Saturday, 26 April 2008

Church

I believe in the sanctity of the Church as a body, but not in the infallibility of the church as a unit.

AP was telling me about the coming Ministry Fair and how she's going to add in an advert for CAM (which I'm still depressed over, I don't think anything will come of it) and I was trying to tell her that I'm taking a break. Stepping down. Resigning. She was... I suppose she was everything I had expected everyone to react like, except no one has reacted that way so far. Is there some sort of birthright that says that if you were "born" (so to speak) in a church, that you must be a member of it all the days of your life? What happened to free will and the Church as a body? One can reasonably understand that others are in different churches because of their preference and God's leading, and / or due to personal reasons such as friends and relationships, but can't one understand that when someone doesn't really feel that strength of ownership in a particular church anymore that that someone should be given the leeway to try and discover if there is somewhere else more suitable? (I'm not talking a total drop out here.)

I don't know if it's right or wrong, but I believe in the Church as a body. I believe that churches, individually, should still come together and pull together as the Church as a whole. Yes, it's bad if there's a lot of "stealing of sheep" because there's no point in that (if it's undertaken as an exercise on its own), but what about legitimate needs of current members when a specific church isn't really meeting them?
Which is why I also believe in para-church organisations, such as the GCF, SU and FES. Because sometimes some needs and some work can only be done outside the church.

It's not that I'm saying one shouldn't be part of a local church. You should be part of a local church. It just doesn't have to be the same one from day one of your life to the end. Why? Because people change. Needs change. Churches change. Sometimes, the direction you're taking for your life doesn't match up to the direction of the church. It may or may not be a bad thing, just as it may or may not be a good thing. I know it's crappy to say this, but it depends. It depends on where you believe God is leading you. If your personal direction matches up with the church's, well and good for you. Stay on. Support it. But if it doesn't, what are you supposed to do? Stay on and slowly become a backbencher? Lose your own path in life?

Sometimes, taking a step back can only provide better clarity. Like you know, finally being able to see the forest for the trees? Seeing the big picture?

The big picture is this: churches individually make up the larger body of the Church, the Bride of Christ, and each has their different strengths which suit different people in different stages of their life. Let's not get all worked up when one goes from one church to another. Because in the end, we're on the same side. We're fighting the same battle.

In-fighting isn't going to help anyone much. (Same goes to UMNO.)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

structure

I think maybe one of the things I'm really looking for is a church where I can actually fit into the structure, and not feel like one who is standing outside or above it. Not that I actually do, but sometimes it feels like it.
Maybe one of the things I'm really frustrated about is the fact that there is a structure... somewhat... but it doesn't seem to be working. There are cell groups, but no one really draws you in to one. There were discipleship groups, but after all the talk and discussion, no one actually invites you into one. There are committees and subcommittees to do different projects, but there is no support to carry them through.
Maybe what I'm looking for is really a mentor that can tell me, buck up, girl, we're moving on. Rather than wait for consensus.
Maybe, what I really want, is leadership.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

rethink?

Apparently Pin has stepped down from the Saturday Night service. Ps HC asked if I could worship lead at least once a month, but I told him no. He's under the impression that I'm [also?] on a break. I don't want to say anything until I write that letter to Ps CK, and until I really know what I want to do.
But I do know what I don't want to do. I don't want to get tied up in church again because of guilt. And that is what will be if I start feeling sympathetic and say okay.
Fergus said this:
so i ask myself - what do i need to be doing before i feel like i am christian enough? where should i be serving before i feel like i can hold my head up in church? am i confusing a relationship with jesus with a visible display of obedience? am i bastardising service when it's absence makes me feel like i'm not earning my keep in His kingdom? when i see other people serving, i feel terrible. i know it doesn't make them holier, but it makes them more involved. and involvement is good, right? the church says that, right?

there's barely a line between a church exhorting people to serve and a person feeling bad for not serving. i want to stop thinking that i need to go back to god, like i'm a heathen. my head knows i have god. the rest of me should just knock it off.
And I agree.
As I've said before, I feel that I'm tied to this church because of obligation and expectation, and I don't want it to continue that way. It's not a nice feeling to wake up and go to church because I'm expected to or I have to.
I would like to do something unexpected. And find that it isn't unexpected, or isn't not-what-i-should-do. I would like to wake up on Sunday mornings with the thought that it's okay to take my time and smell the morning and not be there on time. I would like to not feel guilty for not doing enough, or for not being good enough. I would like to feel that it's okay not to be good enough, or persistent enough or dedicated enough, or strong enough, or big enough or holy enough because no one thinks that I should be there already.

I like to remember the smile on my face when for once, for real, my cell leader asked me... are you baptised and do you speak in tongues?
I also like to remember the semi-smirk I had when my drama director, on "interviewing" me said... not every one is allowed on stage. Because that is what I believed and I was happy for it, because it really didn't matter to me if I was or not, I just wanted to be there.
It was also nice to turn up at prayer meetings because I wanted to and felt I should. Rather than to find excuses not to go because I know I should but I don't want to.

And yet I feel sad, because whilst it will be easy to leave, it's always hard to say goodbye.
Even if they don't know I'm saying it.