I hope your Easter was wonderful. Our church service was joyful and the music was great. Our family was all in attendance. What a blessing that was! God really spoke to my heart this Easter. He freed me from some outdated and harmful (to me, that is) thinking. (More about that while I process and think it all through and find the right words.)
Some conversations over the week-end got me to thinking about “church” in general. You know that building over there, or there. Can I just say I don’t think “church” today always accurately reflects what God’s word teaches. But the sad part is that most people don’t know that. They mindlessly buy what their church teaches and as you know from earlier posts they never question what is taught from the pulpit. It never occurs to them that they can read the Bible for themselves and “compare notes”.
I’m not talking about the big subjects of divorce, homosexuality, alcohol, gambling, etc. and whether these are right or wrong. That’s another discussion all together. One thing I particularly question is how the “church” has decided all Christians should “look”, “talk” and otherwise live their lives in unison, like the Stepford Wives.
No different styles of worship.
No different looks.
No different ways of thinking. (An example of my personal thinking is found here.) For example, come Christians believe that God created the world in a twenty-four hour, seven days a week time frame. In other words, they believe the world is fairly “young”. Others believe that time frame is not correct and therefore believe the world is much “older”. There is solid thinking to support both vie
It’s almost like we’re an exclusive club. You know, say the right things, believe the same way and you’re in. Once you’re in, you go about telling everyone else they should join your club. (as long as, of course, they say the right things, and believe the same way.)
And I’m not saying that there aren’t universal truths. I certainly believe that there is absolute right and absolute wrong that are supported by Scripture and are based upon generally accepted Christian doctrine.
But I don’t think making that the first line of the invitation makes anyone want to join our club. I think people really join clubs or groups because they feel welcomed. They like the people in the club. They’re friendly and kind. They’re not upset if you haven’t bought into everything yet. They’re willing to let you get there at your own speed. Most importantly, they are genuine people who admit they don’t “get it all” either. That they, too, have some questions.
So if you’re considering a “church”, just remember that churches are only buildings. God exists everywhere. Are there good reasons to attend a church? Of course there are. It’s good to be in communion with other believers. Corporate worship and prayer is highly encouraged throughout the Bible. Plus, it sets apart one day a week to take time out and concentrate on God. We encourage others by our presence and they encourage us by theirs.
Find a church where the “club” has an open membership. Where people are sincere. Where you can dress as you like and express your opinions freely. There are lots of good churches around.
And if you are a member of a church that is way too “clubby”, try to change it from within by asking yourself how you come across to other people but if you can’t, remember it’s just a building.
God lives everywhere.