Simple Church

It’s exactly a month since my last post. I have been doing a lot of reading and a similar amount of thinking about many things including my faith and how that is expressed in my life.

I heard a story today about a boy who struggles to read and write but really enjoys reading Bible stories. For various reasons, the boy only gets to do this when he visits his grandfather during the school holidays and for this reason he describes himself as only ‘half Christian’.

Some days, I’d say that’d be a pretty accurate label for me. I struggle with mainstream denominational church and what the Christianity ‘brand’ seems to represent. Likewise, I feel uncomfortable with the literalism and selective interpretation of much that is presented to those who attend church.

Rather than being put off by these aspects as I would in the past, I have been trying to look for ways in which I can connect with God in a way that has more meaning, less baggage and make a positive impact on others.

In reading what others have written on their own search for a more authentic church experience, I found a good many references to house churches, simple churches and their like. After a enjoyable workday lunch hour spent browsing pre-loved books in Evermore Books, I came away with a book called Simply Church. Written by Tony & Felicity Dale, the book provides a good introduction to house church movement.

Slim enough to read in one day, the book basically covers the scriptural foundations for house churches and covers the increasing number of simple church and house church networks around the world. The premise of a simple home-based church modeled on the meals and meetings of the New Testament Apostles seems more authentic than the denominational services I have been to and a more direct way to engage with God. Certainly something I shall be reading and praying on more in the weeks to come. You can read more on these types of churches at House2House and Simply Church.


While in Evermore, I also picked up an old copy of the Good News Bible. I remembered the logo from my childhood and as I flicked through the pages I was delighted to rediscover the wonderfully evocative illustrations of Swiss artist Annie Vallotton. Since than and via the Amazon Marketplace, I have also scooped up a copy of Priority, the English translation of Valloton’s 1969 French language book, PrioritĂ©. This book is a simple retelling of Jesus’ life in sixty drawings with selected scriptures.

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4 Responses to “Simple Church”

  1. Casey Freeland says:

    It’s so interesting that you posted this. I’m currently listening (see: reading) a book by Brandon Sanderson called The Final Empire: Mistborn. It’s a fantasy novel, but the premise is that the big bad guy (devil or whatever) has won and what the world is like three thousand years later. But more importantly it’s about our struggle back to hope and kindness and love, the reawakening of what is the best is humanity.

    Within the story, there is a character representing a people who have dedicated their lives to preserving the knowledge of all the religions that existed before big bad dude took over.

    Some of the things this character says are really having a deep impact on me. He talks about the value of every person and (significantly) every person’s beliefs and every religion. Every religion. In the case of this book that covers some 600 different systems.

    Anyway, whenever I read (see: hear) anything like this it gives me hope and sets me on the path of respecting all beliefs. As the Eagles say, “I got a peaceful, easy feeling.”

    Whatever belief fits you, is the one you should pursue. So it makes me very happy to hear you moving in that direction.

    Take Care,


  2. Casey

    As always, thanks for the thoughtful comment, especially as I suspect you’re the only reader hanging in there for months between posts! Your comment is either serendipitous or prescient as I am currently drafting a follow-up on religious pluralism.



  3. Noah says:

    Good stuff – I just hit you up on Twitter. We’re down in Christchurch pursuing simple church stuff here… just shifted here from the states. Would love to hear where your heads at on this stuff, etc.


  4. Hey Noah & Kate
    Thanks for dropping by! Got you followed on Twitter and had a 60 second look at your website before hitting the road early this morning. I will definitely contact you back-channel to swap notes and pick your brains, probably after our open house ‘pot-luck’ dinner this evening.

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