Monday, August 03, 2009

NOT INTERESTED IN CHURCH BUT STILL SPIRITUAL?

How many good people I know who don't go to church. I mean they are some of the cream of the neighborhood or friendship crop. Yet, they consider themselves to be spiritual.

Are they? Yes, many are. By spiritual, they have significant interest in the Divine. They believe in God. But at the moment church isn't a part of their style. Nevertheless, I find them to be respectable and important facets to the kingdom life.

For some of them, church has been a train wreck. They were deeply injured by some past moment. To their credit, their heart never left their Lover.

What I would want them to know from preacher-boys like me is that they are a very special sort. Furthermore, each is carrying a special blessing of God He has placed within them for the church....and those like me are missing out until they find their way back. I am hindered when spiritual ones withhold their commonality of serving beside me. They possess something special of God that is most unique only from them....with a destiny assumed to be me.

So I would say to any reader out there who is spiritual, but not presently attending a church, we need you. We need you to stand beside us. We need you to sit with us. We need you to hold our hand when we feel like giving up.

And you need to know something else. We understand your disappointment in us. We are really sorry. We can't make big promises we won't mess up again...and again. But we can say with assurance that we are sure we will be better with you knitted into our walk.

For any who fit the above description, you are a blessing right now as you are. And we wait in hopes that one day you might be able to look past our gnarly and faulty Christianity to see the One....the One named Jesus who really is what all of us spiritually-minded people strive to know.

7 comments:

Stoogelover said...

Only after I resigned from paid ministry / preaching did I realize the value of these people. That came from trying to find a new church community / family, which was a long, trying, frustrating, difficult journey. The end of the journey was not in a church of Christ.

Brenda said...

This really brings me much comfort. My parents haven't attended church in over 15 years, but I believe they are spiritual and still love the Lord. I pray them and hope they will return again someday. It's encouragment like this that so many need. They need to know they are understood and wanted back. I'll be sharing this with them today.

Freeman said...

I really appreciated this post as one who has left the institutional church. I wish there were more like you who would see it in the same way and I wish there were more churches that could accept and use people who are a little out of the ordinary. I hope to find a place that will use my gifts someday but until then I will use them where the Lord wishes be it in a "church" or or not. Thanks for the post.

Dad and Linda said...

You might like this blog today

http://jumpingtandem-ne.blogspot.com/2009/08/out-on-limb.html

She popped up right beside you on my blogroll today!

Deidra said...

Dad and Linda led me here today and I'm glad they did. Your post speaks truthfully and honestly about some of the places where the church falls short. And without guilt or lecturing, I feel you extend yourself to many who have thrown up their hands and turned their backs. Thanks for writing this today.

Tim said...

TR - I wonder if we may 'miss the mark' by using the 'us' and 'them' language...(I know you pretty well, and I believe you are NOT an 'exclusionist', so please don't misunderstand my comment)

When we read about Jesus 'adding to the church those which were being saved', I am convicted and convinced that we have forever misinterpreted that - mostly unintentionally - to fit our own 'view' of 'church'; an unhealthy view that revolves around a brand and a building.

For my entire upbringing, we have equated salvation with our brand... I would suggest that when Dr Luke recorded the events surrounding pentecost, he was not talking about a particular 'brand' nor a particular 'local church'. He was referring to a sect of believers in the new Way through the promised Savior.

My 'church experience' really wants this 'church' to which Jesus 'added the saved' to be 'my' church, 'my' brand, my local building.... to sort of imagine that all those 'saved' were added to a 'church of Christ' with a building and a little sign over the door which reads '5th and Calvary Church of Christ'... all in a neat mental package.

However, when I take a fresh look at the church Luke talks about in Acts 2 - when I leave behind all my preconceived, ingrained notions - I can't help but conclude that these new saved souls met together in houses and other 'non-institutional' venues... and I further imagine that they worried very little about buildings and budgets and battles about stupid stuff that accompanies buildings and budgets and battles...

It occurs to me that at least 90% of ALL the battles ever waged within/between 'church' groups are attached to a building.

who finances it, who controls what goes on there, how do we do what we do there, how do we pay it off, how do we keep out the riff raff, and on and on and on...

and the devil is laughing.

Is it possible that we continue to miss the point?

The more I study and pray and learn about the subject, the less enamored I become of the institutional 'church'.

sorry for the novel. you are welcome to delete it if you wish...

tm

Tim said...

another (probably better) perspective on the subject of post-church/institutional/organic movement...

please read these for a more balanced look than I tried to provide...

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/08/frank_viola_on.html

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/08/frank_viola_on_1.html#more

blessings!