The disappearing church

Do you know what I think about all this talk about the decline in church attendance and how more and more Americans identify themselves with no religion whatsoever? (More than ever before in the history of our country apparently)

I think we’re missing the truth big time. The front page story isn’t that people are so wounded by the church that they’re leaving in droves (though that is happening). The truth isn’t how does Christianity meld itself into society without losing itself or compromising.

The truth is that it’s God at work. He doesn’t live in church buildings. He never has. He is moving everyone out into the streets, into the broken parts of their lives, into the creativity that He meant for them to be in, into the bland landscape of no particular religion so that He can have the freedom that we rarely gave or give Him in our gatherings. His light explodes into darkness and His life is arriving like splatters of color onto the blank canvasses of our numb, sarcastic, jaded, lonely souls.

He’s always wanted to break out. Like the guy who tried to keep the Ark of the Covenant from toppling over, we try to keep Him in place. (2 Samuel 6) He doesn’t want to have to be confined, He wants to be with us!! For heaven’s sake, don’t try to keep things steady, let Him out of the box!

We take ourselves too seriously. We see things backwards. We mourn at the decline of Christianity in our country and try to build more programs (or arks), or try to write the most hip blog to hold on to the people so they won’t be lost, but really, we’re the lost ones. We’re blind. We can’t see that what we fear the most is probably the biggest blessing to God… People being positioned to be less bound up by rules so that He can carry grace straight into their lives and make His home of love inside them. Us included.

Be free. Be free and think outside of all you’ve ever known. You’re loved and you’re not alone.

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Creating

I LOVE CREATIVITY!!!!

I recently watched Flea’s induction speech into the rock and roll hall of fame. For some reason I’ve always liked him. When I heard the passion, love and heart that he has it moved me deeply. He said he prays every night to uplift the people he plays for, to love them and to give them the best that he has. That it’s his life’s mission. And music… It’s a burning desire in him. He said he is lost in it when they are playing, he is one with everything, and in that moment he is truly free.

Do you hear it? It’s pure unadulterated passion. Its something inside him that he must do. It brings out beauty and life and vibes and those great, great Chili Pepper tunes. It courses through him, and when I heard him giving the speech I felt it coursing through me.

I think that living out of passion and purpose enables others to begin to desire and live in theirs.

As many of you know, I love Vincent van Gogh. Passion and purpose coursed through him… And let loose on the world through his hands, his paints and his heart. He was a missionary before he was a painter, but he was always an artist. He once wrote, “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” He was made to love people. His eyes translated what he saw into works that still move us all these years later. I think it was in a letter to his brother Theo that he said, “Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painters soul.”

In his words I hear it again. The echo of the eternal being expressed through someone’s purpose, through their passion.

I am searching to find out what my purpose is. What am I made to do?What ignites me inside more than anything else?

I believe I will find it. I believe we will find it. I don’t know how, but I am searching to engage with the passions that have been put into me from the moment of my creation.

I see my generation seeking and finding. Not buying in to how it is supposed to be or “how it has to be”. The “that’s life” kind of attitude. It is no wonder, in these times, that we deal with such depression. Depression, for me, always comes when I feel I am without direction, all alone in my struggling and suffering, without purpose and void of a way to give my love away and receive love in turn.

We’ve got to reset our sights on what God really made us for. He made us to live! Not just to exist!

Dang! It feels good to get that all out!

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Hiding

I’m in that kind of mood these days… Hiding away, thinking a lot, digesting what I read and hear, not having much to say out loud about it. It’s all rolling around me inside, totally alive, but outwardly quiet.

I read a friends post about isolation recently and it so clicked with me that it’s been in the forefront of my thoughts for several days. So freeing to be taken aside through isolation (spiritually). Maybe “taken aside” isn’t the correct description because I don’t feel that I’ve come off the path in this journey. I feel that I’m looking for and finding Jesus.

So many political things I could have been throwing out views on. So many religious views to debate. So many days just slogging through the work day. So many magical moments of encounters with God and people within all of these issues and viewpoints and boring old days.

My main recent decision? I’ve decided that every person is loved by Jesus and that their path to Him will look very different to mine. I don’t care if they believe in Him or not. They don’t have to measure up to my standards. Hell, if I’m honest, I don’t measure up to may standards!!! They are LOVED. And so am I.

Gay marriage? I don’t mind it. It doesn’t threaten me. I feel for them. I feel that if the Christians who truly believe its sin worked on loving those around them, straight or gay or anything in between, the world would be better off because of it. I don’t think the world, or my children, will be better off because of a debate about marriage.

Politics? I don’t have time for the power hungry. I believe politics do play a roll in these times, but not as big a roll as we give them. The undercurrents are full of the presence of God. That’s where I am choosing to look to gauge my life and times.

I’ve taken a leap off the tracks of the discussions about what church is, what should it be etc, etc, etc (thanks to a very concise and beautiful dream that gave me permission to do so!)

I still struggle in my day to day 9 to 5 job, but that’s ok for now. It isn’t heavy like it used to be. I’m hearing some things in my heart, I’m looking at a light at the end of the tunnel.

I love my friends and I miss England a lot these days. Really longing for their company, laughter, depth, and a good night out with them in an excellent pub.

I’m loved by my family and that’s just an awesome feeling. I love and enjoy my husband so much. My sons really do delight me. My parents bless me. I’m rich because of my family.

These are good days. I think it’s going to get better and better from here. I have so much to learn about everything!!!!

Wherever you are in your journey of life I hope you feel loved, I hope you have people around you who love you, and I hope you are continuing to learn to love. Without love, none of this means anything. If I can remember that, I think I’ll not waste my life. (remind me of that on the days I want to strangle my boss, ok??!!??). 😉

Take care, guys. Good night.

are we margin, or are we centre?

