Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Faith in a vaccuum

As I am reading Acts I am confronted with "the church" at every turn. This is hard for me. I know congregational ministry is how my bills are paid every month. But, truth be told, it is hard for me. I have often joked to David that church gets in the way of my faith all the time. Many jokes are told with truth lingering just below the surface.

I am in the middle of a conversation right now with a friend about his discouragement with organized religion. He is struggling with how to be a Christian without the trappings of church. I have been there. I am not a huge fan of the institution. I want to break the rules. I thrive in change. Creativity and reinvention are what sustain me. None of these are traits that the church is known for.

So, what now? Here is what I believe to be true. One can certainly be a Christian and live in an isolated situation. However, I don't really think we can be spiritually formed or have our faith refined unless we are prepared to live in community with others. There is just nothing that softens the edges quite like having to deal with people that take patience. And taken one step further as we are called to do in the community of faith...nothing softens the edges quite like learning to love people who are different to ourselves.

And so, as Acts keeps reminding me, God adds us to communities of faith because He knows that is where we are most transformed into His image.

4 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

'So, what now? Here is what I believe to be true. One can certainly be a Christian and live in an isolated situation. However, I don't really think we can be spiritually formed or have our faith refined unless we are prepared to live in community with others.'

Good reasoning, Arlene. I have been thinking that we are basically dealing with five groups of Christians, which need to unite on the essential core doctrines and issues at this time where Christianity is not all that popular in the West.

Roman Catholics
Protestants
Orthodox
Non-denominational
Those that do not attend, perhaps 'closet Christians'.

Russ:)

jeleasure said...

Not only can we not be "spiritually formed or have our faith refined unless we are prepared to live in community with others" but, Jesus tells us if we don't have good interpersonal relatioships, we can't have a real relationship with Him. This is in Matthew 25:31-46.

Frank Bellizzi said...

I love the church. It's the people I can't stand. ;-) Hang in there, Arlene.

jeleasure said...

Hi Arlene,
I saw that I received a visit that left your page and came to mine.
Now, let me give you my email address. Then, use it at least once so I have yours.

jeleasure1@verizon.net
I'll chat with you later.
Jim