Faith & Encouragement | Spiritual Issues

What’s the Right Answer?

January 27, 2009

Is there a Right Answer?

Rick and Jennifer (from Diary of 1, talented….Very talented writer…) made comments recently that I cannot get out of my head.

In short, they both acknowledged,  for lack of a better term, a certain Christian Prejudice they encounter because they are not currently Involved.   They are still believers,  still family,  still sincere, still walking as uprightly as they are able.  By the power of the Holy Spirit of course.   Naturally.

However, they both have stated they would rather politely respond to the “Where do you fellowship?” question with an open-ended “We’re in between.” than honestly admit they fellowship in very non-traditional methods.    Even un-Biblical methods if you ask some.

So, what’s the problem with the rest of us?    I count myself into “us” because I do attend a fellowship that fits very nicely into the modern equation of Fellowship + Teaching + Accountability + Attendance = Church.   Am I attending out of a sense of WOOT!!! this is the Place For Me?  Not really.   My kids, being the anti-social homeschoolers they are, really do enjoy the interaction, the encouragement in the Word and the freedom they experience in this particular body.  That was good enough for me, but it seems more is required.  Toward that end I have opted to engage myself in a women’s study (as participant only, so help me G-d, I don’t think I can do any more than that! Yikes!!).  Obedience yes, but mostly because I recognize my own tendency to isolate myself and I began to see how that personal drive was slowly killing my spirit and decimating my faith.

I couldn’t let my soulish desires to remove myself from “life” win.   I refused to. So I made a choice.   It’s working ok.  We’re on week 2.

But, more to the point…

I am committed believer.  Faith is my life.   It is the air I breathe.  Even when I am mad at G-d and sometimes call Him names and ignore the way He talks to me.  I didn’t say I was good at being a Christian.

So… Belaboring my point but rapidly approaching it.

What’s all the passion about?   Is it passion?  Or is it fear?

Is it fear of what is unknown?  Or fear of what is unable to be easily quantified?  Is it from some sort of altruistic desire to “hold one another accountable” to what is plainly written in the Word?

What is it that makes the rest of Churchianity go bananas about the home-church/organic church movement?

While my husband and I don’t always agree on how Church fellowship and interaction should look we do completely agree there needs to be radical change in the way corporate worship is both viewed and propagated.  A balance reached.   More freedom/less hard-nosed authority.  More righteous authority/less license to sin.  You get my drift?

Obviously this issue hits major buttons.    A billion comments later I can see that and I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed.   Really.

See, I’m just not sure why.   I don’t understand the animosity.  The vehemence of the discourse.   On either side.

I wouldn’t want to shame anyone into a deeper or more coherent understanding of our shared faith.  The very thought makes me gag.  But, neither am I willing to compromise, even if it is just perceived compromise, the convictions and Truth I have gleaned, seen, been inspired by and held onto by blood, sweat and tears.

But here’s something completely experiential I can’t quite quantify.   At a time when I thought I needed the support and encouragement of those around me I had someone throw, yes THROW, Scripture in my face.  I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to  hear it.  I wanted G-d to Speak To Me…

And when I most desperately needed to hear Him I did.   All alone, in bed, perusing emails on my iTouch.

My most influential times of worship, fellowship and personal growth have not happened in the middle of a building, seated in a pew, surrounded by the faithful but quiet.   They happen naturally, dare I say it, organically, and much to my chagrin, on Someone else’s time table.

Still I am not called to be alone and I don’t really have a lot of options right now.  I don’t have a lot of people around me.  So in order to foster this fellowship thing that is so incredibly important, I must, must, must, MUST be where the largest concentration of believers are.   AND, since G-d’s all up in my business,  I know I am required to engage them wherever I find them.  Y’know, other believers.

So, I’m starting at The Building….

Within four walls.   With some suit up front.

Don’t judge me.

  • Jason

    Heidi,

    I learned from the last few blog posts of yours that I tried too hard to explain myself. Nobody will ever understand, and it doesn’t really matter.

