Home > Uncategorized > Community, part 9/29/09

Community, part 9/29/09

Once upon a time, I was isolated and angry at God and the church to varying degrees.

Online Christian community helped me through a difficult period in my life.

It helped me try and jump into another community, a more traditional, offline church community, to take a risk and try to be part of a family.

Now, as I consider if I am still a fit in that community and whether or not my time there has passed (regardless of what the Reformed guys who say ‘stick with a church unless they teach heresy or start practicing evil’), I am hoping the other communities I am part of do not up and disappear entirely.

If I decide to try another church – if my current church lets me do so – I’m concerned the attempt will be as fruitless and pointless as this one seems to have been for me.

So much of the church world’s prescription for partaking in community boils down to be extroverted, push yourself, meet new people, go out and do things. That is a struggle for me. I look at it, and the culture we American Christians are part of to varying degrees, at times and it looks to me like sanctimonious, religious skubulon.

I want family, friends, faith, freedom, purpose. All of that is promised to me, you and everyone else by the Christian marketers. But so much of it seems like bait and switch, something that works only for those who are naturally gifted enough or talented enough, or can buy those things. It’s a merry go round I want to get away from desperately.

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  1. ( |o )====:::
    September 29, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    BrianD,
    Perhaps seeking all of this from “church” is part of the challenge, and that “church” is something that just cannot fill the need adequately.
    Career?
    Hobbies?
    The Arts?
    Travel?
    Volunteering outside of the xtian context?
    or perhaps an exploration into the more liturgical facets of the faith might be worth the adventure?
    Whatever the next turn in the road, my you find good friends, share your talents confidently, and find transcendent peace

  2. BrianD
    September 29, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Gren, I’m sitting here trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings, wondering what to think and what to believe, not sure about things I thought I was rock solid on not too long ago.

    Everytime I hear one shepherd’s gentle voice of encouragement in my head, I hear his boss’s voice saying other things that aren’t so reassuring.

    The boss, by the way, is a minor celebrity. And in the Christian world you and I live in, celebrity accounts for a lot.

  3. ( |o )====:::
    September 29, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    BrianD,
    32 years ago I left a community that had a charismatic shepherd. I learned the guy crashed & burned, had a divorce, the community splintered, now am reconnecting with them via FB. The one true constant is the individuals stayed connected loosely thru friendships which were genuine and merciful, not so idealistic as to adhere to the creeds or goals of the church, just remained true to Jesus Himself and individuals tempered their lofty goals to the more mundane thinks like I listed.

    For me, the connections that truly have endure have spoken the most into my life and me back. Nurture those. The rest is purely fad and in 32 years hopefully the names and faces will outlast the organizations.

  4. Laura
    September 29, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Brian,
    how’s it going at Toastmasters?? 😉

  5. BrianD
    September 29, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    That’s the one thing I haven’t yet fit into my schedule.

  6. Laura
    September 29, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    and what’s this mean?

    “If I decide to try another church – if my current church lets me do so – ”

    how in the world could a church stop you from trying out other churches? that would be a MAJOR red flag for me.
    Tell me I’m reading that wrong

  7. BrianD
    September 30, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Laura, sorry to cut and run, but I’ll have to resume this conversation in the morning…short night, and my day starts early, so no late night tonight 😦

    Read up on 9Marks and Acts29 church discipline.

    Simply: you sign a document, consenting to church discipline.

    The only thing I’ve done is state my mind, and not participated as fully as I could have. I could probably visit other churches and, as long as it is solid theologically, probably get their blessing. If I were to visit the Church of the Ceiling Cat, they probably would object 🙂

    I could probably just leave, but if they found out where I was going to church, they could call the church and give their side, and follow me around if they wanted to. I’m not sure I’m worth the trouble, but it is in the back of my mind.

  8. Laura
    September 30, 2010 at 12:26 am

    wow!
    That’s just crazy.

  9. jlo
    September 30, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Brian, late for me tonight lots of things going on, but I am looking forward to talking about this further.

  10. Em
    September 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

    BrianD, found this link in my mail this am – don’t know anything about the movement other than a very dedicated Christian brought it to my attention – might be a model for something? dunno

    http://wearethehaven.com/

  11. BrianD
    September 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Not anywhere close to me, Em, but thanks for the thought.

  12. BrianD
    September 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Laura, it works well enough if you have someone who is, say, cheating on his spouse and flees to another church to avoid discipline. Of course, that other church can receive or ignore the one church’s concerns as it wishes.

    If you’re under discipline, you can’t resign to get away from it. I don’t know that it would legally stand up in a court of law, but then again most Christians would discourage you from going the legal route against a church anyway. And there is Scriptural support for not suing another believer, but settling it amongst yourselves out of court.

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