Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thinking Outside the "Church" Box

I had dinner with a friend last night which led to some pretty interesting after dinner conversation that really got me thinking. My husband and I have not seen eye-to-eye about pretty much everything related to church since...well, forever. We have fairly frequent "discussions" regarding this subject that never seem to get resolved; however, after talking with my friend, my eyes have been opened to see a bigger picture. I think my husband would relate very well to my friend's ideas. This friend had some unique ideas. And when I say "unique" I mean that in a good way. She might say she's just crazy, but I would disagree and say that she's done her research, probably a whole heck of a lot of soul-searching and has personally lived many experiences, good and bad, that have brought her to the convictions that she currently has. I won't share her convictions here since they are personal to her and she may not want them exposed on my blog, but this is what she got me thinking about: Why do I feel guilty for missing a church service here and there when I have a personal relationship with a God that wouldn't send me to hell because I stayed home instead of going to church? Isn't there something missing when I can't tell you what the sermon was about 5 minutes after it's over (even when I put forth extra effort to pay attention)? I'm not in true fellowship with other believers when I go to a church service (where I'm supposedly going to fellowship with other believers), I don't talk to anyone and I leave as fast as my legs can get me out the door. Church doesn't benefit me or God or anyone around me when I go out of obligation, to ease a guilty conscience or when I leave unchanged, so what are my motives when I go?

My friend loaned me a book that will probably take me outside my comfort zone, outside of my "going-to-church-every-single-blessed-time-the-doors-are-open-because-that's-what-'good'-Christians-do-ness" and show me why churches in America do the things they do and whether those things are really right, whether they are even Biblical. I want to be changed. I want to stay changed and not go back to my old shallow ways. I want to desire to help the widows and orphans, to not be afraid to reach out to the outcasts, the hurting, the totally messed up in sin people that have the same fate that I had before accepting Christ. I don't want to judge people who are different, who really do have messed up lives, who other Christians avoid. That is going to take a whole heck of a lot of courage and I'm honestly not sure that I'm ready for that, but I know I need to grow and change and actually LIVE the way Jesus lived. That's so cliche, we hear it all the time, but that really is how we are supposed to live. I heard something like this on the radio last weekend: Jesus attracted people who were social outcasts or religious leaders that disagreed with him and hated him, people with no morals, poor character, messed up lives, and they listened to His teachings and followed Him. The church today claims to preach that same message as Jesus, but churches attract people with conservative values, who shun those very people that Jesus drew in by the thousands. So, if we're not attracting the same people as Jesus, then we must not be preaching the same message as Him. Ouch. But how true is that? Even in my own life. Even in the thoughts I have about my own family. I must love everyone. I must see them as Christ sees them and lead them to Him by my example, not with condemnation. I have some serious growing to do.

1 comment:

  1. So... this post made me cry for some reason. (I actually left church crying this evening—not that abnormal for me—so don't feel too bad!) BUT I was just strangely moved by what you had to say and the fact that you want to grow & change. I think the thing about church (like most things in life) is that it is what we make it. We can use it as a crutch, an excuse to not do anything, or it can be another tool in our spiritual arsenal, and a great way to network and meet like-minded individuals. I'm just sick of it being just another Good Deed on my Karma Tracking Chart. I want more.

    I'm excited to see where this opening of our eyes takes us... although I will admit that it makes me terribly nervous. :) Love ya!