Thursday, May 24, 2007

Finding a church

It is not an easy thing to find a new "church home". In fact, part of the process for me involves a certain amount of grieving over the realization that I will most likely never, this side of Heaven, be able to belong to a church where I feel truly at home.

One of the trade-offs of marriage and family, for me, means that I will not be joining a church that looks anything like the one above, nor will my soul be fed regularly by liturgical worship, nor will I receive the sacraments every Sunday the way I believe they should be received.

God, in His Providence, has put me on another path. I can speculate why, and I have several theories, but I'm not sure they are worth stating here. So, instead, I look forward to Heaven. Of course we all say that. But I have realized that my true church home will never be here, can never be here, and that I will not taste it until Heaven.

I am also beginning to suspect that God doesn't want me to be comfortable in church. I've not really been truly comfortable in church since I was a wee little thing, back when church was one of the most comfortable and comforting places I knew. But I am beginning to try to make some sort of peace with the idea that God is going to have our family end up in a place that is far outside my comfort zone, a place where I will be forced to give up my personal preferences in order that I might grow in obedience and maturity.

It's not about me. It's not about my church or my church home. It's about His Church, His Body, His Bride. What a privilege to be a part of that, even if it doesn't look or sound or taste the way I think it should.

For a bit of background on our church search, read Changes.


  1. Oh, that is a very hard thing you are saying. Is it really your personal preferences you have to give up, or, dare I say? -- convictions, or doctrine?

    I'm not sure I even want to look for a church anymore. Is it really worth it?

  2. Preferences, convictions or doctrine? That's a good question. I think I'm dealing with a bit of all three. Most of the things I'm giving up are personal preferences; after all, God does not command us to worship him with liturgy in beautiful churches.

    Since my "fall to grace", I've been wary of my "convictions". If they aren't Biblical, then I try to hold them loosely.

    I've also become less dogmatic about doctrine. I've already had to do too many abrupt and public turnarounds. There are certain matters of doctrine that I'm really "hardcore" and unyielding about, but there are other, lesser, areas where I'm willing to bend. I hold those things loosely when they are nonessentials.

    Sorting all that out isn't always easy.

    Is it worth it to find a church? That's a question I've asked myself a lot, and I'm convinced that it is far more worth it than I can possibly understand. I believe strongly that the mystery of the church being the Body of Christ is profound, that we are all created to be part of that fellowship, and that being part of the local expression of His Body is something I must do.

    It's kinda like the fall to grace...scary...unsettling...demands complete abandonment and trust...and I'm not sure that it may prove to be my undoing. Will Jesus really be there to catch me once I jump?

  3. I would not be content if I were not a member of a church.

    The epistles, if memory serves correctly, are usually addressed, "to the church at ______," you know, the Corinthians or the Romans or the Galatians.

    So it seems to me that God assumes us to be, normally, in a church.

  4. Good point, Marie. But I've realized it is not really about my contentment, but about what God wants of me. The sad thing is that there are Sundays where I would be content to stay home and get some much-needed sleep. Our church search certainly does not at all make me content.

    It is contentment in Him that I seek, and that comes more from walking closely with Him than anything else. And part of that close walk, for me, means walking into church on Sunday and trying --- prayerfully with my husband --- to discern if this is where God wants us to be.

  5. "It is contentment in Him that I seek," of course. When I say I wouldn't be content, what I mean is, I don't believe I'd be doing God's will. Not a subjective feeling of contentment.