cops, it is important to be totally honest and forthcoming. You don’t need to boast about holding organized religious services. You’re just meeting up with your brothers informally.

Social atomization is a very real problem, and it will only be fixed by building the infrastructure of a new society, on the decaying carcass of this one. Starting a home church is the antidote to atomization, not a victim of it.

The concept of the home church is uniquely suited both as a source of strength for vulnerable men, and as a source of social criticism. The home church movement in China has been very popular for decades, and despite constant surveillance, there isn’t shit the government there can do about it.

There has never been a better time…

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Author: Boxer

Sinister All-Male Dancer. Secret King of all Gamma Males. Member of Frankfurt School. Your Fave Contrarian!

14 thoughts on “Thoughts on Starting a Home Church”

  1. “Keeping your lawn mowed, your house neat, and your neighbors untroubled will keep you flying safely under the radar.”

    Matt’s recent piece (see here) coheres with this advice. He put it this way:

    “You can act and look like you have class. You don’t have to be rich but you can hold yourself as a gentleman.”

  2. (cross-posted at GunnerQ’s and Boxer’s blog)

    Good challenge from Boxer.

    I did meet weekly with a young man for a couple years, a while back. I did about 1.5 hours of preparation work and then we met for 1-2 hours. I like to think it was helpful for him.
    My wife and I currently have our own services at home, although have not invited anyone.

    Those who attend Orthodox churches may be pleased to hear me admit this, but I do not know anyone from my former Protestant groups that would agree with expecting the men and women to obey the requirements re praying/services (head coverings, sex-appropriate clothing, women cannot teach or have any authority over men). Almost all men accept these for themselves, so single men would be fine, but I assume any couple that came to the “study time” at my home would be offended.

    Boxer’s challenge was about finding/helping men outside of established church groups, which is great. I have tried to help a few people undergoing marital problems; partly just as a friend that cares, and partly with info about what God expects for marriages. This did not look like any kind of formal church, and that is fine. I suspect most men are equally willing to help those they encounter; those encounters also would have no similarity to once-a-week services, such as we associate with “church”.

    One large issue, I suspect, is a combination of the self-isolation that many people choose and the extent to which people refuse to submit to God’s laws. For example, we personally interact with various relatives, two friends, and other than that stay home.
    Two other commenters on GunnerQ’s blog similarly indicated lack of personal connections with non-feminists. Not that “anti-feminism” should be any kind of requirement for me to find a person acceptable… but when that person’s ideals are open rebellion against God, and promote acting out that rebellion, this does present a problem.

  3. My cousin was married to a Greek Orthodox. Aside from the wedding, attended a handful of services. Never saw women with head coverings. There was plenty of “sunday morning nightclub” attire wore by the younger american-greek ladies. Mostly the shoes were out of porn shoot, or ready for a swing on the pole after service.

    When I attended an “eastern orthodox” service in Santa Rosa (Russian / Slavic Orthodox). No one really spoke men or women……aside from the priest. It was chants “Wisdom” was chanted, he held up a bible. read a verse and more ritual. Icons behind curtains kind of thing (where did Jesus ever say to do do this???????)

    I didn’t see women in head coverings there either….a few older women in hats, I suppose that is considered a head covering. It was near their Easter, and after the service one was explaining the Orthodox tradition of walking around the church many times, and then knocking on the door of the church, and there will be no answer because Jesus is in heaven, and not on earth.

    What I don’t understand about Orthodoxy, I keep hearing its the “pure” church as christ intended. I have read the new testament many times……never saw anything like I saw in orthodoxy mentioned. Including icons.

  4. The early church faced persecution and death…like they do today in parts of the Middle East, Pakistan, China…..and other areas of the world. They met in homes with no praise band. The early church….many of them didn’t even have the “letters” that paul wrote. They did have from accounts, or the power of what jesus said. His words. His truth. They KNEW how to pray. Not to a saint. Not to mary. Not to some martyr. Not to an angel. Not an ordained priest who went to seminary, or had years and years of “training”

    It was man in a home fellowship who was prayed up, full of the holy spirit and full of expectation.

    It was indeed a community that probably suffered. Who would hire a man who maybe could read, get a job in Rome with some sort of administration…but would not throw incense to caesar because he believed jesus. Today? “Ah so what, god understands why I did this so I could provide for my family”

    What of a community like this in marriage? Young man works in jobs in those early church days that “nobody wanted” because he would not “worship caesar” or “make a payment to the local city diety” in order to buy and sell int he local market. Was he a loser?

    In today’s world, he is. In the the man-o-sphere, he is. Then, it was understood that their faith, and trust in christ was the only thing that mattered.

    Home church for the most part will not work today for the fact it takes time, work, effort, sweat, a prayer life that most could never do….and a LOVE and CONCERN of their fellow man. The closets thing we have are in home fellowship “bible studies” which don’t really count right?

  5. Jason wrote What I don’t understand about Orthodoxy, I keep hearing its the “pure” church as christ intended. I have read the new testament many times……never saw anything like I saw in orthodoxy mentioned. Including icons.

    Absolutely agree. Sorry if my early comment suggested I think the Orthodox church has no problems. Jason correctly mentions several of the more blatant problems:
    – praying to anyone other than God – 1 Timothy 2:5-6. I should admit that not all Orthodox do this. Not sure if this is “official doctrine” or if there are just a bunch of people there that are confused
    – having a curtain to separate the “holy part” of the church from the unwashed, ignorant masses. God tore the curtain in the temple in two after Jesus’s sacrifice; we no longer need any human priest.
    – claim that their church is the only (or pure) church. Again, to be fair, not all Orthodox people have this false and arrogant belief. Some admit that you need God, not their religious organization. But, from personal experience, some of the priests will tell you that you cannot get to heaven without them. Gee, I thought Jesus was my lord and saviour, not you…

    I do not mind the icons, if they are only for the sake of beauty or to urge the people to good deeds by promoting someone who excelled in some area of obedience. Maybe we put up a picture of Jason, as he actually worked on the streets to help the poor!
    An orthodox church is vastly more beautiful than any protestant church I have been to.

