Friday, 15 August 2014

Why I Haven't "Given up on the Church"



This morning, I read an article entitled Why You Shouldn’t Give up on the Church.

The author is the son of a 'famous' christian. I am a 'nobody' in that particular world.

He thinks "church is messy by nature." I have found it not messy, but dangerous.

He says, "it’s where Jesus’ people are connected." I find I can connect with Jesus's people wherever I meet them.

He opines that, "To leave the Church is to hurt yourself and to hurt others." I left because it was the only way to stop the hurt.

His judgement: "leaving the Church... is escapism." My experience: leaving the institution was the only way to escape the abuse.

His words seem to equate 'church' with a building or institution. My understanding of the word 'church' is that it's a living body.

He talks of "doing church." I speak of being the church.

He concludes, "No matter your frustrations and hurts, it cannot be abandoned. You need it now whether you know it or not, and someday you will have a need nothing and no one else can meet. And the Church will be where Jesus shows Himself to you."

My response to him?

I rejoice in your experience, but it is not universal. Please don't present it as an incontrovertible reality. That hurts.

I not only can, but I have abandoned what you seem to call 'church'.

But I have not "given up on the church", which is the body of Christ. I have given up on an institution.

I do not "need it". I need to feel safe when I meet with my brothers and sisters.

'The church' is not my sufficiency. Jesus Christ is.

And he can show himself to me wherever and whenever he chooses.

So please don't put him (or me) in a box. I love him too, you know.



6 comments:

  1. Thank you for your words, they help me to feel less alone. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one who hurts when I read articles like that one, if I'm the only one who wonders if they really represent God's heart - and I'm still (just about) part of an institutional church. Your thoughts are helping me through my own journey with "church pain", thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy you are feeling a little less alone. It can be such a difficult path to walk, but please believe me, there are many brothers and sisters out there who feel the same way you do. I pray your journey continues to lead you straight to the heart of God. There's no better place to be.

      Delete
  2. living liminal

    I enjoyed the simple, and effective, “contrasts” to what was said by that young PK.

    He thinks "church is messy by nature."
    I have found it not messy, but dangerous. :-(

    He says, "it’s where Jesus’ people are connected."
    I find I can connect with Jesus's people wherever I meet them. ;-)

    He opines that, "To leave the Church is to hurt yourself and to hurt others."
    I left because it was the only way to stop the hurt.

    His judgement: "leaving the Church... is escapism."
    My experience: leaving the institution was the only way to escape the abuse.

    Amen...
    “But I have not "given up on the church", which is the body of Christ.
    I have given up on an institution.”

    Me too - I’ve given up on...
    The 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation, the IRS calls church.

    Should one of His Disciples call and IRS Corporation - His Ekklesia? His Church?

    Me-thinks, when this young PK uses the word “church”...
    And I use the word “Church”...
    It just ain’t the same thing...

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    I’m Blest... I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul...

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It just ain’t the same thing..."

      Yes A. Amos, we do seem to speak two different languages, don't we.

      I, too, am blessed to have returned to the Shepherd. In fact, I was rescued by him! :D

      Delete
  3. THANK you. I was so frustrated with this article. Sometimes I feel like the people who say not going to church is giving up on God's people just don't have any interaction with him or his people *outside* of church functions so they think that's the only way to get the fellowship & accountability they need. That's just not true for me! All my spiritual growth and change has happened outside of church settings. I have given up on institutionalized church for the time being, yes... but that doesn't mean I've given up on The Church!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hannah, it's very good to hear of your experience. Sometimes you need eyes to see beyond the confines of the institution in order to discover the freedom and abundant life Jesus promised.

      Delete