Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday Mornings.

Sunday morning are miserable. Usually I am waking up with a major hangover from Saturday night. Too many beers. Just kidding. I'm not a drinker. (PS, can someone come up with another social beverage besides coffee and alcohol? I don't like either but feel silly ordering a coke, water or hot chocolate when out meeting with friends...)

It's true though, some activity has kept us awake late Saturday night and we're all tired Sunday morning. Last night it was picking up the in-laws from the airport. The problem is the circadian rhythm my body is dialed into waking me up every morning at 7. So I get up, followed closely by the boy. Then it begins...

For over 30 years I have gotten up and gone to church on Sunday morning. Often I have looked forward to it. For the last 10+ I have had something to do with putting that service on. Some kind of active role in serving the service. So I'm ready to activate. But now nothing. No where to go, nothing to do. My wife is more than pleased to catch up on sleep. Apparently she was born without circadian rhythm and could sleep for a month if I let her.

I'm up and it hits. Guilt. Guilt that I should be somewhere. Guilt that I should be pastoring my family better. Guilt over leaving the last fellowship. Guilt over failures in ministry.

So I get on the computer every Sunday morning and I am determined to find a church. Only to look at the same exact websites week to week. Always with mounting frustration. I don't want to go to the place that has "the made over" starbucks logo that says "saviour" instead of Starbucks with a guy on a cross rather than that mermaid girl. I don't want to go to the place that has a $15 million dollar media budget. I don't want to go to the place that has the gospel listed 7th on the values of the church. I don't want to go to the place that has 17 people supporting a 92,000 squarefoot money pit with a leaky roof. I don't want to go to the place where there is a guy that teaches and that is the sole ministry (practically) of the church. Or the place that's key slogan is "Church for people that hate church".

Once again I must digress and confess. I'm broken. I know not to judge a church on whether they preach topically or "line by line! Precept by PRECEPT!!" Whether they have a horribly cheesy website that offers no information and was built of a Tandy 300 tape deck computer with a black and white TV in 1987. Whether they have a kids ministry called "Zapped" and every other ministry is an acronym for something. Whether their exterior is painted mauve or has a cross the size of Montana (with a accompanying ground lighting).

I know. I know. I KNOW!!! And I feel guilty about this! I do! I freely add this onto my list of other things I feel guilty about on Sunday mornings!

I just want a church that is:
  • Centered and focused on the Gospel. God plan to reconcile the world to himself. Titus 3:3-7. Not extra biblical issues. About the point of the story. Every story in the bible. About Jesus and how this story is for people entering the Kingdom and for believers that have been around for 8o years. But not necessarily a place that lords "their love for the true Gospel" over everyone. That's kind of annoying.
On a side note. I really fear the word "gospel" unfortunately is going the way of "evangelical", "charismatic" and a bunch of other terms. All polluted by stereotypes and misconceptions. But that happens when people have been tagging "gospel" onto everything else. Prosperity, Full-gospel, foursquare gospel ;), liberation gospel...
  • About helping one another. That is what leadership is. People that have a gift helping people that need that gift. It's not solely by preaching from a pulpit. Jesus preached some sermons, yes. But a majority of what he did was helping people along. Encountering them, revealing their heart and pointing them to the Father.
More on preaching: I love it. I could listen to the greats everyday of the week on my drive to work. Many, many times I have been blessed and challenged from a Sunday morning sermon. I love it. My fantasies involve preaching messages that pierce hearts and cause people to wail and faint. Really. But practically... If the majority of church meets together, and the majority of their church experience is made up of the listening to the same guy talk week after week after week after week after week after pouring in a majority of their resources to make this happen... and now we have the technology to broadcast that guy onto every wall that has two nails to hold up a screen? There just seem to be some inequity in that. The overall lack of fruit that exists in culture after this dominant model has prevailed for what...? 1000 years? (and no, unnamed church that doesn't have a sermon but a "conversation" about Matrix movies... you don't get off the hook)

  • About discipleship. Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them... Not erect huge buildings, not... a lot of things. Churches should be the fruit of discipleship. They should happen out of them. We should be inviting people into our lives and not to a building to hear some guy talk cause we can't ourselves. Because we can't explain anything.
  • About meaningful, tested and deep relationships. That withstand offense and disagreement and demonstrate the love of the Father that people can't see besides. (1 John)
I'm sure this place exists near my home... (Oh yeah, I want one close to my house. I'm not driving to some other community 30+ minutes away) I'm sure, and I've probably looked at their website by now a dozen times. But... my eyes are probably blinded because I have a hard heart right now and God doesn't want me there stinking the place out. But I miss it. I know it exists somewhere. Not sure. Maybe that place in Oklahoma (which is more than 30 minutes away from my house.)

So back to my Sunday morning routine. It's currently 10:17 and 90% of the church universe local to me just began their worship "celebration". God bless them. Keep them. Sustain them. Point them to you Lord. Point me to you. Salvage me again Lord. Include me into your rescue plan. Again. I do love your people Lord. I just don't love the nonsense. The fluff. The extra stuff that confuses me from see you in your body. Help me not to grow more hostile. Help me to help others. To be helped by other. I plead this Lord. In your Sons name. Amen.

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