I’m responding to Gary’s post of this title (except I added the question mark).
I was (struggling), but not as much now. I felt called to do something (serve the homeless) and am taking action. I really believe that taking this action is changing my view – instead of wondering and dwelling on something like my faith, I’m taking action which seems to be strengthening me. I also have a different view from reading Mere Christianity….
I want to really make it clear that just because I may not be struggling, this doesn’t mean you (Gary/Erin/Watchman/David/Jim/….) should be NOT struggling – really I have no place to even guess on that.
I’d also like to add that when I wonder about things, I usually find myself wanting to write about it to express these thoughts. Obviously we will find that expressed in our blogs, now won’t we? Lately, I really haven’t been interested in writing online – heck even commenting (NOTE to Jim: – I do plan on responding… just haven’t the thoughts collected on it yet – but did have a discussion on the topic of a ‘community of caring’ in our small group last night…).
I do like my church, but I don’t see that I am called to just be a part with what they are doing all the time (but definitely involved in it in some way – like helping maintain the website or whatever my skills offer). For this recent interest with the homeless, I don’t think my church would as much restrain it – more like encouraging it and helping guide it. Just last night we talked about it in my small group and resources if we wanted to make it something bigger (like using one of the trailers and storing clothing and/or building some capability to cook or something in it).
Regarding the “church can seem to be more of a subculture/social club for insiders than a force in the world for God’s Kingdom purposes.” – I’d like to refer to Jim’s posts about fellowship (part 1 and part 2). It is too easy for “members” to fall into contentment of it being a subculture but we so shouldn’t do that. My church actually is bent on not focusing so much on those that are NOT “members” instead of the “members” that I wouldn’t be surprised if some people are unhappy about it. It’s not about you – it’s about everyone else. Is that non-“traditional”? Probably. Is that a new way? I don’t know. I have heard from our pastor that many a time people have commented to him that they just don’t feel they are “getting anything out of coming” – and he has asked if they have gotten involved in any way (they hadn’t) …. I would love it if I could recall something I had read in Mere Christianity about this but it went something like this:
Don’t ‘wonder’ if you love someone. Take some action to love them and you just may find yourself loving them [or more].
I take from that and what my pastor said that if you want to “get something” out of something, you need to get involved in it. I DON’T take from it that all of us have to do exactly the same thing. We all have different gifts and different callings and different paths. I don’t see that everyone MUST all go to a specific church at all. Maybe your church (and at least for this, I mean that primarily as a community of believers) isn’t in a building at all – maybe in a home. Or maybe you are in-between. I do think that we all need some church some how some where. Others to grow with, discuss with, serve together with, etc.
I completely agree with you regarding the statement that “the Bride of Christ is called to live out His Kingdom values in a new way, in a way which loves the world and reaches them in ways that they can hear”. I don’t know what might be the new ways, I don’t know who Jonathan Edwards is either. I don’t think discussing all of this as a bad thing – pushing (gently maybe?) people to change I don’t see as bad… those that are living out His values in the traditional way – fine, even GREAT! But maybe we aren’t living them out in all the ways we can, especially if something has changed.
Gary – thinks for giving me a kick with that post. Maybe I do have the energy to write a bit more 🙂