Here is a link to an article that Paul Leader has written called Are We Margin, Or Are We Centre? His question is a vitally important thought for us to consider whether we’re church attenders, believers outside of what’s considered normal, or wanderers who aren’t sure what it all means or where we belong. Why do I think it’s important? How we view ourselves, the Church, our place in it, and the world will either add to an empire or add to lives. Our views will either keep us bound up and, in turn, bind up others or will free us up and therefore set others free.  Or I guess a third option would be that we just stay with the familiar and the safe in order to stay within our place of comfort; whether we choose this option be it out of fear, lethargy or excuses, I believe this is a fatal mistake to our spirits and to the world.

My comment on Paul’s post was basically this: 

I view the center to be where people want you to come in to something to be a part of it. Where you are told that this is where you need to come to hear a certain message and “be in fellowship”.

The margins are where I am going it alone, yet at the same time traveling with others, as we all tread along in our journeys towards Christ while learning to love others without being bound ourselves and without imprisoning those who we are loving.

“I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared, ‘Go down again! I dwell among the people.’ ” (John Henry Newman) I think I am beginning to discover in a deeply personal and profound way that the margins are where I get to serve people out of love and not out of obligation.

 

So, check out the article and may it challenge and encourage you!

http://3generations.eu/blog/archives/5865

the world’s secret

the world’s secret

the world's secret

I saw this on http://www.postsecret.com this morning and loved it.

The unconcious comparing of myself to others who “have it all figured out” or “have it together” is lethal. I hope that I can let God take that from me. If we all just realized that we don’t know much our journey might get a whole lot less complicated!

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there are no words for this, so I don’t have a title

I no longer believe that I have to give to receive!!  The lies in my head and my being are being lifted off of me and broken to pieces today!!  I don’t know how to do anything and it’s glorious!!!!!! Freedom in Christ IS free! He has done it all for me.  I’m gulping down God today and I have no more effort to expend. My weakness is His his glory. These scriptures! I have read them and heard them yet never seen. Today, I’m getting free and the scriptures are letting me in on the reality of His secrets that He wants to burst out of every body living… WE ARE FREE. WE ARE HIS. WE ARE SITTING WITH HIM IN HEAVEN. HAVING A PARTY. LAUGHING. JOYING. Not figuring things out. Not worrying. Not knowing the ending. Just living fully!!

I don’t know, not even today. I don’t. I’m not crazy. I’m getting free… in my kitchen, in my living room, it’s more than God being present in me. The reality that He is revealing is that that I am in Him. And right now, loving Him is more like a party. Hard days used to bring me into having a sort of wake. You know, sadness, “Oh God, why??” Trying, trying, trying, trying.

Not today (and forward from here, I pray! I praise!). That’s too heavy. I can’t do that anymore. Singing and dancing and laughing and listening and, well, let’s just say now I understand how the disciples could be mistaken for being drunk that time the Holy Spirit showed up in Acts!  JESUS LOVES ME AND I HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO BE TODAY EXCEPT IN HIM.  What a blessing!!!

Oh my goodness, some of you are going to think I’m weird, especially if this posts itself on facebook, as some of my blog entries sometimes do. HA!!!!!

Lord, show your promises to me more so I can drink YOU more deeply!!!! 🙂 Fantastic days. God is real and alive and we haven’t a clue who He is. We’re so off the mark with our striving and our musings! Only Jesus could have decimated my chains and fears this way. Only Heaven could have entered my house and brought me into laughter today and then highlighted my inability to think and plan how I will do all that I need to do (or so I think!). Now, the inability is freedom and joy, not heaviness and worry.

Back to my drinking. See ya.

Who Said?

Who said that dead people don’t rise anymore, that it’s not for this day and age?Who said that Jesus doesn’t speak anymore except through the Bible? Who said that God helps those who help themselves?

God didn’t.
 
Who said that the only reason he healed people back in the day he walked the earth as Jesus was just to show the people that He could not only heal their bodies, but also forgive sins?  Maybe He did it for symbolism and to show more than meets the eye. He usually does.  Yet, I think He is Compassion itself.  I think He healed simply because He loved and because He could.  His heart when out to them. Like when Lazarus was dead.  He wept.  He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead in just a few minutes, but the broken hearts of Lazurus’ family standing all around Him moved Him to tears. 
 
It makes me sad that people are still being taught this stuff. 
 
It makes me tired inside today to think of all the things I still have to unlearn.
 
 

living with anger and frustration

You weighed me down and you held me back.
You stayed still and called it progress.
You yearned for recognition and you got it so you’re in
You’re so spiritual that everyone knows it
You pass judgments on nations and are sure that it’s
God and not your culture speaking.
Funny thing is, so do I.

I am sitting here angry.
Striking down your words in my head
Wishing that I was eloquent enough to counter your well written thoughts
All I’ve been taught is that anger is a sin
But they have never really commented much on your pride being sin
Funny how the misled allow their heroes to mislead

My anger is getting taken care of
I will have to leave you in what your’e in
in what you share with many
and let God give me peace
and let go of my grievances.

I do it now. I will keep doing it as long as I have to…
and I have to.
I’m too tired to hold on to it any more
I want to have all Jesus.
There’s no room for anything or anyone else
You don’t get to reside where He belongs,
where I’ve let my anger give you a home for so long
It’s His home and I thank Him for living here in me
gently and powerfully.

sounds familiar

Interesting to read Cicero’s thoughts from 2,065 years ago:

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,
public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be
tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be
curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work,
instead of living on public assistance.”
 

– Cicero – 55BC