Monday, January 15, 2007

Is the church the main impediment?

Response to Nathan's comment --

You know, one thing I've been realizing lately is how dangerous it is to say "the church" when you mean "this one church in particular". The truth is, every church is different. I think that my experience the last few years has been of church that (from my perspective) was robbed of the spiritual and the personal. I guess I can't really speak for the church at large ... it's more of a "this is something to avoid, that I have encountered".

So, is the church holding people back? Yes and no. God's plan (I assume) is that people come to faith, and are strengthened by the church discipling them and the Spirit transforming them. I think of it as the two elements of music: technicality and inspiration. The church is meant to be a means of improving your "technical" spiritual skill so that when inspiration strikes, it is more effective. If the church is not accomplishing its duty effectively, then it certainly is an impediment. But God is sovereign; he places people in situations with His eyes open; and if I was to blame my music class for my own failure to produce a Gold record then I would be laughed at.

Now that I think of it, though, the church may really be intended more as a family -- and your family shapes so much! Your morals, your values, tons of stuff that you don't even notice. If I said, "My parents abandoned me, so I didn't have the confidence to succeed," then I didn't have to fail because of what they did, but they certainly set me up for it. In this same way, the church will not stop you if the fire of God is in your heart, but they can hold you back a great deal ... and if you were on the brink of failure, then the church can destroy you!

... but it really is a continuum. There are some churches that are doing a horrible job and some that are doing a great one. No church is perfect, and I would guess that there are few true churches that will leave you worse off, in the end. I don't know.


Nathan Wells said...

Church as family - I think it is a good comparison.

These are some good thoughts - I haven't posted anything yet because I'm still thinking...

I asked the question because of things I've seen here at Grace Church - so many who know so many things, and yet there seems to be an inaction in the lives of so many - a disconnect of some sort - not all mind you, because there are many who are examples, but yet there are so many who are just sitting around like they're waiting for something to happen.

Anyway - good to hear your thoughts.

Because He lives,

Lindsey said...

I see this "waiting for something to happen" a lot in the church I attend. There are so many wise elderly people but yet it's almost as if they feel they have put in their time and now it's their time to sit back. They have already "done church".
I do feel like "the church" holds some people back in certain situations. I would go into detail... but I am not sure I've thought it all out. But I do see people (even my self and my husband) being held back in some things. Maybe it would be even more accurate to say that my church is hold back the youth group.
I think the church as it is... is not how it’s supposed to be. It is suppose to function more as a family. Or better yet... a community.
God is sovereign. And I praise him for that.