Thursday, September 08, 2005

Exactly, What do I believe?

I have been struggling with this one for awhile now! Life as my parents and my husband's grandparents view it is so simple. You believe what you have been taught about the church for the last 50+ years. I have been reading a lot of blogs from members of my "denomination" ( although we say we are Non denominational) and some of them are embracing things that fly in the face of my "conservative" upbringing. Even my own congregations seems to be getting wrapped up in this need to be bigger and better and more progressive. Some of the things I accept as outside my comfort zone and not spiritually or biblically incorrect but some just seem wrong. I also question, why we suddenly (or at least it seems sudden) need to make all these changes. Why is change being forced upon people who for what ever reason do not want this change? Why is it not enough that some people are hurt by these actions and are uncomfortable with them in church. It seems like the needs of the people who are uncomfortable with the changes should be equal or perhaps even more weighty than those who are just looking to change things to spice things up. I really fear that if all these changes continue to take place at this fast pace that the end result will not be one of growth but will cause people to leave the congregation . Don't get me wrong I can see the need for some changes and I am in no way as conservative as my parents and grandparents but still question what is the big rush. I have friends at church who are more conservative and friends that lean towards more liberal (although I dispise those two words) and I don't want to lose any of them over these changes. I also don't want to say one group should have more influence over the other, although if I am forced to choose then I think we should err on the side of caution. I don't think the more liberal minded people are going to leave over these things but I think the conservatives just might. I realize that I am being a little vague about all of these but just sharing what has been on my mind for awhile. So I am forced to ask myself "What Do You Really Believe? " "Is this a spiritual issue or a comfort issue?" and "What do I need to do about it?" I know that prayer and serious study time will help and I need to make a committment to do both!


tams said...

I've been going through a sort of stretching of my theology for a few years now. It started with that same question: "Exactly, what do I believe?" Turns out I don't believe everything I was taught growing up. Turns out I don't believe everything I've encountered recently. There are some things I'm still trying to delve deeper into the Word about to gain better understanding. Good luck in your own search for God's truth.

jettybetty said...

I think you will probably find your answers through your last sentence:

"I know that prayer and serious study time will help and I need to make a committment to do both!"

I grew up very conservatively (I am 50)--but it didn't all make sense to me--so as an adult I have been seeking--I really wanted to know what I believed. If you are really seriously seeking what God wants you to believe--I think He will reveal want He wants you to know and understand!



Sandy said...

Our church has gone through a lot of changes and some people have left it.. the biggest recemt problem was that they almost hired a associate pastor that had been divorced and remarried. So many people were upset over it. I don't know if I would have left my church over anything like that, but I can see that a lot of people had an issue with it. There are so many modern changes, in music and everything . It's hard for some people.

Niki said...

Hi Mak! I've enjoyed your comments on my blog and other's blogs for sometime now and just realized I had never clicked over to yours. How thoughtless of me!:{

This is a good question to ask yourself. A very important question - and a hard one. I am in the same place - finding out what I believe. I do not want to be in your face about anything with our denomination - I'm pretty sure we come from the same one - but I'm one for the changes you may be thinking about. First I look at it from a youth ministry standpoint. The Barna statistics are true, teens are leaving our churches by the thousands. You have to ask yourself WHY? The way church has been done for the past 50+ years isn't working. We aren't teaching people to fall in love with Jesus, we're teaching them to hurry up and get baptized as if nothing else matters. The end result is people who are baptized, but don't really know Jesus or His Father. Baptism isn't enough to hold them in the church.
I'm not sure what other changes you are talking about, but I can guess. It's o.k. for things to be outside your comfort zone, and I think you were saying just that. I don't know what you think seems wrong. I guess I wanted to address the next part where you said, "Why is change being forced upon people who for whatever reason do not want this change?" And, "I really fear that if all these changes continue to take place at this fast pace that the end result wil not be one of growth but will cause people to leave the congregation."

Can I suggest that that might be a good thing? I don't think we were ever meant to congregate in a building and just grow and grow and grow there. I think we were meant to go out and spread the good news. You can't do that sitting in a pew hoping others will come and join you. I guess I don't understand why someone wouldn't want change. I don't see it as there has been a big rush for change. I see it as there have always been people trying to implement change, we're just a louder and more determined bunch now. There are those who want to stay in our denomination instead of just throwing up their hands and leaving. It could even be a generational thing, I don't know. I don't think anyone should be bulldozed over for the sake of change, but I also think that there are so many different congregations available to attend,(mainly because we can't agree about how things should be done) that there is room for everybody somewhere - regardless of where you sit on the liberal / conservative pew.

I am curious why you believe we should err on the side of caution. That is a phrase I've heard my whole life, but just hearing it isn't enough for me. I want to know why? If I'm in the word and searching for Truth, Jesus promised in Matthew that I'd find it. My comfort level was never mentioned. The whole erring on the side of caution is generally used by those who ARE uncomfortable with change, and don't know the messy, outrageously lavish, and creative God that I know. What exactly is there to be cautious about? Not misinterpreting a passage? Not worshipping exactly like the 1st century church did? Somehow unknowingly displeasing God? We do that by our very nature - which is why He had a plan for saving us through His grace. It's that caution that has kept us in our pews and off of the streets, not associating with the "least of these" that Jesus talked so much about. It's that caution that has shamed many young (christian) girls into abortions behind their parents backs, or quickly marrying the father of the baby even though he's abusive because they were told by their church family that it was the "right thing to do". It's that caution that caused me to fear hell more than I loved God. How backwards is that?

Please don't think I'm attacking you - that is definitely NOT my intention in saying all of this. I'm still searching too, just from a bit of a different angle. I thought I'd see if I could give you a different perspective and some new questions. I cling to the promise that God's not through with me yet. I still have so much to learn.

It's hard to see both sides preparing for battle against each other about "change" when Satan is glad we're distracted so he can ravage the world. The very world we should be focused on instead of who is doing what right and wrong and whether or not we should associate with "them" who have made different choices than "us". What an adulterous bride of Christ we can be.

I hope we both find what we are looking for and I hope we're looking for the right things. Peace to you my sister!