    I used to be someone who did things just because it was the “right” thing to do, or because I was afraid of being wrong.

    Now?

    In the end, God will look at me and graciously judge me on my faithfulness to him and those around me – not my church attendance. Even if today’s typical church setting is “THE” right way to do church, and I get it all wrong, will God disown me?

    I doubt it. Just ask the thief who hung on the cross next to Jesus and believed.

    You know our family loves your regardless. You need to do what’s best for you, despite what the rest of us think.

  • Jason

    Heidi,

    I learned from the last few blog posts of yours that I tried too hard to explain myself. Nobody will ever understand, and it doesn’t really matter.

    I used to be someone who did things just because it was the “right” thing to do, or because I was afraid of being wrong.

    Now?

    In the end, God will look at me and graciously judge me on my faithfulness to him and those around me – not my church attendance. Even if today’s typical church setting is “THE” right way to do church, and I get it all wrong, will God disown me?

    I doubt it. Just ask the thief who hung on the cross next to Jesus and believed.

    You know our family loves your regardless. You need to do what’s best for you, despite what the rest of us think.

  • Heidi,

    You have an elegant way with words. Being MALE and semi-autistic,(I know, what is the dif?)I have a hard time saying these kinds of things even when I write them. It is amazing how much we are thinking alike on this subject.

  • Heidi,

    You have an elegant way with words. Being MALE and semi-autistic,(I know, what is the dif?)I have a hard time saying these kinds of things even when I write them. It is amazing how much we are thinking alike on this subject.

  • Jason, I hope you don’t think I was pointing this at you. I wasn’t. As for your family loving me? I count on it. 🙂

    This post was more an outlet of continuing to process the “passion” on both sides of this issue. I am BIG into personal choice. Personal responsibility and personal consequence. G-d mandated, not man-orchestrated.

    Which is why I am confused by what seems to be the posture of threatened coming from organized church fellowships toward those who choose to fellowship differently.

    I don’t believe it’s a salvation issue, so why are so many treating it as such?!? It’s not the wisest choice for many but a calling to some.

    *argh* It blows my mind.

    The Mr. says it’s one of those things that can be found solidly in The Middle. It’s not all about structure, it’s not all about the absence thereof. But something right in the middle.

    I need an Excedrin.

    Eagle… That is such a lovely compliment. Thank you! It’s nice to know G-d isn’t talking to just me. 🙂

  • Jason

    Heidi,

    No worries…never thought the post was aimed at me. I know you understand. I was referring to others who frequent your blog, and still others who I have communication with elsewhere.

    Exactly!!! It’s not a salvation issue.

    As I said before, it’s all about the fruit. Whatever you’re doing or wherever you’re going in your walk with Christ, fruit needs to be the product. Church attendance is NOT a precursor to fruit.

  • Jason

    Heidi,

    No worries…never thought the post was aimed at me. I know you understand. I was referring to others who frequent your blog, and still others who I have communication with elsewhere.

    Exactly!!! It’s not a salvation issue.

    As I said before, it’s all about the fruit. Whatever you’re doing or wherever you’re going in your walk with Christ, fruit needs to be the product. Church attendance is NOT a precursor to fruit.

  • I wrote a blog today on rickdancer.com after accidentally finding a pastor friends blog. I was so irritated when I saw the page because it displayed a picture of the bank statement and then talked about how much money they needed to run the club.
    What are we doing? Why do we make church a business? What is wrong with us? Would Jesus be running through our institutional offices turning over computers and bank statements? I don’t know.
    Why do people look at us funny? Because they think we’re going to Hell that’s why.
    Why do they stammer and ask questions like, “Did someone hurt you at church”? Because they aren’t supposed to understand.
    We are experts at judging others. I’ve done it and I do it when I’m not paying attention.
    We are similar to the current political makeup in this country. When we stop labeling, which will never happen until Jesus returns, we’ll be much better off.
    God is in the process of whitening the bride. It won’t be pretty.

