Lone Ranger Christianity

Helen Lee writes: “It’s fine to use religious media as an addition if you are part of a local Christian community,” says Lindsay. “It becomes problematic if you have no binding commitment to a local community and you become a Lone Ranger Christian. Before long your faith becomes something you put on and off like a jacket.”

I realize that last line is a bit extreme, but I must say, in my experience Christian media is indeed no substitute for Christian community, despite the struggles we sometimes face in getting along with Christians very different to us. I know some of you are lone rangers however. I am interested in hearing more of your stories.

6 thoughts on “Lone Ranger Christianity

  1. I read the rest of the article that you quoted excerpt from and saw this:
    ‘Instead of trying to win underchurched people back to a traditional church context, leaders say the approach to bringing Private, Cultural, and non-Christians into the church is relational and outward-looking rather than programmatic and inward-focused. Lindsay notes many Christians who are not involved in traditional churches are “much, much more interested in personal connection. The ways in which they nourish their faith are through home churches or one-on-one Bible study or non-church related small groups.’
    I believe this is correct for the 21st century. I am leery of the term ‘lone ranger’ used by the author when there is no acknowledgement of WHY many leave established christian institutions and so forth. These institutions often shape the lone ranger syndrome. To state a persons spiritual faith goes ‘on and off like a jacket’ is just plain arrogant and delusional. It is this arrogance and global, sweeping statements that contributes to the so called lone ranger syndrome evidenced today.
    Forsake not the gathering together etc says the Bible. The Bible also says beware the Pharisees! For myself i am neither lone ranger nor an established church goer who feels the dire need to identify with a particular man made religious construct. I believe many utilise churches as an escapism and to feel safe. Kudos to those who remain authentic to self and God whilst identifying with a church and community. The world is a church in my view. Take the leap of faith and live life without the deluded notion one must ID or stick like glue to an institutionalised version of God.
    PS where are the church leaders speaking out and protesting against the genocidal slaughter of Palestinians in the name of a manmade ideology? Yet to see them speak out… A primary example of how the dumbed down masses within insititutions do not want to address reality….

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  2. I haven’t been part of a local group of Christians for a very long time. (Some may even say that I never have been.) Anyhow, I miss it greatly.
    Tim Keller makes the point, and I think that it is valid, that Christianity is a communal faith, not a private one. He really encourages Christians to gather together and I think it’s time for me to come out of my shell.

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  3. It seems there is a formula for what constitutes a church meeting. 2 or 3 people meeting around the person of Jesus equals church. Should those same 2 or 3 gather in the name of say, their church; it doesn’t produce the same promised presence of Jesus. This should be a noticeable absence. “Hey, wait, there’s no groom?”
    Additionally, I would never wish “Christian Media” on anyone. Unless, of course, I truly wanted to turn them off from the grace of God! hehe.

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  4. Mary
    Yes, I think it is important to distinguish between ‘communal but not institutional’ Christianity and what might more authentically be labelled ‘lone ranger’ Christianity. Institutional types do have a tendancy to confuse one with the other. In fact, in thinking about this further, I think there would be a lot of people who would be hard to pidgeon hole. I for instance find I am a bit of all three. I value solitude and solitary practice, yet I can also claim formal church membership, yet I also have a very wide informal network and have run underground house church gatherings and the like. I suppose its a matter of degree more than hard and fast boxes. I think the essential point is that there are people out there that forsake community altogether, and with Christianity being such a communal religion that is problematic. As you rightly object though, this should propt the church to engage in critical self reflection. Why do people do this? Why do so many reject communion with Christians even as they cling to Christ? A loving response should surly involve actively listening to the alienated. I similarly get angry when clergy dismiss it simply as backsliding or insufficient faith.
    As for church leaders speaking out against the ‘collateral damage’. I know plenty of leaders who speak against it, the problem is they have no voice. The media loves the misanthropes, not the moderates, so who do you think they’re gonna give airplay too? As for the pet churches of national governments who are big enough to make waves independantly, well they got where they are precisely because of their faustian bargains; they’re hardly about to bite the hands that feed them now are they? Independants who value vunerability – they’re there – they’re just not heard.

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  5. reamofpaper, I think he is also incorporating electronic communication like this in “Christian media”.
    You’re right to mention the ‘noticeable absence’ too. Churching is more than 2 or 3 of us sitting in a coffee shop chewing the cud. That’s just a headless body.

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