Recently my wife and I were talking about some of our past Church experiences. We also talked about some of our friends and some of the articles we have read online and the experiences others have had in the organized church.
We talked about how it seems many people mentioned being hurt or abused in the system. It is so sad that this happens in an organization that is supposed to represent the love of God. Yet many times people are abused and hurt and taken advantage of in the church.
For myself and my wife our experience was pretty basic. We grew up attending a traditional denominational church every Sunday thinking that was the way God intended. We went to Sunday School and Junior church when we were young, then to regular service as we got older. We had friends we looked forward to seeing and we attended activities outside the Sunday morning service.
Through all the years we were involved neither of us were ever abused or hurt. We know things were not perfect yet there was never a reason for us to leave the church due to someone treating us bad or some event happening that made us mad.
That is why at this point in our lives we feel our choice to leave the organized church two years ago was because the Spirit has guided us along this path. We have come to feel the organized church is not what God intended when he said he would build his Church.
We were not chased away, we did not get hurt, abused or feel the need to get away. We were not over worked in the system or told to leave for any reason.
We came to a point where we were so unsatisfied with the same planned out service every week. We were seeing so much division within Christianity with all the denominations and interpretations. We saw judgment and condemnation placed on people rather than love and acceptance.
We know that christians are to be known for their love for one another, yet we saw so much arguing, fighting and disagreeing.
We read that when you come together each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. Yet each week one person got up and did all the talking while all the rest of us sat quietly looking at the back of the head of the person in front of us.
We read that we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, so why did people call a building the house of God? The Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit fell upon those gathered together. So why do people tell us to come to church because God was going to show up and the Spirit was going to fall upon the place.
We finally came to the conclusion that the organized church, even though many good things happen there and there are many people there who truly love God, was not what God intended.
God now lives within us. The Holy Spirit has come upon us and we are his temple. We go about each and every day with the Spirit of God within us and we do not have to wait for a specific day in a specific building with one person doing all the talking.
Church is a people who show the love of God to all people, all nationalities, all faiths, all religions, atheists, gay, straight, black, white and any other label we can think of to put on people.
Church is us. It is a community of people living in the love and power of the Spirit serving one another and encouraging one another.
In the eyes of God there is no denominations, no buildings, no office of spiritual leader, there is neither jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
No, we were not hurt or abused. We were not upset or mad at the pastor or anyone in the church system. We just came to the conclusion that there is a better way. God is building his Church and it is us, not a building or an organization. It is a living organism made up of his people with the Spirit living within them.
We decided that going to a building once a week was no longer for us. The idea of separating ourselves from other denominations and from those who do not attend a church or those who do not accept God was not the way we wanted to continue.
Living each day as part of the body of Christ with the Spirit leading and teaching us, accepting all people and letting the love of God flow out to others makes more sense to us rather than sitting in a building with like-minded people and then going our separate ways until the next week.
We certainly do not tell others to do as we do. Each of us has to follow the leading of the Spirit and do what we feel is right. There are many people within the organized church who love God and seek to do what is right. Yet for us we are happy to be outside the walls of religion living each and every day as equally functioning parts of the body with Jesus as the head.
Filed under: Acceptance of Others, Christian Life, Community, The church Tagged: acceptance, Christianity, church, denominations, ekklesia, Holy Spirit, leadership, sunday school