Daily Archives: July 28, 2006

Living in a happy, healthy church bubble

 

I have determined that I’m living in a bubble. Am I the only person in America who is happy with her church?  Am I the only person with a sane, wise pastor who is actually interested in *pastoring*?  Well, I guess I’m not the “only person” b/c I know that there are others in my church who are quite happy there. The more I talk w/ others about their church woes, the more grateful I am for where I go (which is here ).  It seems like most churches in America right now are either “led” by milquetoast “pastors” who are afraid of actually leading.  Or, they’re so “seeker sensitive” that it’s all milk and no meat, and one is never challenged, and never grows.  And, there’s this emergent crap, which, while I don’t know a whole lot about, seems to me to be abandoning the “in the world but not of the world” mandate, and beginning to be in AND of the world.  Or, the churches are rife with struggles — political, relational, and spiritual… To me, what’s the point of going to any of those places?  No wonder church attendance is declining.  If the church I’m interested in going to is just going to say, “Do whatever you want;  there’s grace” then what’s the point of going?  I can “do whatever I want” w/o a ‘pastor’ telling me that. I love my church.  I’ve been going there for 12 years.  My dh will be 40 this year, and he’s known our pastor since he was 14, when dh & the pastor’s oldest daughter were in school together.  Dh… well… got lost in the weeds for a number of years, and when he got ‘found’ when he was 24-ish years old, it was at our current church.  I was going to another fine church (VCF North Phx) when dh & I got married, and, of course, switched churches upon returning from the honeymoon. Granted, I wasn’t thrilled w/ the place when I first started going there.  VCFNP’s pastor, Brian, is a teaching pastor, where as my pastor, Dennis, has a lot of “preacher” in him.  I’m an introspective semi-brainiac, so I like teaching, in general, much more than preaching.  It bothered me at first that Dennis is not really an academic. Also, my pastor is very well read, but he pronounces words wrong, which used to bug me a *ton*, but now I know he’s getting his vocab from *reading*, not hearing… so his usage is correct, but pronunciation is shaky, sometimes.  And, my skin used to crawl every time he used the word “corporate.”  I am a solid GenX’er, which is a very independent mindset, and anything that had the essence of Groupness struck a dischord in me…  I was all about Me ‘n God Forever, and who cares about anyone else.  Well… I’ve come to find out that the world is greatly populated by people who aren’t ME, and a great many of them need God, too.  And, I’ve learned that the Body of Christ (and its ensuing “corporateness”) isn’t a bad word, but that we, in fact, all need each other.  Surprise, surprise. When I first started going to my church, I knew that both Martin and me had a pull towards ministry (he was already the worship leader there), and we both felt that, at some point, that was going to take us out of the country.  I just couldn’t *wait* for that to happen, so my attitude was, “When can we LEAVE?”  But, now…  well…. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned, and the people with whom I serve, and what we *have* at our church, that I just don’t ever want to leave.  Sure, I’ve been to Mexico once and Scotland twice on ministry trips… dh has been to Mexico countless times, and Scotland, too, as well as Northern Ireland, and I look forward to participating in MORE short-term missions (our church works in several countries in Africa — Zambia, SA, and a bit in the Congo, and newly in Tanzania, also in India, South Korea, and a few places in central Europe — LOTS of mission work).  But thinking about leaving “someday” has seriously brought me to tears.  And, like I mentioned, the more I talk to others regarding their unrest over church in general, and churches specifically, the more I feel grateful for what I have. I am, though, starting to feel a little pricking in my spirit about my contentedness, and my bubble-like existence, and my lack of awareness over what is going on in other churches outside of my own church’s walls.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that, yet.  I started praying recently for the state of the American church in general….  I feel like I should read a book or something, but it’s really hard to convince myself to “waste my time” on junk like Brian McLaren drivel just so I can be “educated” to exactly HOW messed up the Church is.  [sigh]  I’ll just have to keep my ears open, so to speak, about where the Spirit wants my heart to be, and what He wants me to do about this, b/c right now, I have no idea — I just know that He doesn’t put stuff on our hearts for *no* reason. I do see, as I write this, that God is taking me from just a focus on my own relationship with the Father —–> to a focus on the importance of my own church ——-> to a focus (or at least a gratefulness) on the wider Body of Christ…… and maybe now He’s drawing my attention even further out, widening my focus, which too often tends to be internalized. LISTENING TO (since MySpace doesn’t have it): Sweetly Broken - Playlist (CD) - Click to enlarge Sweetly Broken

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