Uncategorized

November 21, 2006

My heart was in my throat. I know that sounds so cliche, but there aren’t any other words for it. My hands were shaking, my voice was unsteady. And I waited. There on the sidelines. I waited for someone to pick me from the crowd.

But no one did.

Again.

So I took myself, in my homemade dress, with my big librarian glasses and my frizzy hair back to safer places. Where Narnia, Xanth and Pern spoke in language I understood. That of myth and of legend. Heroes and bravery. I stayed there for years. Until I learned how to “fit in”. Be funny! Be smart! It won’t matter if you aren’t Pretty or Cool.

Somewhere in my mid-20’s I became Acceptable. I had no idea what to do with it. To be honest, I still don’t most of the time.

I find it sublimely ridiculous that so many in the world live in a chronic state of Junior High popularity contests. And believers aren’t much better, to be honest. The cheerleader type leadership with the captain of the football team as pastor. “Here to PUMP YOU UP!!!!” The Youth Group groupies. The College & Career Meat Market. The In crowd of the Ultra-Spiritual gathering in “serious” groups to discuss prayer requests and minister. Those who “feel deeply the moving of the Spirit” and all their expressions of faith. They look down on those of us who do not break into dances of joy or gut wrenching sobs at the first chord of the worship leader.

Aren’t we supposed to be a body, as in one unit moving toward a common goal and purpose? I always thought so. I would like to see it. But from the Purpose Driven Agenda (Thank you Rick Warren for single-handedly waving the pom-poms for Syria) to the Mega-church (does a football stadium full of people glad handing each other really spell fellowship?) to the splinter groups that hide in their self-imposed isolation and self-righteous indignation, we have become a body bag of mis-matched parts and not a focused, obedient, disciplined structure heading the same way.

I don’t have any answers. I’m not writing to find conclusion or “closure”. Just observing.

I wish I didn’t feel so often like the awkward teenager in the middle of what are supposed to be my peers. But I do find some consolation in the knowledge that I am not alone in my plight.

Aren’t we reminiscent of the island of broken toys? The last refuge for the mis-fit?

  • Big Cat

    There was a reason the early church was modeled as small autonomous groups. Anytime organizations grow large they become politicized and the accompanying corruption that inevitably occurs begins to sabotage their effectivity. Oh… and people. We just aren’t very good at being very good.

  • MikeT

    Not all of the mega churches are bad though. I was surprised to find that McLean Bible Church’s Frontline services (for younger adults) is actually very effective at winning people over to Christ and they’re very serious as well about getting people involved in biblical community through small groups.

    Depends on the church, I guess. MBC, as far as I know, is only political in the sense that its leaders openly say that they want to make an impact on “secular Washington” through Jesus Christ rather than through Jesus and God’s Own Party.

  • Big Cat

    I was speaking in general terms along denominational lines. National church organizations and such… though it can certainly apply locally as well. That doesn’t mean I advocate forsaking the fellowship of the brethren though. We need each other and we have been instructed to rely on each other, even when it’s so easy to see the bad stuff.

  • Knightshadow

    Heidi, I couldn’t agree more!

    Though, many times leaders feel like the “awkward teenager in the middle” too; struggling to figure out how to bring all the people and dynamics together into a cohesive unit, “focused, obedient and disciplined – heading in the same way.” Unfortunately, all that is taught and modeled to them is the cheerleader type leadership, with the captain of the football team mentality. They’re told that is the way to “win souls.”

    I’m reminded of Isaiah 42:6 “I Adonai called righteously, I took hold of you by the hand, I shaped you and made you a covenant to the people, a light to the nations.” This is the call that G-d has for all who are in covenant with Him. If only we would live like this, then we may start to learn how to be in unity together. Oh, if only we came into a group, congregation, church, etc, asking G-d, “How can I be a covenant and light?” Instead of, “What does this church/leader have to offer me.” Then we may see a little more of the Messiah in all of us.

    Isn’t that what Yeshua the Messiah was always teaching about? It’s not the form that has to be perfect, it’s the additude of our hearts that matter.

  • Wonder Woman

    More money, larger churches, more power, corruption…

  • Difster

    I was a geek and a loner until I became a Christian. I’m no longer a loner but I’ll leave it up to you to decide if I’m still a geek or not.

    Anyway, I continue to feel like an outsider, even amongst other Christians. Church culture bugs me to no end and I find myself bucking the established order in any church I go to.

    My good friends also tend to be those that see themselves as outsiders. I think much of the blogger community made of of believers tend to be the type that think of themselves as outsiders.

  • farmer Tom

    I agree there is a problem, however I happen to hold a position of leadership in my church and I see something that you didn’t mention.

    Can I be serious for a minute? The biggest problem in our churchs today is people who want the blessings of a personal relationship with the God of creation, they want blessed, babied(pampered) and bottle fed. They want the good life that comes from being a follower of Jesus Christ, but they don’t want to spend time in his word, they want good marriages, yet they chose to run for divorce court as soon as the going gets tough, they want kids that are good yet they refuse to take the responsibility to “train up a child”, they want church services that entertain, ministries that make serving the Lord easy, none of this “take up my cross” crap, they want a Sunday morning “christianity” followed by a week of living like the world, they want to keep all of their old sinful habits from their days of old, all the while claiming their liberty in Christ to do those thing that harm the body and the soul, they want the church to help them with all their problems while acting in ways that are clearly contrary to God’s revealed plan in Scripture, they want to be free from the law while committing those acts that “are not even named among the heathen”,

    in summary most of the “church” today has rejected the clear commmands to “come out from among them and be ye seperate”, “be not conformed to this world”, “therefore glorify God in your bodies, you are bought with a price.”

    instead they proclaim their “christianity” while acting just like the ungodly. Makes for a really schizophrenic bunch.

