Church Chat

I should begin by stating that I consider myself a churchgoer.  I find comfort in the collection of like minded folks trying to draw closer to the divine and find meaning for life.  Church has been and hopefully will remain a place of substance that challenges me to see the greater purpose for life.   I find strength when prayer is united, energized when song is harmonized, and encouraged when the word is opened.  As a whole the church experience can be beautiful one.

Having the knowledge that when difficulty or hurt surround us this community can help bear our burdon side by side is a powerful understanding.  There are times when one needs to just be around others and observe without participation and the church provides this as well.  We can enter the church wherever we are in life and become a peer to all others present.  Equal sinners before a forgiving and loving God.  A most blessed and beautiful event.

So I feel led to ask the question…Why does the church seem more inclined to isolate and separate than include?  What I guess I’m asking is if all of us come to God’s presence only through grace then why is today’s church so exclusionary?  How with any conscience can a person claiming to be perfected into Christ’s image look at others and see anything other than themselves?  When did the church decide the greater value is to only welcome people with certain forgiveable sins?  Since when is sin put on a scale of importance?

Grace is what makes us all one.  It equally brings us to the foot of the cross where the choice to follow or reject awaits.  Grace cleans our slate and gives us common existence with the rest of humanity.  Grace is not a choice for me to give away.  It is the essence of existence.  It must be shared not just so it can be passed on to others but so I can fulfill my calling as a follower.  No matter how many curious beliefs we accept or various practices we enjoin, a life lived with out grace to others and self is not a healthy existence.

It’s time for the church to see people the same way God sees them, the same way God sees me.  Imperfect…in need of love, forgiveness, and acceptance.  If today’s church wants to be relevant it will teach and experience inclusion.  The same message shared by a carpenter many years ago.  Church isn’t defined by who is kept away but by who is let in.

A man walked into a doctor’s office and said, “Doctor, I have this awful headache that never leaves me.  Could you give me something for it?”  “I will,” said the doctor, “But I want to check a few things out first.  Tell me, do you drink a lot of liquor?”  “Liquor?” said the man indignantly, “I never touch the filthy stuff.”  “How about smoking?”  “I think smoking is disgusting.  I’ve never in my life touched tobacco.”  “I’m a bit embarrassed to ask this, but–you know the way some men are –do you do any running around at night?”  “of course not.  What do you take me for?  I’m in bed every night by ten o’clock at the latest.”  “tell me then,” said the doctor, “this pain in the head you speak of, is it a sharp, shooting kind of pain?”  “Yes, ” said the man.  “That’s it–a sharp, shooting kind of pain.”  “Simple, my dear fellow!  Your trouble is you have your halo on too tight.  All we need to do for you is loosen it a bit.”

Live large…even in church

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