Well here's the deal.
It's been a while since I posted and I am kind of behind (good thing I didn't actually make any sort of commitment about posting to anyone) so I am going to try to post something today, even though I have many other things I should do today.
I have been kicking around several ideas for the past few months, maybe not so much ideas as thought processes. Any way, my thoughts about church and what it means to BE the church and what roll institutions play in said roll. Mostly due to some blogs that I regularly read and a couple of books I have read combined with my own discontent in my current position spiritually (if that makes any sense at all). So a few months ago I start questioning things, things that I believe or have believed. Through this process I have come to some new conclusions about what it means to be the church, but I am still pretty clueless as to how I fit into that and where to start.
This has been an issue of some debate in my house and caused a few misunderstandings.
Especially since my wife is a confirmed Lutheran and feels most comfortable in a liturgical setting and I was brought up as a Southern Baptist where the main focus is getting people saved and Hell-fire and brimstone preaching. We have had a few disagreements on certain issues But mostly I think it's mis-communication.
Which brings me to Sunday, at the as-of-yet-unnamed-consolidation-of-five-Lutheran-churches. This is the building where we were married and we both really love the people there(most of them anyway) and it is where my wife wants to take the kids. So I can accept and embrace that.
I really do and almost always did like it there, we stopped going there over some incidents that involved our kids, no one was injured or anything though.
The point to this is we have gone back for the past 2 weeks and I still have my issues with just being in an institution that is more like an exclusive club than a part of the body of Christ.
There are also now 2 pastors at this new church we heard each one last week and one this week. Oh did I mention that the first is Female? That is a different experience for me, not hearing women preach but having them be a pastor. That is not the reason I am writing this at all, although it does add to my story.
I have had all of these conflicting thoughts about returning to a "church" at all and when my wife asked me if I wanted to go with her and the kids I just said yes because I like to be with them and it is my day off now that God put like the best job ever right in front of me.
So as we were there and we came to the part of the service where there is a sermon (something I have sort of decided is not really necessary for people who are the CHURCH) the male pastor (Jerry something) is talking about living the gospel about being outward focused and about the research he has done on what the Lutheran churches that are surviving are doing.
What he found is that the ones who are able to hold things together are the ones who are the most accepting and outward focused. Those churches that are more concerned with the community around them and the needs of those people than they are about the survival of the "EXCLUSIVE CLUB"(his actual words there).
It was God, once again confirming something that I think and pushing me in that direction. So,
will I become a confirmed Lutheran? I doubt it, but I have been a member of that church since the pastor who married us told me I was. I also think that if this is the way we are going to be led then this may be the place for me to start. For me to find what part I actually play in this ministry. God is showing me that maybe the building isn't a must, but fellowship with believers is. Blog land is great and I can bounce ideas off of others safely here. It's easy here, most of the people I dialog with here I have never met in person. But real relationship is different and that is what God is calling us all to. Not that I am going to stop questioning, I think that is actually an important part of growing in Christ. But I also need to accept some things and with all of it's limitations, the institution is doing more together than I can do on my own and I desperately want to do something more than talk about what we need to do.
Not that I do nothing, but I know God wants more of me, more than I want to give and I believe that this is the place that He wants me to start Living out my faith in new ways. Who knows? Maybe I will have a subversive influence in this group too, you never know. Heck, God can use a donkey, right?
So that's it, God has spoken to me and I am giving in. SO THERE. Peace