(Sorry gals, this post is long. But I think all of my posts are long! Sorry!)
Yesterday afternoon I had my part II to yesterday's post completed. That way I could get on the computer first thing this morning and post it. But in the middle of saving it, blogger went down and I lost it. So I think the Lord wanted me to work through some things before posting the second half of "Cravings". Part II is all about something I am facing right now, a change taking place. It's nothing bad or earth shattering, just something that is weighing very heavy on my heart. With that comes my feelings and my own opinions. Now if you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I like to really pray about what I write when it comes to my relationship with Christ and the things He is showing me. As a woman trying to pursue holiness, I don't want to put anything out there that would confuse anyone or cause anyone to stumble. Right now my view on church is really at a difficult place. I need some help with all that I am feeling. I need some help working through all the opinions I have formed in my head when it comes to church. Tonight I am going to buy Rob Bell's book called Velvet Elvis. A friend of mine recommended this book and she knows I am a huge fan of Rob Bell. His sermons are wonderful to listen to. In fact, I would love it if his church was HERE. That may solve our church dilemma.
Since the post I had planned for today was lost in space, I think the Holy Spirit had some time to work on me and soften me a little bit. Once again He is doing something new in my life, brand new. Actually, I have never been at this place before or even tasted anything like it. It's scary, but also exciting because I know God is about to reveal himself in a way I have never experienced. A few days ago I read something that someone had written about church. This woman writing is a GODLY woman. But guess what? She does not attend church. I was kind of surprised but at the same time I was proud of her for writing about it. She explained that she was feeling like she may be ready to be a part of a church. So many Christians spend so much time talking about their church that I never hear the word JESUS come out of their mouth. I know a lot of church people that don't seem very different from the non church people.
I hear church people freak out when they find out you like Red Wine or a Margarita with your Mexican Food! I know church people that drink but hide it. I know church people that are afraid of being seen at Super Target buying a bottle of wine. Well send me, I will buy it for you!
The truth is, I am done. I am over the whole churchy church kind of talk. It's not genuine, it's not real life, it's totally and completely fake. Now don't get me wrong. There are things as Christian Leaders or people in ministry that have to show boundaries. If I am on staff at a church, I don't know if I would go to the Target down the street and buy Yellow Tail Shiraz! If you don't know what that is, it's wine. Good wine! That would be something I would have to really, really pray about. I don't want to ruin my witness or my ministry. There are two sides to that scenario and both have good points. Christians debate this constantly so I am not going to. But if you think that me having a glass of wine makes me a woman that is unable to minister to women, then obviously I will never be able to speak into your life because I enjoy a glass of red wine! Getting drunk, I have a problem with. The Bible is crystal clear about being drunk. So why is that some have a problem with drinking wine but they don't have a problem with watching Grey's Anatomy, Boston Legal, Desperate Housewives, Two and a Half Men and Friends reruns. Now let me go on the record here. I LOVE the show Boston Legal, LOVE it! But when people are having sex in a coat closet, sex in their office and it's not with their spouse, I do feel convicted. The enemy is sneaky. As Christians we say we don't agree with it and just because we watch shows that support affairs and sexual relationships doesn't mean we will do it! Right?! Again, the enemy is sneaky. Some choose not to drink because of family alcoholism, etc. That's totally understandable. But I have heard a lot of talk lately among friends of mine that have been judged because they like to have a beer or Margarita or wine. I have not faced this kind of judgment before.
So we all have different convictions, yes. But people in the church, including MYSELF, like to put sin in a pretty box and tie a big, fat, bow around it. We judge, oh how we judge! Several years ago I went through a Life Management Program called Pathways. This was something that Dr. Phil McGraw created. Pathways is a four month program. It's secular, not a Christian program but it's operated by many Christians. While I was in Pathways I had several classmates that were homosexual. One of them I became pretty close to. I had energy for him, I really loved him as a person. When he would speak in front of the group, my heart would break for him as he shared his troubles as a child. This guy who was gay believed in God. He believed that he knew God. He believed God loved him. Before Pathways I would have thought he was crazy but I saw his heart. Whether or not he was saved? I was unable to make that call. Some Christians would say there is no way a gay man or woman could possibly be saved. That's another thing like drinking and TV watching that I don't care to debate. Sin is sin! During one of the sessions, I noticed this particular guy crying. After the session ended it was time to go to our rooms for the night and work on homework. Yes, we had homework. But first I grabbed my buddy (a buddy was your person that was assigned to you and worked on your training together through out the whole four months) and asked my gay friend if I could pray for him. After I finished praying, he asked if he could pray. Yep, a gay guy praying! Perish the thought! Right? No, it was a prayer I will never forget. A true sinner, asking God to help him.
