I’m almost afraid to even start typing.
I guess I should first apologize for invariably falling off the face of the blogsphere unannounced. (Not that I have a ton of followers or anything but there are those faithful few.) I should have said something. I saw it coming honestly. My posts were becoming fewer and further between. And then one day, my worst bloggy fear was realized. I just didn’t have anything else to say.
Alright, well that’s not quite exactly true. But I’ve always been told that if you didn’t have something nice to say, you hadn’t ought to say anything at all and well, honestly for the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to work through some things and anything I could say would have come out pretty snarky. And I just am not a real fan of snarky. Especially when the would-be snark-er (namely me) is not really any better off than the would-be snark-ee.
So I’m obviously way behind on my Reading for the Road list (which I will try and update here soon). And to be sure, that’s probably been a big part of my problem. Not that I mean that it’s BECAUSE I’m reading that I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog. No really, it’s more of WHAT I’ve been reading that’s gotten me kinda twisted in a knot, waking up at 3am in the morning with my mind going a hundred miles an hour.
It all started with Radical I think. David Platt totally turned my world upside down and I haven’t been quite right since. I think deep down, I’d known that things weren’t right – in the body of Christ, in what I saw at church, in my own life. When did my faith become so me-centered? That book was a punch to the gut for sure.
And I’ve followed that one up with more uppercuts and right hooks.
One for example, was called Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna. This book explores the basis behind why we do some of the things we do in the church. You know, the beginnings of different church traditions – everything from the church building itself to tithing, and even the way we dress for church. I think I just wanted to get back to the basics, you know? What does the Bible itself say about worship and the gospel, how the body of Christ should function, what the church should be like? You’d think I’d have some kind of an idea, huh? I grew up in church. I even got about halfway through a religion degree (which did include quite a bit of church history). Yet, I still felt pretty clueless. At first this book really got under my skin. After recently having read Radical and then having the second chapter of Pagan Christianty to be about church buildings, needless to say, I was feeling pretty unsettled. (Our church had just moved into our brand new humongous building and the numbers just kept running through my head. And too, something else I guess you should know is that Frank Viola is very big in the house church movement so he was real convincing about how far removed we’ve come with our building funds and overhead costs compared to just having church in people’s homes.) Well I got about halfway through that book – covered the building, the worship order, the sermon, and the pastor – and suddenly it started feeling a little petty. I was so pumped about it at first but then I think it just got overwhelming and I shut it down. I mean, what could I do about several hundred year old or more traditions in the church? And anyway, wasn’t it just part of process of life for things to progress and change, to improve, to be more relevant to today and become more technologically advanced?
So moving on…
Honestly, that’s probably been my biggest struggle. Looking around me at the money I spend, the money spent in the church and then being faced with the reality that while I sit in my multi-million dollar church building fully equipped with air conditioning and movie theater screens, there are people on the other side of the world who are meeting in the dark in someone’s house with maybe just a page or two of the Bible to read from knowing that at any minute, they could be bombarded by police and taken to jail (or worse) for their faith…for daring to follow Jesus. Thinking about the amount of money it costs to run a mini-mega church, thinking about how much money I wasted last month on nothing really and then thinking about people…children…in other countries who don’t have clean drinking water. It was all starting to make me a little sick to my stomach.
But then, there was another part of me that really did like that big new building. Another part of me that just had a hard time grasping that there were actually still people being killed for calling themselves Christians in this day and time. Another part of me that really was so far removed from real poverty and hunger, from persecution that it was easy to play ignorant…or at least it was for a little while. I think that part of me is starting to lose steam however.
I think I’m really beginning to see how easy is it to say that I’m not okay with something, and even make efforts to change a few things around me…as long as I don’t have to change my own lifestyle.
So after a couple more gut check books – Radical Together which is Platt’s follow up to Radical, and then most recently working on Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman – and some good talks with my precious Tuesday Morning girls, I am
And that’s where I am.
Frustrated with church.
Frustrated with this world.
Frustrated with myself.
And I don’t know what to do about it.
And I’m afraid I won’t end up doing anything about it.
And I’m also afraid I might…