  • Heidi, you should come check out our new website http://www.wiredoregon.com There’s some stuff you might want to comment on. Anyone else can come over too.

  • Heidi, you should come check out our new website http://www.wiredoregon.com There’s some stuff you might want to comment on. Anyone else can come over too.

  • For the article I wrote today go to http://rickdancer.com
    Love these topics.

  • Boysmom

    We’re going to a Lutheran Church right now. Do I think the ritual is necessary? No. But I do think it is beautiful. I love the parts of the service that are sung. I’ve never had church services playing on my mental soundtrack (does everyone have one of these?) before. I think it’s great, a wonderful way to keep prayer in mind constantly. I also hear the boys singing it around the house, which makes me happy.
    I don’t suppose this type of service would do anything for someone who was tone deaf or didn’t like the music. Lots of people say it’s ‘Too Catholic’. ‘Not in tune with modern ways.’ Well, I’ve been accused of the later quite frequently, myself!
    Rick, I like that our church prints it’s yearly budget. I like that openness, that responsibility with the monies given. Is it that the information’s available that bothers you? Or is it the context in which it was given? Knowing that the Church is spending money responsibly makes us more likely to give. Of course, if the opposite were true, we’d be more likely to go elsewhere.

  • Jason

    Boysmom,

    Maybe instead of just giving money to a church and letting the ‘elders’ or ‘pastor’ decide what to do with our tithes, maybe we should be more personally responsible for it.

    Personally, I don’t want my money going toward new chairs, sound equipment, or office supplies.

    If you enjoy your church, and like the ritual that’s great. But there are others who see church as non-relational and a system full of rules and regulations that hinder the movement of the Holy Spirit.

  • Jason

    Boysmom,

    Maybe instead of just giving money to a church and letting the ‘elders’ or ‘pastor’ decide what to do with our tithes, maybe we should be more personally responsible for it.

    Personally, I don’t want my money going toward new chairs, sound equipment, or office supplies.

    If you enjoy your church, and like the ritual that’s great. But there are others who see church as non-relational and a system full of rules and regulations that hinder the movement of the Holy Spirit.

  • Boysmom,

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that I”m against a church being open and accountable. That was not my point. My point was, church should not be a business.

    .

  • At the risk of starting another food fight verbal battle, I thought I had already tried to address this question.

    From my family history, with a wide variety of methods of “doing church”, there seems to be strong evidence that certain types of church “structure” do not lend themselves to the long term growth and well being of the Body. See my previous post for details.

    Furthermore, since there are so many different “styles” within the “branches” of Christianity, it is no wonder that this topic is so volatile.

    Let’s suppose that the home church/organic church idea is what you choose to use. Fine. We are all accountable before God for our choices, and we have a free will. So you choose to “do church” in that manner. Have any of those who advocate this “style” of church thought about the long term consequences for this type of church?

    Cause my guess is, and that based on personal experience, most of that “style” of church will collapse under it’s own weight, and within a few years it’s advocates will be “doing church” in another style.

    And how is that conducive to the purpose of “building up the the saints, the work of the ministry, and the edifying the body of Christ,”

    Later

  • Hey Farmer Tom, look at China. They can’t worship in buildings and do the house ministry thing. The church, not a building, is growing there faster than anywhere. I’m not an advocate of one style of “church” over another. The whole idea bores the heck out of me. I get so sick of this conversation but get lured into because we still don’t get it. We still think church is a meeting on Sunday. We say we don’t but that’s simply not true. I had church with a friend yesterday who just got out of prison. We had no communion service, I didn’t ask him for a tithe, we didn’t even pray. What he needed was to talk about God, to be encouraged and to hear the scripture from my life and a little from my mouth. That’s church. It works, it’s hard to define, and it’s from Him.
    Maybe we should allow God to organize His church the way He wants and at the same time allow folks to have different ways to reach different people. The box doesn’t fit everyone Tom, I’m glad you’re comfortable there, but that doesn’t mean we all have to try to “Go” to church.
    Blessings.

