I decided that there should be a new feature here. Tuesdays were once fact tuesday, but that feature has long since been abandoned. However, I feel the need to discuss...to write blog enteries more based on my ideas, thoughts, goals, and beliefs rather than soley what outfit I wish I had in my closet. Don't get me wrong, I love those wardrobe posts (and am planning on continuing to write them) but I feel the need to also be more serious here. I created a blog to have something to look back on years down the road to see how I have changed and grown. Along the way I've also gotten to know and visit some incredible blogs, so the purpose of "get the words out/ on the brink of something beautiful" has gradually changed. But now it's time to yet again redefine my blog. :)
so here it goes....
so my thoughts on....
keep in mind my history and present employment now....
I was raised a methodist and throughout childhood and my youth my parents were extremely active in church. I even have an uncle who's a pastor. :) (One of my favorite people too, fyi). My parents were a part of tons of wesley groups (a/k/a bible study groups) which I was also taken to. My mom was the director of the homeless facility our church hosted, taught sunday school, was a lay leader, and served as a stephen minister. My dad served on staff parish (the group of elders that decided on important factors and changes in that paticular church), also participated in homeless feedings, and as a family we helped set up and take down communion for our incredibly large church. (Along with other things).
As for me.... I was an acolyte, went to sunday school and youth group, and later on became a youth leader (plus all the family things we did as a whole).
Of course there was a slight time (of like 5 years. ha) where we stopped going to church and stopped being active members. It started after my parents divorced and continued until a few years after my father's death. I slowly started to work my way back into church, but was very apprehensive about it. The people of the church hadn't really been there for us during those harsh times. Yes, our church friends had been, they stuck by us, but the other members of the church, that knew us but didn't run in our "circle" if you will, talked about us constantly (well until the next big drama event came around). It took me a long time to realize that the church is just a bunch of people, so it is easy to get hurt and let down. No one is perfect. However, I felt that as church memebers, trying to be more like the One that was perfect, we should be doing better..... Since then I have tried tons of churchs, joined mulitple study/bible groups, read a zillion books on the matter, and now find myself a youth minister/leader.
Now I'm not saying my idea is the only right one or that it's a perfect idea. Far from it. This is merely my opinion and the background of how it came to be.....
To me church should be:
a place to feel connected to God and other Christians around you;
a place where you feel safe and welcome;
a place where you can learn more about the God who loves you;
a place where you can speak your mind and feel safe doing it;
a place where you can feel God's presence;
a place where you can worship God by singing, praying, etc. (no limits);
church can be:
a place where people feel left out or out of place;
a place where the design seems more important than the message;
a place where everything is timed and planned, leaving nothing to the imagination of God;
a place where you must be quiet;
a place where you cannot be yourself;
This is all my opinion (again). The fact is these are ways in which I have felt in the past. But several things I keep reminding myself are:
that church is made of people (imperfect people); and we make mistakes and sometimes make other Christians look bad. We are not perfect, but we should be trying to model the One we live our lives for.
the church does not have to be a building we go to on Sundays; church is when you are with other followers of God and can learn together, pray together, and just be in community together.
the church is not always pretty; as a saint once said....the church is a whore, but she is my mother.... truth is, it may not always be pretty, but that's because we live in a broken world. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't stop trying.
I'm still young and learning, but in my opinion, church is a vital role in our lives. I try to convey this to my youth every Sunday. Yes, there are other times when you can be with God and it's just as important, but as someone who has strayed away from a church family, I know the importance of it. Church shouldn't be about making an appearance and giving our money (as some may make it out to seem). Church should be a place where you go to feel like you are at home. It should be a place where you can safely learn about, talk about, and praise God. It should never be a place where people feel left out or unwelcome. Church (to me) is coming together with your community members and living life together the way it was meant to be lived.... It's making sure you are setting aside time for something that is important in your life...God.