New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Heart of It All

It seemed a fitting title with Hallmark’s big holiday upon us.

I’ve thought a lot about what I wrote about skipping church and read and pondered the comments.

A part of me feels half submerged in a post-modern society. I've read many of the books but on some level it seems as though it's either too inclusive or too ambivalent. Whichever the case, the more I read about postmodernism the more uncertain I become about my role and the role of my church (should I find MY church).

The other half of me feels the pain of the traditional church of my childhood. During that time I was discouraged from asking questions about anything related to church or my beliefs and some of that pain and pride hangs out on my shoulders when I walk through the church doors or when there is hesitation or a strange look at some of the questions I have.

The hardest thing for me is the expectations. I think rather than setting my expectations too high, I go in expecting the worst and then I become detached when I find it. It reminds me of Scripture about setting my mind on the 'good' things and so many lessons I've had on renewing my mind.

I obviously don't have the answers and I obviously need to clear my mind and take the 'no expectations' route but this has proven much more difficult than I could imagine. Especially given my history in this area. I think I can take a certain amount of pain and indifference before I just don't want to 'play' anymore.

There is a quote about how thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character "When you are all alone, no one is observing you. The thoughts that are taking place in your mind is the blue-print of your character." I am concerned about the church-apathy infecting my character, but even more concerned by the church without legs.

The question at the pulse of MY church is asking: Why does the world continue to reject Christ? What are they seeing in ME that repels them from eternal life? and the question becomes the verb that propels the Church! Could it be the Bible is right...our evangelism is only as strong as what's inside each of us? And they will know we are Christians by our love?

I WANT to love you, but I don't know how.

Happy Valentine's Day: may love be the real reason for the season!


オテモヤン said...
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PraiseJunky said...

I must admit that I have also found myself asking questions and wondering where The Church as a whole is heading. Is it just a place where Christians can go and hang out with other Christians? Or is it a place where we can go and get equipped for the "real work". And is anyone wanting to actually do the "walking out the Gospel"?
I hope and pray that answers will come and that it will serve a purpose. I see so many churches dying because they refuse to change with the times while new churches are cropping up everywhere full of young, vibrant Christians that aren't sure where they fit in and how to get involved. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. If we can just figure out how to make it happen.
So it all comes back to what you said......LOVE, showing them the love.
Great post!

Anonymous said...

Captain Obvious said...

I just had a great lunch meeting with a man that is 83 years old who attends the church I used to go to. He's the only one in that building that actually goes out into the world and sacrifices of himself to help other people in need. He feels, and I agree with him, that this is the only way he can begin to appreciate the sacrifice and love that Christ had for humanity. I think this is a great way to live regardless of your personal religious views.

Sadly, my experience with the church sounds quite similar to yours. The world sees this too, they associate it with hypocrisy. I used to lead the teen group at my church. I used to ask a lot of questions, which only my pastor encouraged. He even encouraged me to teach the teen Sunday School in such a manner, with the idea that we would get the teens to start thinking for themselves and hopefully find Christ on their own, through their own searching. The congregation ran him out of the church and I soon followed.

They hated that I would teach biblical ideas about sex. They hated the idea that I taught that we should love homosexuals and treat them no different than anybody else. They hated that I taught that there was no "correct" denomination of protestant religion and even that Catholicism was fundamentally correct.

My belief being that if you believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins they you shall be saved, irregardless of denominational association, seemed to be at serious adds with the board of the church.

My defense was always from scripture, but that still didn't make a difference. Christ never specified a denomination - they hadn't been created yet! And I am willing to bet that Christ would have opposed it. He told the Pharisees that they had it wrong, that their "organization" had blundered it in a big way. Of course they killed him for it. But He knew it had to be that way, loved us enough regardless, all in hope and faith in the Father that we might begin to understand it.

But those of us that do get it shouldn't give up hope. Perhaps we are better off not being associated with a specific church. Perhaps we should go to all of them. And use that as a continuation of our own personal development. I don't know. What I do know is that when asked what one must do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven Christ answered "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself, in doing these you fulfill all the Law and the Prophets."

What I find so important in that is not what Christ said, but rather in what he didn't say. He never specified who your neighbor would be! And he didn't add any other criterion.

He always cut to the chase. It's us that add on all the other extras. It seems that such a gift as eternal life is too great for us to simply accept on the conditions that Christ gave. We as humans continue to add so many other requirements that it becomes impossible to keep them all. Instead of focusing on just loving others we get caught up in trying to keep all the rules and eventually take our eyes off whats most important.

Christ really wants to see us love each other. It was so important to Him that when he saw Peter on the beach, He asked him 3 times "Do you love me?" and each time Peter said yes Lord, you know I do, Christ responded with "Feed my sheep."

Just Gwen (for now) said...

It's nice to know that God loves me just for me and that Christ died so I could know that!