Sunday, November 13, 2011
I was talking with my good friend Natalie the other day about a non-typical church experience we had in town. I go to a church called Water City Church now.
The easiest way to describe the place is....raw. It isn't a streamlined, production-worthy experience when you attend. I don't feel like I'm in an audience.
I feel like I'm a participant in the service.
It's a small, intimate environment. I've always grown up going to bigger churches.
Water City has one service on Sunday. It doesn't have a bulletin that is packed with all sorts of projects, or clubs. It doesn't offer all the good Christian extra cirriculars.
It's simple, and I like it.
The members can join and discuss points of the service. They can share experiences they've had during our Sunday time.
In America, we are trained well in our ideas of God, and corporate worship.
We become set in a specific order, and begin to believe that this particular order is THE way to do things.
If you asked someone to envision The early church doing a gathering, it would very much resemble, in our minds, a first century adaptation of what we know. Like Jesus and his disciples ate the little salty pellets and drank the gross warm grape juice for communion.
Or they sat in some sort of amphitheater for an hour on Sunday, listening to Jesus rattle off the 5 top reasons good Christians tithe, or don't have sex before marriage with their significant other before marriage.
What I'm trying to say is that, growing up in church, I realize that we have the church formula nailed. We know the right way to do things. It's quick, tidy and efficient. It's a system that pumps out good Christians quicker than McDonalds gives out fries.
But is an efficient faith really the goal of my life?
Is church really just a bullet point, 10 step, four week program?
Are we an audience that needs to be entertained on Sunday, as we are the other days of the week?
Or is following Jesus more than the mundane, rigor mortis routine that streamlines the path to a good life?
I didn't become a follower of Jesus to be a good Christian, as odd as that may sound.
I actually have an aversion to that. I think that it's because the day that I find myself being a good Christian, I'll no longer be me. I'll be an actor, a fraud.
The truth is far more messy.
It's unrefined. It's inconvenient.
The truth is that I need a raw life. I need spontenaiety, not a routine. I need to be a participant, not a viewer. I need a savior, not a self help model.
I don't want to be trained, I just want to be...
It is such a blessing to find kindred spirits within this body, this movement that actively seeks to bring a piece of heaven to earth.
Raw, not refined is helping me to understand that the life of one who follows the risen Christ will never, ever find itself falling prey to the predictable...