John Pavlovitz said something in a recent blog post that really resonated with me. He said that many Christians are finding themselves “homeless” within the church, that “they’ve arrived at a spot where they realize, often with tremendous grief and a fair bit of denial — that they no longer belong where they once did. They no longer fit in American Christianity.” I’m Canadian, so my experience isn’t exactly the same, but lately I have been feeling adrift. I no longer feel at home with fellow Christians.
I am reminded of Rich Mullins’ song “You Did Not have a Home” where he reminds us that Jesus “did not have a home… [and] did not toe the party line… but the hope of the whole world rests on the shoulders of a homeless Man.” Jesus didn’t have a home church. Jesus wandered in the wilderness, preached in the mountains, rode the waves on the open sea, and asked us to follow Him.
There is a tradition in the church that we must attend services. This is mostly based on Hebrews 10: 24–25, which says
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (NKJV)
It’s that “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” that gets read as a command to go to church every Sunday. But that’s not what it says. All it says is that we should spend time with other Christians. Now, I love many things about church. I’ve attended all my life, and there are things in services that I just can’t find anywhere else. I love worshipping together with other Christians. I love the sense of community that is found in the best congregations. But I don’t feel that lately in any church I’ve tried. Instead I feel ignored, misunderstood, or shunned. Maybe it’s time to “shake off the dust from [my] feet” (Matt. 10:14) and find something new. I just wish I knew how to begin.
Originally published at esther-ijustlivehere.blogspot.com on July 19, 2017.