I really want to love Church. The idea of being vulnerable, open and exposed in an environment that is both loving and supportive without ridicule does sound great. Where everyone there is being inclusive and welcoming without the cliques (clicks) that can be found elsewhere in society. Well, this has not been my journey but then we create our own social bubbles that we can customise without being noticed. In a Church culture this appears to be noticable and nowadays more of a challenge.
The Church glitz has changed over the last decade with glorious websites, photos and media. You can now download the sermons rather than attend which may suit the introverts among you and avoid the uncomfortable conversations of ‘What do you do’, oh and the instant coffee. I don’t want a gameshow Church that runs for 90minutes where I feel we are having our spiritual strings stroked and go out feeling great. I want a dirty Church, I want something that is active, low cost, low key but high impact in the community and I have lots of wants that I might not neccessary need. I want something where anyone in the community can attend in a safe space where they can stay as long as they want or as little and I too can just flit in or out but the Church culture on a Sunday is a bit different and makes us believe it is this. It would be great to sing some songs of Worship but the first language of God is creation and people can create in many ways and I want my Church to see that and Worship Jesus in those ways.
We are living in turbulent times, where liberalism and nationalism are wrestling for ground. If you have put your tent up in one or the other then great but mine is sat firmly and sadly in the middle. ‘I feel the conflict within’ was quoted in Star Wars and it is a painful place to be as it pulls at my heartstrings and my faith. A Brexit britain demonises the stranger, makes us suspect the stranger and above all fear the stranger. We live in a post-truth society, where post-truth-politics play out. Church has adopted a post-truth stance and now truth is very much subjective. Bang on about something long enough and we believe it to be true and will even write books about it. I struggle to comprehend how Christians voted for Donald Trump and an all out Brexit but if there was a plan for ‘out’ maybe I too would have.
The Bible in its context has been frank and to the point. When Robert Stephanus added the chapters and verse to the Bible in the 1500s he probably had no idea how much variation could be attributed to verses. How cherry picking and customisation could create such a diverse group of people into even more diverse groupings. How do we make correct choices in a post-truth culture, what should we embrace and what does the Bible say about that. Are we comfortable in accepting that? Going back to the Bible helps clarify and as humans we will not fit what the Bible requires of us but as people we should be honest about this. Can we disagree to the Bible and still be Christians? I have heard people utter the words that they have not found a Church that suits them and perhaps we have lost focus to what Church is truely all about and letting God come along as well…
Authentic communities are made of authentic people, that includes warts and all. Not the pretense fabrication of a community. Preached at doesn’t help anyone whether it is faith, politics or some aspect of equality. To see real harmony and understanding is through mentoring or spending time alongside someone. I learn more about the world in the company of another and a cup of tea but that is me, what about you?
I am sick of hearing about certain Church issues and to believe that God is in total control of some of these sermons bothers me. The Golden Calf Worship team and praying for the things outside of the building. I have seem how people are polite, kind and nice yet later over lunch in our middle class pubs critiquing the sermon that has been, the songs that were played and the summary of other people who were there and bullying them from behind closed doors. I don’t want that and I don’t want to share your post on being nice on Facebook, I don’t want to be told that because someone believes something I have to accept it.
I won’t always agree to some of these liberal thoughts or some of the conservative ones. We don’t need social media to validate our views. If you voted ‘In’ for Brexit you will find groups and people sharing those views. Jump into an ‘Out’ group and it is very different and threatening at times.
We share how we feel, we need to be authentica and honest. The highs and the lows are about being true to oneself and the communities in life that we support. Whatever you think or feel you should not be afraid to share it. The responses back may vary but holding stuff in is worse than not.
Perhaps, you don’t agree with anything I have said perhaps you do. Feel free to let me know in the comments below or feel free to attend one of the Pubchurch meetings.