Monday, August 08, 2005

The church grass is not always greener....

On Saturday night David and I went to the 5:30 service at the "trendy, up and coming church in town." I secretly imagine that everyone who goes to these churches is having the greatest worship, teaching, fellowship and discipleship experiences in the world and my cofc church experience just does not measure up.

Part of me knows better but a part of me always thinks the grass is greener in the community church world. Well, sure - the building is way cool, the people were all really pretty and everything ran like clockwork. But, I left feeling very unmoved and touched in my spirit. I have not wanted to admit that and I don't know why.

Part of the lesson was just bad theology and it left an awful taste in my mouth. The topic, I need a drumroll here, was Money! The pastor says at one point, "if your finances are in the gutter, it may be because Jesus is in the middle of it and he doesn't feel you can handle blessings financially. He then proceeds to say that God wants great things for us to enjoy here on earth." Just can't take that. How do you believe that and address the starving masses in Africa, the starving here who are also faithful? How do you reconcile suffering? Does God really want us to have things to enjoy on earth - or is that our spin on life? I believe that God is more concerned about shaping us into what he desires than our happiness. That usually means growing us through struggle. I do not mean to say that life as a Jesus follower is all suffering and misery - just the opposite. But, I do believe it is a life of real joy regardless of what we have in this life.

So, as I worshipped at Central on Sunday morning, I had a better appreciation for it. When I looked around, not everyone was pretty. In fact some come right off the streets. The building was way cool in 1982 - just not now! We did not start on time and nothing ran like clockwork. But, I was touched in my spirit and knew God was in that place.

I believe God was both places - fully alive on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Sometimes though it is easier for me to see him in cool trendy churches where accapella music does not abide. He grew me this weekend.

1 comment:

Steven J Bruce said...

I have a little theory as to why some folks like you, myself, and others seem to "sense His presence" more with instrumental goes:

effective instrumental worship often leaves some breathing room. By this I mean that what some just think of as musical transitions between verses, songs, etc. actually are some breathing room for us to shut up and God's Spirit to speak. We miss that "transition" time in most acapella worship. I've been thinking for a long time of some ways to allow for this in our tradition. Silence may work, and has it's place, but there is something powerful about being carried somewhere musically during this time.

Might sound weird...just one of the many unfounded theories I have floating around my head :-)