What in this chapter really resonated with your journey and why?
There are plenty of believers enjoying a relationship with God and deep fellowship without the requisite congregation in the middle of it. They aren’t bitter or independent, just more passionate about sharing life relationally than they are about all the meetings and politics they got caught up in when they attended a congregation. And what I’ve discovered is that those living outside congregational systems don’t mind if others feel blessed to be part of them, but those who go to a congregation often judge those who don’t.
This is something I have noticed for a few years… I have discovered life outside the IC and I’m not bitter or rebellious as some might try to assert. I have also tried to refrain from being openly hostile toward those in the IC, but they seem to hold on to hostile feelings toward me for not attending their IC.
There is nothing more irresistible than exploring your journey alongside others who know how to share God’s love and wisdom together.
When I visit with friends that are living by God’s love, and are living by faith instead of religious obligation, it is always exciting, fun, and God’s love is obviously apparent.
I also liked the 2 paragraphs explaining the context of Hebrews 10:25, because I have told people these same things for years. Many in the IC get mad at me for these views, but those living by God’s love think it is very insightful, and turns some of the typical old IC ideology on its head.
I have thought about the remarks on Heb 10 also. Don’t you imagine that many in the IC might be threatened by people on the outside who can do without something they on the inside believe they need? Besides, I can’t imagine any church in the first century looking like an IC. Wouldn’t an early church be more likely to resemble 1 Cor 14:26 and Acts 2:42ff than an IC today? I’ve been trying to read the New Testament and imagine what it is actually saying rather than reading what I’m accustomed to back into the text. It’s an exercise!!
I imagine the folks in the IC must feel threatened in some way due to the harsh attitudes that I have seen when bringing up issues like this. I don’t bring up these issues much anymore unless asked for my thoughts, because it creates to much arguing and harsh attitudes.
I love reading the Bible sometimes with these things in mind and it gives new insight and inspiration into my life.
“If you’re looking for Jesus’ church, look for people who are drawn together by their passion for God and one another, not those who talk about commitment and accountability.”
I really feel that passion is missing from so many Christians in my neck of the woods. Being that many are Calvinistic there is an annihilation of emotions and desires. You need to kill off everything, read your Bible and discount emotion and experience because those aren’t in the Bible. I’m not a robot. I am not able to live in such deadness.
“Programs will produce boredom, but sharing a real connection to God and others never will.”
Oh my goodness could church be mind numbingly boring. I know I’m not an idiot because I have been listening to a variety of podcasts over the last year or so and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to all the different people. These people on the podcasts have really wrestled with deep questions with God and it has been so refreshing to hear from all these people. I never had these kinds of conversations in the IC because if your verbiage didn’t match their language you would not really be accepted. It wasn’t about genuine conversation but more about being pressured into what the leaders were saying. As a non-calvinist that never meshed well. I really didn’t go around saying much, but even a slight question brought down all the same rhetoric. God is way above us and we can’t understand His ways. Well great. Then what’s the point? Dumb.
“Friends sharing a journey will also find joy in owning our failures, asking for forgiveness, and looking for ways to iron out conflicts and misunderstandings.”
I have no idea what this is like. It’s join the rhetoric of the pastor or your wrong. There isn’t room to hold a different position. The rest of Christianity was wrong if it didn’t match with their particular doctrine. Instead of presenting different ways to think and look at God it was one way which was their way. Needless to say I’m exhausted from a couple decades of all this. I like freedom of thought. I don’t need to be right I just need room to think. I should be allowed a different perspective and real questions.
Wow Gadiela! Your thoughts are resonating with me! I feel your exhaustion in your words and can empathize. Hang in there friend…you can have ‘freedom of thought’ in Christ. I had to come to a place of actually allowing myself to have my own thoughts and questions and deciding what I actually do believe rather than just swallowing what I was told to believe. It is wonderful to finally allow myself to rest in that freedom and be real.
Joan, my first thought was, I second your resonation. Resonation is not in Webster’s, but you get the drift.[quote=“Gadiela quoting Wayne, post:5, topic:280”]
“look for people who are drawn together by their passion for God and one another”
That would be real church. Holy passion.
p. 126- Learning to love flawed human beings lies at the heart of learning to be his disciple.
Love this quote. And the first person I need to start with is myself.
Somewhere along the line I thought I had to be perfect to be accepted, then I wondered why I found myself unacceptable and alone much of the time. Many people knew my flaws anyway despite my best attempts to hide them. And yet I didn’t feel acceptance because I only saw in them what I didn’t have for myself. In the 12-step groups it is called ‘judging your insides with someone else’s outsides.’
Sure, its only natural to want to put our best foot forward, realizing though that it is an ideal, not reality, that we are more perfect than imperfect. That is God’s job, to bring us to perfection, not ours. The only perfect person to walk the Earth is Jesus. The only choice we have in this life to love, is to love flawed people.
So well said RonL. I love that quote too, and I love how you personalize it. ‘Judging your insides with someone else’s outsides’… How true that is! I did this not only in the IC but also in the homeschool community. How exhausting and burdensome it can be! My children don’t actually have to look perfect to make me look perfect. What a relief!
Unfortunately most Christian groups don’t know how to incubate deep and abiding relationships. More often than not the program gets in the way of friendship.
When I read these few lines had a speedy reminder of a really good friend I knew in the IC. He was a few years younger than I and was somewhat involved with what they called service for the church. He also played guitar and was on stage most Sunday mornings in the worship team. We used to often get together for great fellowship, chats and just good old brotherly friendship. The times I remember with such fondness where the times when there was a group of us together in a lounge in one of our homes following a good meal normally. This went on for about a year or so, suddenly I noticed a drawing back from him having the time to enjoy some of that friendship. Within a few weeks it was all but non existent. I knew what was happening, he had been told by what was called his “cell group leader” that he needed to start his own “cell group” and there was even a time frame on this.
The sadder side was that you were not considered a leader of men in this church if you didn’t have this “cell group”. You had not passed the School of Leaders which was a series of three ten week training courses that supposedly set you up for this leadership task.
It was a rigorous program and one that really set the ball rolling for my growing disillusionment with this church.
“Turning love into an obligation empties it of reality” coupled with “…and the regular discipline of showing up each week (is) a critical component to their faith.” Yes, yes, yes. Devotions (preferably daily and in the morning), attendance at a church service regularly, and prayer were always taught as the earmarks of real faith. “In fact, isn’t it those congregations that most often divide us into like-minded groups that deny his work and revelation in others?” With over 20,000 “Christian denominations” worldwide, we find those with whom we agree and then feel satisfied that we are all “the right ones.” It is actually quite sad. The world does not see us as “one” or as loving each other, since we don’t want to cross any denominational lines or doctrinal differences. “Until we see that the life of Jesus is the most engaging invitation we’ve ever been extended, we won’t find our way into its joy. Knowing him will make all he wants for us an irresistible reality. If that’s not the case, then you’ve missed something critical in the gospel.” Today, I was musing through Psalm 37. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” If we delight ourselves in Him, doesn’t He become the desire of our hearts? I love being with others who are asking questions, uncertain that they know EVERY truth, and who have identified Jesus as God in their own lives. So much to learn, so much to “unfold,” as Wayne would say, so much more trusting to do.