- I believe that there is no such thing as Church (with a capital “C”) without church (with a lower case “c”)--as messy and as difficult as that may be. I think that many churches believe that they have to have a pristine appearance to attract clientele, or perhaps the "right" clientele. Anything that smacks of ugliness is often quickly and quietly discarded.
- I want to be the change in the world that I seek. And that means engaging the problems closest to me. Like in the next pew. Like in this pew. Like in my own seat.
- I believe that reconciling nations and people starts at home. If I can’t work toward reconciliation in my own church, there is no way I will be able to accomplish it on a broader level anywhere else. Amen!
- I’m not a militant separatist. I don’t believe that everybody has to think EXACTLY the way I do before I will worship with them. Even if they are more conservative than I am. Again, I see too many churches who have adopted a "cookie cutter" mentality. If someone holds to a different position, we dismiss them as hard-headed or not unified with the body. But I wonder sometimes, do my toes always agree with my fingers?
- I don’t expect the church to be anything other than it is—a group of difficult, broken people plodding their way to glory. The kingdom of God is coming; it isn’t here yet.
- I believe the church is bigger than political parties even if the people attending it don’t understand that. Even if the people who leave it don’t seem to understand that either.
- I believe Jesus can and wants to redeem Pharisees as much as publicans. You have to believe this, or you become one of the Pharisees!
- I believe by staying in the church I earn the right to speak about the problems I see. It’s the old adage that you can criticize your family but no one else can. By staying with “my family,” I can speak about our failures and the doubts I wrestle with. I think that is why churches seek to get rid of problem children quickly. Don't let the take root!
- I believe that 2000 years of church history holds a bit more weight than my personal experience.
- I have brothers and sisters in Christ who have been imprisoned and lost their lives for doing the very thing that I would be giving up. And they do it JOYFULLY. At one point, someone confronted me and asked about my happiness. I said that my happiness is not my concern, but my joy in the Lord certainly is. If my peace comes from having everything in place, it is a fragile peace indeed!
- I do not want to lose people I love and who love me and my family. And while there are times that conviction must trump relationships, these relationships act as a grid to help me determine whether my convictions are sufficient enough to risk losing these people from my life.
- I need the church to regularly remind me about the things that I don’t like in the Scripture. Things like God’s anger and my sinfulness--things that if left to myself, I would conveniently ignore or rationalize. Hopefully, the church is up to the task!
- I am not an island. My choice to leave church affects everyone else in the congregation. Remove one part from the whole and it is no longer the same entity.
- I have children. And while I’ll be the first to admit that it’s dangerous to raise your children in a church that distorts the gospel, it’s equally as dangerous to raise them apart from church altogether. One way the gospel is expressed is in the loving covenant relationship that happens in the church – I want that to be part of the warp and weave of their experience. I want them to know that real commitment means taking the good with the bad. Amen!
- Jesus hasn’t left the church. No, of course, I don’t mean this in a sanctimonious way. (If I had, I would have put the word sanctimonious in asterisks.) I mean simply that after he threw out the money changers, Jesus continued to worship and sacrifice in the temple. His work is to purify and redeem, not to alienate or destroy.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
15 Reasons to Stay.
Found this here. I added a few comments in bold print, so those are not from the original author.