This was originally posted last year, but it’s on my mind again today… Reading a “secular” textbook this morning about the roots of Americans’ tendency to define themselves by the work they do and came across this: “Calvin’s doctrine of predestination led his followers [to view] success in work…as a visible sign that one was […]
I’m not giving up on the Church…
Despite some unfortunate evidence to the contrary, I believe that the church can be a place where broken and hurting people of all stripes can go to find Jesus shared and reflected in the lives of leaders and members. I believe that it can be a sanctuary where poor, struggling, addicted, mentally ill, self-harming, harsh and hard-to-love people can mingle with and be supported by people who are wealthy or stable or sober or emotionally healthy and peaceful without feeling judged or unwelcome. I believe that Christians of different ages and backgrounds and interests can worship together out of respect for one another and Christ’s call to unity, sustaining the whole by putting the needs of others ahead of personal comfort, preference or ambition. And I believe that the core teachings of the faith—even the controversial or hard-to-swallow ones–can touch people without being watered down or hidden from view when they are delivered with love and compassion.
Since becoming a Christian in 2003 I have sought to find this kind of Church.
In some ways I feel like Goldilocks of Christianity. There I was lost in the woods without knowing it and I come upon a lovely house.
I walk though the door naïve and hopeful, only to find dozens of diverging choices, approaches and versions of what it really means to be a Christian or how one is really supposed to follow Jesus.
So I try a one church… too hot.
And another…too cold.
Searching for, but not finding, the elusive just right…
I hoped to land in that one community of people with the right approach with whom I could settle-in and ignore (or criticize) the‘other ones’ who clearly have it wrong. Regrettably, this approach assumes that it is possible (or advisable) for me to become part of “a church” and divorce myself from “the church.”
I wish I had simplistic “how-to” list to encapsulate how I turned it around, but this is not a challenge with a single pole solution. And, if it were, it is pretty unlikely that the big answer would come from the pen of this New Age seeker, turned atheist, turned agnostic, turned Christian. No, I am not suggesting that I have the solution. I’m just hoping that we can do our best to remember that the Church is a family, whether we like it or not.
Because really…who wants to step out of the woods straight into a big dysfunctional family?