Wednesday

to hate businesses and love weddings


so two sundays ago we visited this little church and
it was pretty awesome.
small, close, they like kids,
they seemed genuine and no one asked,
"how's it going brother?" and
no one told us to shake someone's hand and
we felt pretty good.

we wanted to go back again but
this sunday we were sick and so
we missed it but
we might just go again...

see we struggle with the modern church,
there is so much that we cannot overlook and
i know,
it's people,
there's no perfection but
we are not looking for perfection,
just the opposite...
for family,
for honesty,
for a clashing of ideas and grace,
for discussion and truth and beauty,
for meals shared and family togetherness,
for no one to look down on anyone else and
for judgements to be non existent,
for people to talk and read and think for themselves,
not for programs and
counseling and
budgets and
if i wanted to be a part of a business i would
and it wouldn't be the church.

when we were church planting in washington a couple years back
my husband met with a young man,
early 20's,
who was interested in planting with us and
my husband walked away disheartened for this man,
eager to be a part of a church plant,
kept talking to my husband about how
"the church is a business" and
"needs to be run like a business."
and i don't understand why,
why would we
sell Christ's bride to the highest bidder?
she is beautiful,
she is loved,
He already paid for her,
and yet we want to restrict her and
regulate her and
program her and
fix her
for our purposes,
instead of lovingly, gently
care for her and ready her and
hand her over to the Bridegroom with
tenderness.


i'm not saying i have the answers.
if i did we would not be visiting churches,
considering organic church,
doubled over in prayer for guidance and a
settling of the disturbed heart.
but i do know that so much change is needed,
that if we continue to view the church as a business and
just another piece of the american dream,
if we spend our thousands of dollars on redoing the parking lot
with delightful yet unused landscaping and
waste our time with every program imaginable,
if we appoint a committee to oversee the committee that
oversees the committee which oversees the pastor
who is in charge but
not really because
he is underneath the committee,
if we treat the bride like a business,
she will end up like a business...
abused, greedy, self seeking and diluted. 

but if we treat the bride as a bride,
and each member as our own family...
if we embrace each other and live life together,
if we give all we have and
open our arms
we are creating a place for Love to dwell and
dwell He will,
whether in an old church building or
on the couches of a living room.

5 comments:

  1. You are so out of the box. I love that about you. Also about Eustace Conway, although he's a different sort of out of the box. If you haven't read _The Last American Man_ by Elizabeth Gilbert, Amy, I highly and humbly recommend it to you, and afterward I'll call you up, Sister, and we'll have a lively discussion about nature, but not so much about God. I am half w/ you, as usual, on this. My husband is very up-in-arms about the whole "church as a business" thing. I am more disturbed by the stand up and sit down, and this is exactly what we're going to do, when, and this is exactly how you should behave as a Christian. (And please don't ever write a naughty word again; thank you.) Your grief should be short-lived b/c you're supposed to have an indwelling Spirit, and--if you're not radiating joy--you have questionable fruit. And, see, the most businessy church I've ever experienced gave me so much more freedom to be messy. So it's all a dance. I do think we'll never be entirely satisfied w/ any church unless we start our own, which may or may not do the trick b/c--even if it runs by our rules (or lack of) and hope--it'll still be made up of a bunch of busted-up people. God bless you in your search, Sister. xo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! What an amazing post Amy! I so understand every word you've written. I feel it too!

    Church is people, family, community all with the intention to simply love as Jesus loved.

    When things become all about programs, plans, rules, regulations, particulars, policies, doctrines, etc, etc... we loose what is so indescriably beautiful and unique about what it means to be Christian. We loose touch with Jesus.
    The vulnerable, homeless, poor, teacher, storyteller, healer, wanderer, God made man.

    LOVE this post :)
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi! a church i have been going to off and on for over 2 yrs recently decided to sell their property and build a several million dollar building outside of town. their motto was "whatever it takes to reach "my city" for Christ" and yet they have moved out of the city where those who rely on public transportation cannot get to them. i feel they are doing whatever it takes to be the shiniest and to have the most modern building. my husband has a saying about this church, and he saw what they were doing very clearly, but i dismissed it until recently because i didn't want to see. i cant repeat the saying here because it contains bad words :), but, i struggle so much with the same thing too amy. i rarely go to church anymore - the bible study with the girls was what really did me in. the last sermon series was about converting atheists to christians and my favorite preacher slammed everyone from thomas edison (because he was a scientist) to oprah (because she clearly loves all people of all faiths and apparently that is not right). and i cry and stay home and have my own little church with a stinky husband and crazy boys, and that makes me feel better, but it is still so lonely when you want all of these things that you mention, and can't find it with other people outside of your direct family. i grieve with you so very much.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A lot of what you wrote about I agree with, the church can be disappointing but it can also be a place of healing if we open ourselves and turn to the LORD and not those who run the building we worship in.
    As an older Christian... I see many faults with the 'church of today' but in reality it is not my place to judge it and as long as people are still being saved and learn to love with their whole heart, soul and mind, that is all that is important. your words are good.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love what Brandee said above about it all being a dance. That's a picture I was introduced to recently, about how the Trinity in their perfect communion with one another keep inviting more and more of us into the dance. And sometimes it's messy and sometimes (okay, more often than not) we step on one another's feet.

    I loved Eugene Peterson's book Practice Resurrection based on the book of Ephesians. He doesn't shrink from acknowledging the flaws of the church, but also points out that Christ laid down his life for her. And it was his idea to use this flawed, broken body of people as the means for us to live out the gospel--to practice extending and receiving forgiveness. Heaven knows we get ample opportunity when trying to walk faithfully which a whole lot of other bruised and broken people!

    ReplyDelete