Every time I read that quote I feel a little more convicted every day about how I act, react, live. For the last few weeks I've been having some sort of a faith seeking quest adventure and most of the time it's anything but fun; mostly because I cannot find the words to say it.
I'm even more disappointed in myself that I haven't had the courage to say it because it's not the cliche thing to say.
I'm frustrated because the cliche thing to say or do, is no where in the Bible - but most of the population holds it as true.
This little adventure started back in September and it's been downhill ever since and I'd like to believe that as I sit here drinking my espresso truffle and the quiet of my office that I'm mustering the courage to rid myself of this weight that's on my back as heavy as the conviction that is piercing my heart, conscious and soul.
People often thing I have a problem with church. I don't. I think it's something sacred to be able to come together and worship a God worthy of our praise. I have a problem with the attitude of the church as a whole (not all churches, but a good majority. And note I'm using little "c") I cannot stand that it's become more of a institution than anything and it's more about being politically correct.
Going to church should be easy; being politically correct is a pain in the ass.
Now bear with me as I trudge through this dilemma in my life. I am thankful for leaders in the church; for people who feel called to lead and give advice and shed some light on the word of God. Some would call these pastors, fine. I don't like the phrase, mostly because "pastor" is not found in the Bible. Teacher is, not pastor. So when people say they're called to be a "pastor" I really listen to what they are saying to see if what they really mean is teacher. You'd be surprised how many "feel" like they're being "called" to an ideal.
That is just a minute example. The word "church" isn't in the Bible either; neither is "personal relationship" nor "trinity." I'm not saying all these things are bad, they are our feeble attempts at trying to understand God. But they are not the end all.
I guess the bottom line of it all is that I feel like there's too much agenda's in the church. Personal agenda's. That's why I take a huge discretion with people on boards; I wonder what agenda is being pushed not "Wow! They're amazing people!" (I'm generally not too impressed with boards either and couldn't care less if you serve on one. ) Why? Because I've seen people kiss ass and throw money around to get
I'm also fearful of our faith becoming an "emotional" experience. I find more praise in the silence of a lonely night when someone is hanging on by a thread but they're crying out to God than I do with a band. Now, before I'm stoned to death, let me elaborate. I'm not saying praise and worship is horrible or bad or unnecessary - but getting too caught up in it, for the wrong reasons, is. Making sure the lights are just right, the perfect band, advertising the band, etc. Personally I think that people who are musically gifted and lead praise and worship should be hidden or off to the side - better- done in the dark so no one can see anything and I think it would keep ego's in check. But that's just my opinion. The reason why I'm fearful of it becoming an "emotional" experience is because then it become more of "What am I getting out of this?" This is why there's always been debates over traditional versus the contemporary. Again, I'm not saying having a band or being able to sing is a bad thing; people who can do these are very valuable to the church because of their talent (no, its not a spiritual gift). But like with anything God gifts you with - be careful how you use it and the attitude in which you use it.
The other day I was driving down Wendover and passed a rather prominent Christian Academy who had a new gym and on the gym, in BIG letters was the name of the person who donated the money for the gym. My hair bristled for two reasons, first, the guy who donated the money is my great uncle and an ass hole who is the farthest thing from devout. The second was "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6: 1,2 HA! Even quoted it in the KJV since this school is devoutely Bob Jones Worshipers! TAKE THAT!) I have the same issue with churches (-coughwestovercough-) that seem to flaunt money. Kind of pissses me off when a church is state of the art... I just kind of loose the sacred feel of it all that I'm on holy ground.
The early body of believers didn't have what we have today; and I sometimes wonder if maybe it's us that are missing out. We tend to Americanize our faith and take for granted the privileges we have here. We can have our Bibles and worship the way we want without persecution. Back in the day, only a few people could read and there was no "Bible" (Torah - yes, Bible - no.) They were letters from the disciples and from the apostle Paul encouraging one another, and declaring the very thing Jesus told them to declare and showing the very thing Jesus wanted them to show. They declared Jesus was God and the loved. Dearly. They met in each others houses and all were present from the children, to the slaves, to the women. There was no choir. No pastor. No pews. No youth ministry. No children's ministry. They were weary, confused, bewildered, doubting and fearful - but they hung on every word because of what God was doing. And these small little pockets of people who were striving to know their Maker, changed their communities.
In Romans it tell us that they sold everything and lived as a community and helped others in need.
I would love for there to be no need for budgets for multi-million dollar churches. We don't need them. Those aren't the power to reach people; I mean really deep down meet their need. We don't need a thousand different ministries, I'm sure their good to have - but if you don't have love; what good is it? When was the last time you looked at the brat of a child who you can't stand to teach and realize God loves them as much as He loves you? Or saw the miracle in the unwed mother choosing life, and chose to help her instead of accosting her? Or invited the gay couple over for dinner and simply loving them without an agenda? Because the bottom line is, we're all sinners and while we should be intolerant of sin, we should not be intolerant of people. Sometimes busying ourselves is slang for not having to be accountable or stepping out of the comfort zones.
And it is with mighty courage and a weary hand that I finish this; but with a lighter heart.