Sunday, February 24, 2008

Church


I have Church on my mind. There can be so many frustrations that happen within a church. Sometimes I think to myself, "Why can't everyone have a heart like mine so church wouldn't look this way." I know that I shouldn't be thinking that and I partially write it on here to confess it's a sad way to think. But, I'm tired of the ups and downs of emotions within the body. I believe that we are to help and encourage one another. When I don't see that happening, I see a lot of hurt people running out with walls up threatening to leave.

Leaving. That's another topic. It's like it is this power that we all have. But few, whip it out and use it as a threat. Some actually just do it. Others don't see it as an option because they follow God's voice and not the voice of emotion. If I left everytime I disagreed or got hurt, then I'd be leaving a new church probably every month. So, what makes leaving a church okay? I don't really need an answer because I think I'm fine on the topic. It's just to get others thinking about it. Where does God want you to worship and be used by Him? It's all about Him, so we should just take ourSELVES out of it.

Honesty within a church is another difficult thing for people. How do you feel when someone asks, "How are you?" in the halls of a church? Do you feel "churchy" in your answer? See, I'm the real thing and I feel like I can't be totally real within the building of a church. It's like people won't understand. But, aren't these the people that are learning the same thing I am in the service each week? We are forgiven! We are precious in God's eyes! We are sinners in need of a savior! We live in trials and suffering. Life's not honkey-dory all the time. With all that said I think we all know that gossip within a church is one reason people don't want to share their struggles with other. This is sad to me. Where will they turn if they can't turn to those brothers and sisters in Christ that they meet and grow with each week?

The last thing to ask is this: If church is moreso what I've described than not, then why go? Can't you find people that love the Lord that will grow with you outside of the church building? If people all disagree about worship anyway, then why can't we worship on our own with our ipods at home? Just things I've been wondering about.

Father, I say this brief prayer for those placed in a church that feel pain from it. Would you open doors to allow growth from pain? Would you reveal the work that you are doing that is good and powerful and exciting? I trust You even when things don't make sense. Thanks for giving us freedom to worship you and help us not to abuse that!

12 comments:

StaceyStace said...

Hi, Rachel,

These are questions I have asked, more than once at different periods in my Christian walk.

Early in my journey, I was part of a church that was so abundantly blessed with precious people and great teaching. There was enthusiasm and new converts - one of them being myself. However, my participation in gossip led me into further sins I never thought possible. It started when I confided in a sister in Christ who betrayed my confidence. All hell broke loose, with me at the center of it.

In trying to deal with the aftermath, my husband and I joined a church, where we eventually had to leave because the pastor actually called Mark on the carpet for quoting too much scripture when he prayed aloud. I'm not kidding.

Needless, to say I wanted no part of formal church. I struggled against it for two years before I would join the church where we are now. Now I know that we are where God wants us because our lives have been changed dramatically. Our sinfulness has been dealt with head on and without apologies - straight from the Word of God, but in such a sweet spirit of love and care that the challenge for repentance and holiness has come to us with pain and joy, all at once. There have been times in the process that I have wanted to escape for an easier route, but I know that we can not leave unless God specifically leads us some where else. In that I am content.

Chelle said...

Hello Rachel! Love the post, open and honest...just like I like 'em. We are so blessed to go to a church that is so incredible, though far from perfect, is also filled with genuine people who aren't afraid to get into the "stuff" of life. It's refreshing to be able to say, "You know what? Today, I am not good." And, folks understand it. Love your prayer. You walk in authenticity and it will effect others more than you know.

ashleykimble said...

It is so refreshing to read something so honest. My husband and I just got home from "church meetings" and were talking about some of the same things you talked about in your blog...why does it have to be so darn complicated..aren't we all striving for the same thing? I get so upset when people use the "well we will leave if you do that" Oh it upsets me! Well it was good for me to read what you wrote, and I feel better after letting a little out in your comment box! lol. I think I'm safe here from any church goers reading it LOL! Thanks for your honesty!

ashleykimble said...

let me correct something lol...i read my comment and it sounds like im saying that "church goers" don't read this lol...what I meant was that the people at my church prob wont read it lol...sorry.

Mimi said...

Struggles within the church are not new. Paul addressed some of the problems in the church at Corinth, Galatia, Colossae,and that was about 2000 years ago. Jesus had some things against some of the churches, which he told John to write in the book of the Revelation what He had against them ....except one church, Smyrna....the persecuted church. Maybe what the churches in America need is an attitude adjustment that can come only by persecution for the name of Jesus. Is it not supposed to be all about Him?!! And if we are identified with Him, the Head, Who suffered, shall not the Body also suffer? Let's suffer for righteousness' sake, not for sin.

Heather said...

I feel the same way, Rach. Sometimes I just wish people could get over themselves and be real...forget the legalism and the false fronts that go along with going to church (not that you're SUPPOSED to have those...it just seems they tend to go hand in hand, especially at SOME churches). And of course, I have another gripe...quit complaining about everything! If you see something you don't agree with, help be a part of the solution! Don't complain!!!!

Whew...I feel a little better, now. :)

Heather said...

BTW, that complaining comment wasn't directed at YOU! It's describing the people who tend to do nothing but nitpick everything at church and yet offer no solution to fix the supposed "problem".

Christi said...

The only thing I have learned after years of going to church is that no church is perfect. There will always be something we would like to change or see go differently. It is sad to see how many people have been wounded by church congregations. Thanks for posting this:)

Irritable Mother said...

As usual, you are sharing good thoughts here, Rachel.
Though we are redeemed, we are yet to be fully sanctified, and that fact shows itself everywhere, doesn't it? Sometimes it would be nice if the church was protected from our sinful nature, though.
Until we reach heaven...Let us seek to look and act more like HIM and less like us!
Please stop by my blog. I have an award for you.

shanna said...

I struggle with these things too. I guess that is why Jerome and I have an outreach in a bar LOL! I lead just started a single women's group and alomost all of them have one common bond...they grew up with a false representation of God by the church. I think God has placed us and others in the church to be unifiers....to inspire others to have a real, authentic and intimate relationship with Him! You are a great example of this!

colorfulwoman said...

Hi! I know this is really old post here, but so interesting!
I have often had this same struggle with church. I love what your mom said about this not being a new problem, so true! I think she was right on about persecution too, although I am admittedly a little afraid of that. You know the song "My Jesus" by Todd Agnew? I heard in an interview that he wrote that song years before it was released and that God allowed him to go forward with it after years of working through the issue with God. In that time, God grew his love for the Body so that when he did finally release the song, it was less out of condemnation and more from a heart of love. I find God up to something similar in me. I think as long as we keep being honest with God in our thoughts, and honest with people(truth in love) that God will work in this area. Satan loves nothing more, I'm sure, apart from eternal separation, than to divide God's church. You should see how it is here in the South! Church often is more of a social gathering than anything else. Thankfully I love my church now, but honestly, I have struggled and still do sometimes with being predjudice to certain denominations where I see more of what I described, a social event. Anyways, great post, such an important topic!

Winging It said...

This is an issue I have dealing with for a few months. Long story. But, like you I don't believe in just up and leaving. I have gone to the same church (and it's wonderful) every since I got saved. It's been 15 years+. But the last few months have been VERY difficult, and I am just trying to cling to the Lord for endurance...

Thanks for the prayer!