In my last post (How to find community) I passed on some questions posed by Alan Knox at his blog The Assembling of the Church", regarding finding church community.
I summarized the responses in the comments given to that blog post... and now I am going to (with trepidation) post some of the comments I wrote - and then deleted, without posting - because they seemed too long (and maybe too off-track or too personal)for "comments." Anyway, here they are, in no particular order...
Some things I've been struggling with:
- I came out of a church that fell apart, and the members are all scattered - and there seems to be so much hurt and fear and avoidance. When I try to reach out to one, another becomes hurt and angry... it seems like I'm not allowed to love anyone because that would be taking sides...
- in this town (and elsewhere, too, in my experience) gatherings outside traditional church structures are viewed with suspicion - and even casual gathering with people from "other churches" is so often seen as traitorous
I guess, also, that I am still in a "de-churchianity" process. To be honest, sometimes I am terrified of being drawn back into "churchianity" ... and at the same time, the people I gather with, who have become the most church community in my life, are mostly street people who've come to know Jesus ... and curiously enough, even though I'm terrified of "churchianity" I find myself "missing" to some degree the "security" (I suppose) of regular times and places to gather, and the "culture" (oh dear) I was used to.
We do meet outdoors every Sunday morning (6 to whenever, breakfast, sharing ... no set pattern really), and during the week when we bump into each other on the street or in the parks or wherever, and sometimes people will drop in at my place. They love the home baked goodies I bring with me, and I love the sense of family and the acceptance "just as I am" that they give, and we're getting to know each other more and more, in our own relationships and in relationship with God. But it's strange... I feel like all the things I used to do (in traditional "church") to "serve the Lord" and "serve the church" really don't have any usefulness any more! I used to feel, ummm, useful... It's a strange thing to me to just be accepted, period... I keep thinking I should be "doing" something - something "spiritual" or "ministry" I suppose - something beyond just sharing food and being a friend and giving haircuts from time to time and sharing about Jesus along the way...
Well, I am learning more and more to depend on relationship with Father, first. And that's good. But I'm lonely for family. I mean, lonely in terms of being "needed" or at least "useful" maybe. And not having a guaranteed kind of time to be together. Is that silly?
I know we're to get out and love others. And I'm do, as often as I can. But what do you do when you love to do that but significant other(s) in your life aren't on board?
I am beginning to feel as though maybe I'm just hard to get along with. Maybe I should just do as I'm told. Maybe I'm just self-centered. I just want to be part of family. Ha! Maybe I'm just suffering from empty nest syndrome since my 5 kids all grew up and moved away at the same time as my church family blew up and scattered.
If you've glanced through this blog, you'll see that I've been struggling with "church" for a long long time... I keep wondering when I'll really "be part of the church" ... Or if I'm just trying too hard, and should just go to some "good evangelical church" or whatever and "go with the flow"? (No. Father, the only flow I want to go with is Yours. Please).
Oh. If you are curious about the street church family, you can just type "street church" or "church in the park" or "Another Chance" in the search box at the top of this blog, and you'll find lots of postings. And you can check out the website at Another Chance.