If church should look like family, and family connects over bonds made, blood shared, vows taken, and years lived together, how do we become family as a church? How do we find the home where our hearts settle into community?
In most churches, we sit in rows or pews, or folding chairs facing forward. We may engage the message and punch out notes on our YouVersion app or in the torn off section of our bulletin or we may sit silently pondering the options for lunch when the service is over while sneaking glances at our phone’s clock. But most churches don’t offer a lot of chance to connect during Sunday mornings, with the exception of the after church gathering over coffee, which is an introverts 3rd circle of hell, the second being the mandatory greet your neighbor churches always do before you’re allowed to sit down.
So churches encourage community groups, cell groups, life groups, tribes, fellowship or accountability groups divided by what we do or who we are. There are your active singles, your youth, your families with young kids, your empty nesters, your college age, and your young marrieds. And if you have a big enough church and some go-getters, you probably even have groups based on interests like gardening, scrapbooking, mountain biking, even bird watching. Or if you are the more spiritual set, you have church groups based on bible study and prayer.
So often churches divide up groups based on affinity. And I get that. I go to blogging conferences to meet and connect with other bloggers, people who get what I do and why. My husband has made some really good friendships over a love of surfing, guys crazy enough to don full wetsuits and brave the frigid Oregon coast. We all like people who get us.
And maybe I’ve assumed too much. Because lately, I’m really struggling with finding my home.
We may say the deep God stuff is how we connect. But I’m finding it harder and harder to connect because even among us, the church, I often find myself unable to recognize the god you proclaim. The angry political god whose reign depends on our votes and and our campaigns for and against ephemeral things. Who is this passive impotent god who neither causes suffering nor does anything to stop it. Who is both absent and powerless against weather, disasters, genocides, and evil. Who is said to have conquered death but really just offers your better life now. Who is this god who just loves and never judges sin? Who is this god who believes in grace but not justice? Who is this god you tell me I should get to know, because I may be seen as a bigot or judgmental or too rigid with those antiquated views? Who is this god, who is not really holy but common? Who is this vague god wavering upon popular opinion and the wisdom of man?Who is this god you tell me I should calm down about because I’m being legalistic if I think repentance is the cornerstone of justice and revival for our broken world? Who is this God you tell me we both believe in because we say we’re Christians? Because I don’t recognize this god at all.
Sometimes I feel I will never find a home. Sometimes I feel that’s for the best.
Sorry for the rant. It’s such a beautiful word prompt: Home and this is all I had come to mind. I’ve had a rough week in some respects and I just needed to vent. . We can’t all write magic every week. Keeping it real. Ugly emotions and all.
You know the deal.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..