  • Pablo

    I go to church to spend time with (and worship) my Father in heaven, and to meet my brothers and sisters in Christ, most of whom I don’t know very well. Like some of you, I sometimes feel like an outsider, but never when I focus on the Lord.

    I only became a Christian at the age of 24 so I was spared the whole youth group thing.

  • heidi

    More money, larger churches, more power, corruption..

    That’s oversimplifying the issue as I wasn’t referring to the temptation of power and corruption as much as I was commenting on the modern status quo v. the biblical mandate of what a group of believers was supposed to look like. It is true that the siren song of $$ and influence has destroyed more than a few well-intentioned leaders.

    Big Cat,

    I have to differ with you on the assessment that the “early church was modeled in small autonomous groups”. They met in homes after they had met in a corporate setting. They still attended synagogue… Also, they were submitted to the council in Jerusalem as is evidenced by Paul’s references to being sent from and returning to Jerusalem to speak with them.

    MikeT, I’m glad you have found such a good place of fellowship. Sounds nice.

    Dif, you’re a geek. Fortunately, for you, we like geeks. And if we are all “outsiders” then we are really “insiders” aren’t we???

    Tom,
    They want to keep all of their old sinful habits from their days of old, all the while claiming their liberty in Christ to do those thing that harm the body and the soul,

    instead they proclaim their “christianity” while acting just like the ungodly.

    The first statement is absolutely true. But, I suppose the application of “by their fruits you shall know them” becomes even that more necessary. I can’t determine the spiritual state of a man’s heart, but I can see if his life is producing the fruit of righteous and godly living.

    Proclaiming “Christianity”…. I am extremely reluctant to say I am a “Christian”. I say I am a follower of Christ or a believer. Here’s why… Christian is a term/label that was given to the early believers by the pagans. It means “little Christ”. If a person is walking in the arrogance of claiming to be a “little Christ” don’t you think it follows quite easily that they will determine their own behavior instead of submitting to the Word and to each other?

    Caveat… I don’t believe that everyone who calls themselves a Christian is guilty of the above, I find it remarkable that many of those who claim to follow Christ and participate in His body while living like heathens are the one’s screeching from the rafters “I’m a Christian….” Sometimes the most vocal supporters are the one’s who have the most to hide. I’m just sayin’.

    Pablo,

    never when I focus on the L-rd I love that….

  • Ken

    Heidi… I was about to post in response to Big Cat (and still will) but am thankful that you already did. You are dead on! The early churches mentioned in the NT all turned, of their own accord or through the various apostles, towards Jerusalem as the ecclesiastical authority. After the NT period, major ecclesiastical centers developed in North Africa, Syria, Turkey, and Mediterranean Europe, most notably the major churches in Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome were frequently consulted on matters of faith and the Bishops installed there exerted considerable influence throughout the Christian world. Furthermore, it is clear that Paul instructs people in general and churches too to be subject to one another… autonomy is not a Christian concept. We are beings created for fellowship and meant to depend on one another. It is through fellowship and consensus of the whole Church that we can confidence in our witness and testimony.

Uncategorized

My heart was in my throat. I know that sounds so cliche, but there aren’t any other words for it. My hands were shaking, my voice was unsteady. And I waited. There on the sidelines. I waited for someone to pick me from the crowd.

But no one did.

Again.

So I took myself, in my homemade dress, with my big librarian glasses and my frizzy hair back to safer places. Where Narnia, Xanth and Pern spoke in language I understood. That of myth and of legend. Heroes and bravery. I stayed there for years. Until I learned how to “fit in”. Be funny! Be smart! It won’t matter if you aren’t Pretty or Cool.

Somewhere in my mid-20’s I became Acceptable. I had no idea what to do with it. To be honest, I still don’t most of the time.

I find it sublimely ridiculous that so many in the world live in a chronic state of Junior High popularity contests. And believers aren’t much better, to be honest. The cheerleader type leadership with the captain of the football team as pastor. “Here to PUMP YOU UP!!!!” The Youth Group groupies. The College & Career Meat Market. The In crowd of the Ultra-Spiritual gathering in “serious” groups to discuss prayer requests and minister. Those who “feel deeply the moving of the Spirit” and all their expressions of faith. They look down on those of us who do not break into dances of joy or gut wrenching sobs at the first chord of the worship leader.

Aren’t we supposed to be a body, as in one unit moving toward a common goal and purpose? I always thought so. I would like to see it. But from the Purpose Driven Agenda (Thank you Rick Warren for single-handedly waving the pom-poms for Syria) to the Mega-church (does a football stadium full of people glad handing each other really spell fellowship?) to the splinter groups that hide in their self-imposed isolation and self-righteous indignation, we have become a body bag of mis-matched parts and not a focused, obedient, disciplined structure heading the same way.

I don’t have any answers. I’m not writing to find conclusion or “closure”. Just observing.

I wish I didn’t feel so often like the awkward teenager in the middle of what are supposed to be my peers. But I do find some consolation in the knowledge that I am not alone in my plight.

Aren’t we reminiscent of the island of broken toys? The last refuge for the mis-fit?