When my husband and I were still a “young couple,” we used to laugh over an imagined scenario at our church:
“What ever happened to that young couple with all the boys?”
“Haven’t you heard? They divorced – someone said that they just grew apart, that they didn’t know each other anymore.”
“No! They were here at church all the time! How could something like that have happened?”
Truly, it’s not funny, but we laughed because we knew that even though our church family loved us, if we had said, “Yes,” to all the ministry opportunities that were pressed upon us, it wouldn’t be long before this was our fate. Fortunately, we were able to remember their love for us as we made decisions to become the guardians of our own margins and boundaries.
For many people, the church has a reputation to overcome. It’s hard to trust The Body when you’ve been burned by its members. For various reasons, believers are staying home on Sunday mornings, and the experts say that only 20% of Americans attend church regularly. Certainly, anyone who has done time in the pew can find a reason to gripe: lack of appreciation; not liking the pastor/the music/the sermons/the color of the carpet; unsatisfying or turbulent relationships. All of this should be no surprise to us, for even the healthiest, most vibrant fellowships are populated with . . . well, sinners. There’s really no one else to come to church!
I’m over at The Perennial Gen today making a case for giving the church another chance–even if you feel as if you’ve been burned in the past. Ponder the wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and then click on over to read the post in its entirety:
“The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself . . .”
Please join the discussion over at The Perennial Gen, and I do look forward to reading your thoughts on the church gathered and the role it has played in your spiritual formation.
Many thanks to Jen Ferguson for the lovely image.
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