A few months ago when I visited my grandmother in Beaumont, Texas, we all went out to eat. On our way we saw a man, his wife and young child standing on the corner holding up signs that said, "God hates fags!" I shouldn't have, but I looked out the window while we were stopped at the light and shook my head in disbelief to the man shouting things in his battery operated megaphone. I looked in his eyes and showed him how much I disapproved. I could have been shot but my heart hurt so bad when I saw that. I was mad that someone could portray God in that way! When the man saw that I disapproved of his behavior, he shouted something horrible. I still can't believe he had his little boy out there with him. What a sad, sad world we live in.
At the end of my cul-de-sac, there are two lesbians that live in a house together. Obviously they are a couple. Across the street from them is another lesbian that lives alone. I see all of them outside every single day talking as they walk their little dogs. They know me by name. They know my children by name. They have seen us leave for church on Sunday mornings. Actually I had a conversation with one of the sweet ladies and told her we were still looking for a church. She KNOWS we are Christians. I make it a point to let her know through my verbiage that I am a Christ follower. I make it a point with my smile and my actions to let her know that I am a person that loves her.
So this is what I crave. This is what I have a taste for. This is what I am praying about. This is why I am tired of church, tired of looking for a church, tired of talking church. I don't want an EMERGENT church! I don't want a SEEKER church! I don't want a church that thinks that are not seeker but really are! I don't want a church that is trying to be like every other church! I WANT TO BE THE CHURCH! No, I don't want to start a cult. I don't want to be a Pastor. I don't want to FORSAKE the church. I need it, my kids need it. But, I don't want what I have always had. My taste buds have changed and I can't handle the status quo anymore. I crave authenticity. I want to go somewhere that is not worried with how many people are there that day or focused on how they are going to get more people to come the next Sunday. I don't need a fancy name tag or a pretty bulletin. Just put me in with sinners! Sinners that are really desperate for CHRIST. A place that has an alter flooded with men that are addicted to pornography, men and women trying to come out of homosexuality, men and women needing a Savior instead of needing a church. You see all of those people are in our churches but no one wants to be real. No one wants to expose their sin. We all want to have Bible Study but we don't want anyone to piss us off.
I have thought about inviting my cul-de-sac over for breakfast on a Sunday morning. I just want to get to know them. Find out what they do, what they like and who they love. Do they have kids? Do they have grandkids? Maybe that would start a spark. Maybe that would show others the love of Jesus. Who cares if I ever stand on a church stage and sing again! Who cares if I ever get to be on staff somewhere again! Who cares if anyone knows that I can lead a Bible Study, speak or write a drama! What if I am supposed to focus on love? Loving my neighbors, loving those I come in contact with. What if that's how I am supposed to minister to women?
We have not been to church in two weeks. We read our Bible, we study His word daily, we pray, we worship, but we have not been to church in to weeks. One of my very best friends, Tiffany, asked me yesterday if we were going to church on Sunday. My answer was simple. "I don't know." Where else can we visit? Where else can we put our kids in the nursery while we try to figure out whether or not this a place we should come to again? It's grueling, it's painful, it's the most horrible process ever. We will go to church again. We will not forsake the body. But, we are waiting on God for a crystal clear answer. The hunger has changed. The craving is strong and so far it has not been satisfied. What is God doing? What is he trying to show us? That's what I pray He will reveal to my husband and when He does, I know He will reveal the same to me too. Each Sunday we both know what we want. We have been thinking and praying about it daily. But it seems that we get the total opposite. I know that my Husband hears the voice of God, I know that I hear it too. My prayer is that we will hear from Him soon regarding our church home and our place of ministry. Our vision has changed, we have changed, our relationship with Christ has grown and we want more of Him. But we don't want what we have had in the past.
I am not against church. I am not putting down anyone else's church. Understand that I am in the middle of a process. I am not trying to start any debates or offend anyone. I am just being real, completely real. Please allow me to do that. I love God, I am a Christ follower and I need him to RULE my life! Oh how I need Him!