Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thanks Kyle

I would highly encourage any and all to click on Kyle's blog and check out his recent post(s) and be sure to read the comments. He brought up a subject that's been on my mind for a long time but I never had the brains or balls to put my thoughts down. The subject is church. I don't want to steal any of his thunder, but he has inspired me to share at least a little something.

I was raised in a home that enforced the importance of attending church. The scripture about 'not forsaking the gathering of yourselves together' was pounded into my skull every time we wanted to stay home. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. In fact I'm very proud that I was raised with that mentality and thankful to my parents for their wisdom. And I'm happy that I have an inner-most desire to meet with other believers. The downside is that now that Ell and I don't attend a Sunday service I have a strange guilt in my gut. I'm thirty-something and I can still hear my mom's voice quoting that scripture.

My problems arise with the definition of church. Even though the 'Body of Christ is the Church' is preached often and earnestly from the pulpit, those same leaders need the regular attenders to keep coming to their building to keep the place open. (And to cash their paychecks.) But a pastor I respect deeply (who shall remain nameless so as not to start a revolt in his flock)challenged me with what I think of when I hear the word church. Phrases like, "If you go to the church you can..." or, "I left my papers at church on Sunday..." or, "Where's my church key..." or "Where do you go to church..." insinuate that we look at church as a place. Not the 'Body of Christ' after all. Can most of you relate?

Steve sent me a link to a site where I found the following quote:
What or where you attend on Sunday morning is not inherently equivalent to being a part of ‘the Church.’ In fact, a person can easily attend a service every week and have virtually no connection or relationship with the Body of Christ.
Likewise, it is perfectly possible for a person to attend no regular service, but maintain rich fellowship and relationship with the Body. Like worship, it can happen wherever and whenever believers are gathered. ‘Church,’ in its truest sense and form, is simply this: relating to Christ in one another.

And that's where I'm at right now. I lead a Bible study on Tuesday's where I pray and fellowship and worship with my brothers, but b/c of my mentality of what church is, I still feel that weird thing in my gut not attending a steeple-holder on Sunday mornings. Isn't my "Band of Brothers" a church? Doesn't it fit the 'assembling together' criteria? Of course it does. But most people can't deal with services being any other day than Sunday. Even if a church starts a Saturday night thing, it has to be a "second" service. How dare it be called it's own church. Even though it is. I think I'm getting off-track so I'll quit.


Blogger Laura said...

I have to agree with you about the sometimes "guilt" that I feel for not going to the standardized church service that is meant for each of us in Christ. But to be there just for the sake of saying that we did is not the true purpose of why we should be there. We should find Christ wherever we are as Kyle said something similar in his blog. Church is just something that we can use to implement our time with our Savior. But yes we can find our faith anywhere at any time. I am so thankful for that.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Im glad i could get you thinking about it.

I think a lot of people... including me... have teken the commandment of "remember the sabbath" and distorted it to mean "go to that building down on columbia street every sunday" (my church is on columbia street) I think more purely it means to take a day off so you can spend time with God. Dont get me wrong. I think the church does some great things, but I think we are truelly missing something when thats all that church becomes.

good post

7:47 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I read Kyle's post and thought was good stuff. I understand about the guilt thing - my background is REAL similar to yours, even the voice of my mother. It took several years for the guilt to wear off. For the most part I have had no trouble seeing the church is NOT a building. But lately I have been coming to understand the church is NOT a meeting either. To me church is something we ARE. By following Jesus I am a a part of the church he is building. It has nothing to do with me attending a meeting - it has everything to do with me following Him.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

That's what I was looking for, Dave! "Church is something we ARE."

The 'church' is the bride of Christ and I think as most of us know...being a bride, or a spouse, is a 86,400 second a day job...it's what we do, it's who we are. It's just our being.

I should zip it...That one sentence sums up exactly what I think it should be.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

This is an amazing thing, because just earlier today I had this very conversation with a very close friend of mine. We were talking about church in general and how we struggle with being in God's will about were we should be attending. Just a brief history, Mike and I attended a church for close to 10 years and were both very involved. We left the church for no other reason than we just believed we were be called to move on. That was 6 years ago. We have yet found a place that we really call "home" as far as the church building it self. We have attended a great church off and on for the last 4 years or so, but have not found that "it" factor (as we call it). Mike and I have always known when we were involved that we were at the place we were at that time for a reason. For whatever reason (i.e. laziness)we haven't found that place to call home yet. I say all of this to tell you that in the past 4 years I have had probably one of the closest walks with the Lord that I ever have. By all means I am not encouraging a disconnect from the body of Christ, I just want to say that I have found this time away from a building to be refreshing. God has really used this time to revel to me some much needed house cleaning that needed to be done in my heart. I love to gather with fellow believers and I love to worship with others. I am actually to the place in my life where I long for that gathering together though. But for me it doesn't have to be in a church "building", be it in a coffeehouse or someone's home. I love so much what Dave had to say and I too agree. We should have church with us wherever we go because we ARE the church. Great discussion.

2:13 AM  
Blogger kimw said...

I agree, we ARE the church. However, I'm here to say that there is nothing like gathering with hundreds of believers on a Sunday morning and hearing all their voices raised in praise to the Lord. I'm telling you, there's nothing like it! It's a little glimpse of heaven. So if you feel like you want to go to that building, just go, as the believing, walking-with-Jesus part of the church that you are. If you don't want to go, stay home and still be that believing, walking-with-Jesus part of the church that you are. No guilt either way. Jesus came so that we could have life to the fullest. Live it in Him, and you will - whether or not you're seen in a building on Sunday.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Well said, Kim. Some of my highest emotional experiences with believers have been in huge gatherings where our voices have been raised in corporate praise to our God. But I'm not talking about those 'glimpse of Heaven' emotional times or the people involved in those instances. What I'm trying to uncover is the people that think those weekly times justify their entire walk with the Lord. Or on the other side that think those types of emotional highs can only happen in a (my new favorite phrase) steeple holder. The first is mere lazyness and second is mere ignorance of God's wonderful presence in all things and all places.

Like Adrienne said, God is not a sit in a pew or comfy chair for 1-2 hours a week God. And neither is church. Church is us. We are the church. Period. So many scriptures say that and no scriptures refute that. So why do we?

10:15 AM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

There are so many needs in a "church", meaning a building. And I am talking hurting people, even if we don't see it right away. God wants us to fellowship, and it happens that these days people go to church for that. It's a major dynamic in our cultures, and if we beat ourselves up about it, that's too bad. I go b/c that's where I know God wants me. To minister, or see more of him and grow in the way I need to. Somedays, b/c of a selfish/internal reason, I dont' want to go. BUT, I know that is where I personally know where I need to be. It's so clear...sooo..go where God leads you and forget what others say about it.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

I want to add that since it IS a dynamic in our culture, there is a need to balance it. Maybe that's your Calling, Same!!!!!!

4:52 PM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

Gee, I surely can't spell today! Sorry, SAME LOL!

4:52 PM  
Blogger Brad B... said...

Sam this is an awesome post... you and I both know how i feel about this subject...LOL... anyway keep it coming...

1:06 PM  

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