  • Rick,

    The problem is Farmer Tom is right about everything. Haven’t we learned anything?

    Heck, I should’ve been following Tom and his family this whole time, and not God. What was I thinking?

Faith & Encouragement | Spiritual Issues

What’s the Right Answer?

Is there a Right Answer?

Rick and Jennifer (from Diary of 1, talented….Very talented writer…) made comments recently that I cannot get out of my head.

In short, they both acknowledged,  for lack of a better term, a certain Christian Prejudice they encounter because they are not currently Involved.   They are still believers,  still family,  still sincere, still walking as uprightly as they are able.  By the power of the Holy Spirit of course.   Naturally.

However, they both have stated they would rather politely respond to the “Where do you fellowship?” question with an open-ended “We’re in between.” than honestly admit they fellowship in very non-traditional methods.    Even un-Biblical methods if you ask some.

So, what’s the problem with the rest of us?    I count myself into “us” because I do attend a fellowship that fits very nicely into the modern equation of Fellowship + Teaching + Accountability + Attendance = Church.   Am I attending out of a sense of WOOT!!! this is the Place For Me?  Not really.   My kids, being the anti-social homeschoolers they are, really do enjoy the interaction, the encouragement in the Word and the freedom they experience in this particular body.  That was good enough for me, but it seems more is required.  Toward that end I have opted to engage myself in a women’s study (as participant only, so help me G-d, I don’t think I can do any more than that! Yikes!!).  Obedience yes, but mostly because I recognize my own tendency to isolate myself and I began to see how that personal drive was slowly killing my spirit and decimating my faith.

I couldn’t let my soulish desires to remove myself from “life” win.   I refused to. So I made a choice.   It’s working ok.  We’re on week 2.

But, more to the point…

I am committed believer.  Faith is my life.   It is the air I breathe.  Even when I am mad at G-d and sometimes call Him names and ignore the way He talks to me.  I didn’t say I was good at being a Christian.

So… Belaboring my point but rapidly approaching it.

What’s all the passion about?   Is it passion?  Or is it fear?

Is it fear of what is unknown?  Or fear of what is unable to be easily quantified?  Is it from some sort of altruistic desire to “hold one another accountable” to what is plainly written in the Word?

What is it that makes the rest of Churchianity go bananas about the home-church/organic church movement?

While my husband and I don’t always agree on how Church fellowship and interaction should look we do completely agree there needs to be radical change in the way corporate worship is both viewed and propagated.  A balance reached.   More freedom/less hard-nosed authority.  More righteous authority/less license to sin.  You get my drift?

Obviously this issue hits major buttons.    A billion comments later I can see that and I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed.   Really.

See, I’m just not sure why.   I don’t understand the animosity.  The vehemence of the discourse.   On either side.

I wouldn’t want to shame anyone into a deeper or more coherent understanding of our shared faith.  The very thought makes me gag.  But, neither am I willing to compromise, even if it is just perceived compromise, the convictions and Truth I have gleaned, seen, been inspired by and held onto by blood, sweat and tears.

But here’s something completely experiential I can’t quite quantify.   At a time when I thought I needed the support and encouragement of those around me I had someone throw, yes THROW, Scripture in my face.  I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to  hear it.  I wanted G-d to Speak To Me…

And when I most desperately needed to hear Him I did.   All alone, in bed, perusing emails on my iTouch.

My most influential times of worship, fellowship and personal growth have not happened in the middle of a building, seated in a pew, surrounded by the faithful but quiet.   They happen naturally, dare I say it, organically, and much to my chagrin, on Someone else’s time table.

Still I am not called to be alone and I don’t really have a lot of options right now.  I don’t have a lot of people around me.  So in order to foster this fellowship thing that is so incredibly important, I must, must, must, MUST be where the largest concentration of believers are.   AND, since G-d’s all up in my business,  I know I am required to engage them wherever I find them.  Y’know, other believers.

So, I’m starting at The Building….

Within four walls.   With some suit up front.

Don’t judge me.