I have not wanted to go to church lately. The kids had state testing this weekend and I felt relieved that I had an excuse not to go. Chris has been asking me about it. It’s not like me. He is worried.
I have blamed it on the big church we are going to and say I prefer smaller churches. I have blamed it on the fact that I still miss our church family back home everyday and don’t want to find a new church here at all. And while both of those are true, they are not really the reason I don’t want to go.
I don’t like going to church because of the uneasiness I feel every time I go. It is getting worse. I sit in church and I listen to the Word of God being preached and I know it is right. I watch the people around me praising and worshiping and I know they love and adore Jesus just as much as I do. But something is wrong. I don’t know what it is. I can’t put my finger on it. I can’t figure it out.
And then I read things…
Like in Jen Hatmaker’s book ‘7’ – on the very first page she talks about her church … “A poor church plant operating on half its intake means we rent a worship space with dancing frogs painted on the back wall and carpet that saw the Nixon administration. Our parking lot looks like it was hit by an earthquake – and then patched up by drunken monkeys. We have no support staff, no secretaries, no copy machine …. We won’t buy carpet at the expense of orphans. $10,000 for a new parking lot could fund a hundred thousand tree seedlings to reforest Africa’s decimated land and stimulate their local economy. It’s kind of a no brainer.”
Yes it is.
I’m not even sure how I found the blog of Katie Davis, a missionary in Uganda, but I love every one of her words. Especially these …. “Twice in Scripture Jesus is asked what needs to be done in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Twice He answers.
The first time, He says to Nicodemus, “In order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven you must be born again, baptised in water and the Spirit.” We take this quite seriously and celebrate baptism with joy.
The second time, Jesus is asked the same question by an unnamed rich man. This time His answer is this, “In order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you must sell everything you have and give it to the poor.”
We skip this one because it is a bit more difficult.
But what if Jesus WASN’T KIDDING?”
Yes. What if He wasn’t?
I wish I had better words to explain what is going on in my head and in my heart tonight. I wish this issue was black and white. But it’s not. I recognize the amazing things the church I go to is doing for the orphan, the poor, the destitute. And I don’t want to take away from that by saying, ‘I have a hard time walking into this multi-million dollar building and being taught the word of God.’ But that is the truth. I simply cannot hear the stories about the starving people in the village where John and Mandi live and not feel like we are missing something when we hear the teachings of Jesus in our big, fancy churches. I can’t help but feel that we have all gotten really good at loving Jesus, but we just don’t listen to Him.
These are the things pushing me out of the boat.