BY DAVID LAWRENCE
I heard an interview with one of my favorite authors today. This author happens to be a well known Christian and in this interview he talked about how he hadn’t been a part of a church in 10 years. I was a little let down. This didn’t fit my picture of Christianity and this definitely went against all the past things I knew and had been told. I was confused at how a Christian leader could be so influential in the widespread Church, but wasn’t involved in the church himself.
For three years I went to a church that told me if you were a “Christian”, you had to be an active part of a church body or you were “in sin”. I didn’t go to church regularly for about 6 months after my wife and I got married. There were times I was super thankful to not be involved in corporate church gatherings and to be completely free of commitment. But there were other times I felt guilt and shame, almost as though I had to justify our actions of not going to church instead of just enjoying the season for what it was.
What this man was saying was uncomfortable. I was kind of pissed that he wasn’t following scripture (or what I thought to be scripture). I was frustrated and I judged him.
But as I listened more, he said that he had found community outside of the church and talked about the Book of Acts. The part where people weren’t so much concerned about numbers or gathering together on a certain day as much as they were about knowing and loving people understanding the gospel and coming to know the saving love of Jesus Christ.
This resonated with me. I can’t quite say that I’m okay with bailing out on church, but I can understand where he is coming from. I like gathering with others and living life hand in hand with people a hell of a lot better than sitting in some pews on Sunday, singing a few songs and leaving.
On the other hand, these ideas are still new and I’m the type of guy that is horrified at the thought of being uncomfortable and most often would rather run away than potentially be shaken.
So, I’m unlearning. I’m believing that being uncomfortable can be good and that it can bring about growth; that it doesn’t have to be this scary, terrible thing. I’m also learning that I’m a lot like others and there are a million different things we are all scared of, but if we don’t step out and try and embrace these things, we will never learn and grow.
Photo credit here.