The best thing about my married life is that I can & do talk with my husband for hours. And I mean hours! We recently traveled hour a 8-9hr trip and I think we talked the nearly the whole time. Worst part about this sometimes we forget that other people don’t actually think/believe like we do. …and I can’t tell you how many downfalls that brings. We are that couple that when people meet us, they love us at first, but then get sick of us seemingly just as quickly. We’re kind of a novelty item.
This probably shows up the worst for things we believe in the most.
We are Christians, and we don’t go to church buildings for Sunday, Saturday, or any other midweek services. So… Mostly that makes us outside “the church” …apparently. We’re ok with that! There’s a lot of work to do out here! Yet we find that lots of people begrudgingly even considers part of the Christian faith because of this one thing. Apparently we are being a bad example. Good Christians “go to church”, but my husband & I have no idea what that means. So we asked some people!
We asked some good Christian people what “church” is… And they told us: the people!
We thought this was great news! We love meeting with people and talking about life and God and where we are in modern history, ect. But apparently that’s not church, either. We simple misunderstood and/or asked the wrong question. If one is to “go to church” one must ask a Christian “What is a proper expression of local church gathering within the confines of modern understanding of the forebears of ‘church’ history and interrupted through modern day theologians and promising statics?”
Unfortunately my husband & I were too simple to understand what we we’re suppose to ask in order to receive the correctly mapped out answer. However we weren’t too stupid to know to check the answers. After asking “what is church” we sake those same people to describe their church (you can try it, this is fun!) and those same good Christians began to tell us about programs, events, low-level hype, and maybe conceptual rules of engagement. …but never about one living person, let alone the living system of people which supposedly all engaged in these events & programs.
It happened every time and without a thought. These good Christians were trained to a cue that we didn’t even mean to trigger, and they had no idea of the unrelated-ness that was spewing out their mouth because they were trained.
My husband recently wrote a great article about how we “left the church indefinitely”. I think it went down really well. People started asking questions, questions lead to more questions, more questions lead to accusations, accusations lead to… Oh well actually we’re still dealing with it and not sure what will come next. It turns out we sent forth a different kind of cue this time. It turns out we do not define church as many others might define church, and this is has to be corrected …apparently.
So the issue of “what is church” now hides under the identity of “what is local church look/act like”. Yet I find this to be like those kids movies were the bad guy (or good guy) disguises himself with a hat & a pair of glasses, and somehow no one recognizes him. Or how about the idea of “healthy fast food”?
The disguise is weak.
We are still justifying programs, events, and concepts and saying that proximity to other people counts as fellowship of the believers, which is basically close enough to the original idea of “church”. Seriously?
If healthy fast food is all the more you want to do, then I cannot convince you of the joys of gardening. But I assure you, I know something you don’t know. 🙂 I’ve worked food service, I’ve worked “church ministries”. I’ve “worked” multiple gardens, I’ve lived & tasted life outside the buildings, programs, and glib concepts of self-declared “church”. The proof is in the taste.
Changing the wording does not change the issue, I assure you. The issue is the concept and practice do not match… and apparently everyone is ok with that! This isn’t about hypocrisy, it’s about sleeping on the job. It’s about sleeping while Jesus weeps because the hour grows nigh, and we didn’t even notice something different about this time.
Ask me about God. Ask me about the Bible. Ask me about sports. Ask me about my husband. But don’t ask me to call that systematic machine “church”. I love the church, she’s my mother, and that is not her…