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Fisherman

Sunday's child

Pleasant outside today. I've enjoyed taking more meals and breaks on the patio. It's a way of being intentionally still, and that's a practice I need.

Jeremy and Jenae's wedding was wonderful, as expected. Such dear ones. It was an honor to read and pray for them. Nate and Heather's wedding is coming up in another few weeks, then I'm done for a while.

Encouraged to read so many friends (journeyto, moneysocal, onesamtwo, vineofcrescendo) encountering God through His Church today. We can certainly find God in nature, but that's not His Body. We can catch glimpses through art, but art isn't His Bride. He inhabits the praises of His people—that's where He can be found. There are a host of reasons to forsake the Church (or to redefine it as "people/things I'm comfortable with"), but none of them comes from God. To claim to follow Jesus while rejecting His Body and Bride seems dishonest to me. I just don't understand how that can be so.

Evening Worship in a couple of hours, then "Grace On Tap" at Conor Byrne. Good times.

Comments

Si. I hear you. I miss corporate worship a lot. And I should find something/someplace where I can find that again. I just know it's not going to be a local church building. I don't even know if I support their doctrine anymore. I either change my attitude and cynicism or I stay away. At this point in my life, I’m opting for the latter. There’s only one Bible study that I know of that I would attend, but it’s quite a drive from here. So, there is a hunger and thirst coursing through my veins, and I know God will not let go. I still touch His hem regularly. I still raise my hands in submission to Him and His will. I still read and study. But right now, I’m doing it by myself. Tis only for a season.

Grazie. I’m glad you reminded me with this post.
I'm so glad you miss it, and I hope you long to be in communion with God's people even more, until you can't stand it anymore.

I just know it's not going to be a local church building. I don't even know if I support their doctrine anymore. I either change my attitude and cynicism or I stay away. At this point in my life, I’m opting for the latter.

This makes me want to ask two questions, one blunt and the second blunter:
  1. Do you believe God has rejected your local churches?
  2. If not, how do you make peace with rejecting people He accepts and loves?
I know that's pretty hardline, but when we refuse fellowship with any church, we make a pretty bold statement—we're turning down both God's call to community as He's laid it out, as well as turning our backs to the people He's called His own.

You have always struck me as such a strong, passionate woman, and never moreso than in regard to your pursuit of dreams of Italy in recent weeks. There's such beauty and abandon in the way you are undeterred by whatever obstacles may lie ahead. So it's a surprise to see you stopped in your tracks here, when I suspect you'd vault over these same obstacles with hardly a thought if they stood between you and life in Italy.

The gospel is about nothing if it's not about God's love of the Church and His forgiveness of her. He names for Himself a people who were not a people, who need mercy and grace as desperately as we do, whom we can't even bring ourselves to love without asking for His love for them. For us. Because they'll need to forgive us and love us too, and we don't always make that easy. And that's what the world will see, or not, depending on whether we listen and follow.

When we love someone, we come to love what they love. Foolish as it seems, God loves the Church, even though she's often unfaithful and hard to love. Her unfaithfulness and unlovability isn't a surprise to God—He loves her despite it. If we love what He loves, we'll love her. And if we are to love her, we will have to love her in spite of all that, too, trusting that if God has declared her lovely, she is. If we can't believe that for the Church, how in the world can we believe it for ourselves? It's the same voice and the same declaration. Maybe that's part of why we reject her.

In any case, I hope you don't feel too hammered by my response. None of us has to justify anything—Christ is the one who justifies us. But if you're hungry and thirsty, God has set a supper for you in His Church. And you don't have to settle for His hem; He promises that His very body is present there for us.
Criminy ... I just realized I never responded to this. Forgive the oversite. When someone takes time to comment to me to this extent, I usually try and at least acknowledge.

I think we're on different pages, Lee. Certainly with the term "God's people." I haven't rejected anyone, only an organization.

I forget stuff like this all the time, so no worries.

It's been a long time, but I have to be honest that I question what you've said here. We are definitely on different pages—I'm very much convinced that it's God's intention for His people to be part of His church, so much so that it's a command: "...not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25).

It's interesting and probably not coincidental that you commented now, because I'm right now in the process of formatting a study guide my pastor wrote for a recent sermon on the Lord's Prayer. Here's the last question from the guide:
The context for praying this prayer is from within the church (i.e., notice the “our’s” and “we’s” in the prayer). In other words, Jesus says, "You’ve got to be part of My community (the Church) to pray this prayer with integrity." In light of this, read the following quote and discuss how this view radically challenges our American notions of sovereignty of the individual:

"The Church is not a helpful thing for my individual spiritual journey. The Church is the journey."

—Tod Bolsinger, It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian

To claim to follow Jesus while rejecting His Body and Bride seems dishonest to me.

Haven't you ever had a friend you adored but couldn't stand the person he was dating?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
That's like the Dead Poets Syndrome song:

Jesus, I love you, but I don't understand your wiiiiife;
She wears too much makeup and she always always wants to fiiiiight.


But like banzai reminded us, "He inhabits the praises of His people." I appreciate how there are constant reminders in this journal of the mandate to love the Church, to love the people, to be obedient in this way. It's all throughout Scripture, and still we miss it ... until banzai posts. ;-)
I wouldn't have resisted, either.

May have more serious thoughts to post another time, but for now, this made me laugh.

my COMPLETELY biased perspective:

church is the way it is because all the good people get uncomfortable, pull out, and "do God" on their own.

there's a time for jumping ship, and there's a time for grabbing a bucket and/or fixing a leak. I'm sad that so many people have already jumped.

it's not just that they need the church (true,) but that the church needs them. I think those of us still holding buckets feel acutely aware of that fact.

(read: compleed agreetly.)
We can certainly find God in nature, but that's not His Body. We can catch glimpses through art, but art isn't His Bride. He inhabits the praises of His people—that's where He can be found.

If it's okay with you, Jeff will be using this when he leads worship this Sunday. It fits the EXACT line of thought that God was placing on his heart to speak to the church about.
Sure—I'd be honored!
Jeff used it as he transitioned into the song "Let the Glory of the Lord Rise Among Us"... it was awesome. Tuesday, we received a thank you note in the mail from our pastor... in it, he mentioned what a GREAT quote it was... and underlined "great". :D
I'm all ablush and thankful it was useful.