  6. Oh, and it is interesting that Jason reports none of the Orthodox churches he went to required proper attire for women. In the slavic churches I have been to, this has been adhered to, at least 99%. I have no idea if this due to social pressure from the other people, or whether the leaders say something. But it is consistent.

    Yet more proof that I do not know everything 🙂 Thanks Jason.

  7. This isn’t just a rip on orthodoxy. I would ask many a sunday morning at The Salvation Army “are we following william booth, or jesus?” No doubt Booth was a very diligent, and probably holy on a level for people to indeed admire. Yes, even its very watered down form today…………some Sally’s are to be emulated as probably righteous, but in holiness there, I was considered a legalist (I wasn’t). Doesn’t matter at this point.

    The biggest thing in the Sally Army that I was always told by others was that since “we don’t perform baptism” and “we did not clebrate the lords supper” we were all going to hell, and our faith was not of god.

    The Army broke off Methodism and was considered a “heretic” church. The Salvation Army is really only a “holiness movement” and not really a church per say. We did not perform most sacraments because “your life now is a sacrament anew in christ” but if someone wants a baptism, we would call up the local Nazarene church and they would come over and perform a baptism. If a Salvtionist went to a church and offered communion, it was allowed. “It can be a beautiful thing, but that isn’t a ticket to heaven” was the saying.

    I have never had a communion. Catholics won’t let you. Orthodox, no. Even at my mothers funeral, she a had high Episcopol service (COE) I could not take communion. I wasn’t episcopol of that that traditional diocese that split off and became a part of the COE in Jamacia and Argentina.

    This is where I also found myself more confused, and realized most of this faith is really just “made up”

  8. I have never had a communion. Catholics won’t let you. Orthodox, no. Even at my mothers funeral, she a had high Episcopol service (COE) I could not take communion. I wasn’t episcopol of that that traditional diocese that split off and became a part of the COE in Jamacia and Argentina.

    When I was living in a Catholic city, I sometimes went up to the front. If you clasp your hands together, the priest will give you a blessing. You could probably take communion in such a church (I’ve never seen anyone told ‘no’) but I never did, just out of respect.

    Ty sent me a link to the Episcopal church’s Book of Common Prayer. There’s no reason a serious believer and a few friends couldn’t use it to bless and distribute the eucharist for themselves.

  9. Yes, the church my cousin was married in….frescos on the ceilings and walls done by artists from Greece…..beautiful. I climbed to the top left tower by stairs in Cologne Cathedral in what was then called West Germany in 1987 when I lived there as an exchange-student in 1986-1987 (they don’t let you do that now). It was one of the most beautiful places I was ever inside.

    The cultural COE that I was raised as……a high resplendent Victorian era church I remember going to twice a year in Albany. The wood craving. The pipe organ made in London in the 1870’s……the vestments and robes. Beautiful.

    What did turn me on more to straight protestantism was more of the “who cares” are people being transformed? Repenting? Walking out the church changed for the better? A cinderblock church next to an AA spot and the free clinic I would assume to hear more truth than I would any of the above traditions (beautiful as they are)

  10. The Book of Common Prayer, I have my mothers copy. I compared it to a new printing. Pretty grim. When in the UK, I did go to morning prayers every day while in Manchester at the medieval cathedral. The Vicar was from Kenya, and spoke that crisp, distinct British English that I find comforting in these people. I was cultural enough when I knew when to stand, kneel, recite……….and then the prayers or the Queen and the duke, the Jack…the ten of spades. The prayers…..but the hymn at the end. Just beautiful hymns that are from scripture, to an organ……….then the bells would ring as we were dismissed. Was it crowded? No. The Vicar, and maybe three or four others in this vast cavern of a once proud faith

  11. “There’s no reason a serious believer and a few friends couldn’t use it to bless and distribute the eucharist for themselves.”

    I concur. Our family had communion on Good Friday. I administered it. It was part of our online church service, lending to a respectful attitude, but it was essential that we physically take part. The way that it was just our family doing it in remembrance of Christ gave it a deeper meaning for us than if we had done it in a church.

  12. Boxer,
    Thank you for this great post! It boggles my mind that you were God’s chosen instrument to write it! God truly is inscrutable, and His ways are higher than our ways. I have great hope for you yet!
    You have rightly pointed out, our friend, Gunner Q ‘s excuses, like so many others also would make.
    Bravo!

    “Despite the fancy suit, she is no more qualified than you are.”
    LOL That is a master troll, Boxer! I salute you!
    How can any man refuse to lead his own household, when some country-fried carpet-muncher in a cheap black suit is ready and willing to act as his role replacement?
    I truly think this post was almost perfect.
    Except after citing 1 Peter 2:9 you commented:
    “St. Paul, the author of the Holy Bible, agrees with Martin Luther.”
    It’s even worse! For those who won’t start their own churches, the book of first Peter was actually written by Saint Peter, the very man Christ’s church was first led by, and whom Catholics claim as their first Pope. It is the first head of the church, “the purported first Pope”, that was agreeing with Martin Luther, and calling us a royal priesthood. LOL Was that an intentional troll too? Great verses! Thanks again Boxer.

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