Saturday, October 20, 2007

Revolution? whatever

Tonight I am tired, not sure why but I have had sinus problems all day sine I woke up. But, I was off today and I am really happy about that !
The real subject here is about something I am not sure what to call.
I first heard of Brian McLaren on Kansas Bob's blog. Since then I have been watching videos, reading stuff {including scripture} and thinking.
I can't say that church has no place in my life. But for me it has become less relevant as far as what I actually do in my spiritual walk with God. I love going to church, I think fellowship is very important , even vital to the believer.
What I don't see is the fruit of all of this work that goes on in churches , I know many people sacrifice to work or give to the church they attend.
I guess the point of all this is to say , I'm not sure where I am as far as being fixed in a certain statement of faith according to a certain denomination. I have felt for a long time that no one religious sect has it all right. I think we are all fallible and that religion is very much a human effort to reach God.
I have been in this mode of questioning for a while, Not that I doubt the fundamental truths (yes I said truths) of Christianity. I absolutely believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man . I believe the apostle's creed.
I feel like I have actually grown away from a lot of religious activity. I mean is activity what God wants from us? And if it is , what kind? Where? What is the motivation? Are we supposed to give 10% of our gross income to a church then drive right past homeless people standing on street corners or ignore the neighbors we have had for 2 years? Should we spend all of our time doing "church work" and sacrifice the relationship with our own families? Should I Force Christianity down my 15 or 20 year olds throat and expect them to just blindly accept what I say even though for years I acted worse that they do?
What does all of this mean ? Why are we here? How can I best be a representative of Christ to those who need Him most in my day to day?
Honestly , I'm not always sure. But one thing that church has taught me about that is what not to do. As a child my family attended a very popular unnamed denomination.
This was the place where I first learned about Jesus and first had that desire to know Him. Also it was the place where I was first alienated by "Church Folks" because I didn't fit in their mold of what a young Christian should be ( funny they didn't either ). I decided back then (when I was 16 ) that I didn't want to be a part of this group ( see unnamed ) .
Is that what God wants from me? To drive people from my presence ( and His ) with a set of rules or beliefs that don't allow them selves to be questioned?
Jesus may have spoken in riddles to some people, but he didn't refuse to be questioned . Why should I be above that ? What is wrong with saying that I don't know , I don't have it all together , I may be wrong?
So , I suppose I am asking for input and wondering what others are thinking or if , you know , I might be coming to some unrealistic conclusions .

Oh yeah I also finished the David Crowder book ,
I really enjoyed it and laughed a lot . I highly recommend it to any one .


Kristen said...

I think I'm struggling with a lot of the same things. What I try to do is just think about Jesus, since I'm following him. He wouldn't have given 10% to church and then ignored the homeless people on the street. He wasn't about lots of rules and making people feel excluded because they couldn't live up to the rules. He turned the tables on the rules - he was revolutionary, radical - he spoke out against the religious and social order. I think Jesus would rather we find one small way every day to serve him and help someone else with love and grace, than make it to church every single Sunday and volunteer on a gazillion committees and stuff like that.

I keep feeling guilty for not participating in all the other stuff involved with church, but time and time again the Lord has shown me that my job right now is to spend time with my family. I believe that canoeing with my family on a Sunday morning, being out in nature and praising God for the beautiful world, is just as worshipful as being in church. And, sometimes I get MORE out of that - I have more of a connection with God that way.

Sorry to write so much here. I think it's my long way of saying that I agree with you. :-)

Johanna said...

We are struggling with the same basic concept, on many levels.There is never enough to do for our church, the need is endless, and the end result, for me, is a feeling of not having done enough, and having come up short, guilty. Yet the feeling I have from running out into the street and handing money to the woman I overheard pleading for donations for gas to pick up her kids, or giving people down on their luck but mechanically savvy, my old car, or bringing eggs to my neighbor I know has no working refrigerator,brings me tremendous satisfaction and peace, more so than vacuuming the church for a childless middle age couple who has declined, or picking up nursery duty in a church of at least a hundred, 4 of which man the nursery, when 3 kids in there are my own. The monetary need of the church, I know firsthand, is nothing compared to the need of children whose teeth are rotting out, elderly who can't afford their medication they need to survive. The enormous mortgages of New Age church plantations pale in comparison of their surrounding neighbor's extreme poverty.Rather than produce banana bread for the bake sale, it makes me want to make banana bread for the neighborhood, and set out eggs and herbs, with a "Free, take some" sign. We are poor, but we are blessed. We are all years way from where we've been, but realistically, a weekend away from the homeless shelter or worse. Anything can happen, and i know I remember every single teeny tiny kindness paid to me by anyone, ever. Your kindness, out of nowhere, led me back to God because I remembered, somewhere back deep, that I wanted to be like you. Every kindness we pay to someone else makes them wonder why, sadly, in this day and age. And the answer is Jesus, every time, and that will net more fish than a thousand years of banging on doors and berating people, "use words if necessary". We don't tell them ,we show them. And you showed me.

Suztash said...

Shaun and commentators,
I understand and agree with much of what you say concerning the furious, empty activity of the churches. I distinguish churches from Church, because there is always a core and steady, flowing undercurrent of the Holy Spirit driven believers who are actually doing what God is directing them to do. Maybe we can separate them into Marys and Marthaa. The problem with JUST meeting God in nature and having meaningful meetings with Him, is that it is nourishing to us as individuals, but we have children, too. Are they being brought into this "time" with God? I am glad that you experience God's presence and sweet communion with Him. Bu8 even Jesus went to the temple and synagogue and met with other faithful worshippers. But, He made a difference. That is something we need to do in our churches. We don't change the Church for the better by staying away from gathering there. God wants the "true worshippers", the ones that do "get it" to show the rest of us the way! Bring your gifts, not the banana breads and the vacuuming and the nursery care, but your true gifts of reverence, love and devotion, your worship and Spirit-led service to the altar and let others see what God intended Christians to look like. God is definitely sifting through and refining His Church. There is an old saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water". The Church needs its pure in heart, those for whom God is searching, the ones who worship Him in spirit and in truth. Don't write off the Church because of pseudo believers. Isn't that what the enemy of God would want? Besides, what do non-believers see when Christians abandon their churches? What is left for people who are searching to resort to? If they see your good works touching their lives and wish to turn to God, where will you direct them and will they see you there or encounter a marginalized martha? Though I am engaged in my church, I am praying always for revival, reformation, and refining in its members. We need to be God's presence in our churches! Find one that suits your style and be God's presence there! Be a force for God in that place.