Sitting here this morning gazing out of the window I see tranquility. The trees barely stirring in a light breeze. Houses and homes still quiet and unmoving. Clouds painted across the sky. An occasional bird wheeling or gliding. There is little noise with this double glazed window. Just the hum of a computer fan and my tapping on the keys. Life is good.
Yet reading these blogs I find discontent. This verse disagrees with that digestion, this church embarrasses that congregant, this theology jars with that theology. The body of Christ seems so much more fractured than the peaceful and perfect world through my window.
And I wonder why.
Much of the New Testament post-Gospels are letters to early churches. Letters of chiding … of teaching … of concern. Letters that are from the church to the church. Yet the Gospels are One not of the church or in the church. Are of One who walked and journeyed with those rejected by the church. Those outside the welcome of a religious society. Those who were the Chosen People of God – but dismissed by those calling themselves the Chosen People of God. No letters here about church. Certainly disagreements between the Chosen Guardians of religion and their Christ – but less “church” and more “relationship” with all.
I have been told many times all I need to do is find the right church. That denominational church is not for me. That I should find a church – that I need to find a church. And I have seen church reach outside its doors many times – reaching those who would never enter its doors for a service. But I see a church embarrassed – reluctant even – to embrace or even invite those who are “unchurched” to participate in anything but a service.
And I wonder why.
I wonder why “church organisations” place great store on the recommendation of my “home church” and my “minister or pastor”. But without a home church or minister I am outside the circle of acceptance. My intentions and character deemed suspicious. My trustworthiness doubted. My beliefs probably not in the right place. My inclusion questioned and weighed. Am I worth the risk (and the precedent) of being embraced but unchurched? If I wish to give with those of church outside of church, I should also want to worship inside the doors each Sunday as well.
And if not … it raises doubts.
Yet the God Soft Hands Jesus I know and love has no such doubts. The GSHJ I know encourages and invites my questions, doubts, irreverence, individuality, perhaps even blasphemy (as defined by the religious).
The gap is so huge I question more and more.
This view from my window requires no travelling miles to immerse myself in the majesty of God in nature. It needs no verses or theology. No reverence of worship. No club or inclusion gifted. But simply me and something bigger than me. Something that does not gift reluctantly. Someone who does not vet and doubt and weigh the unchurched. Someone who sees no club or rules of membership. Someone who welcomes my odd name of GSHJ (so often questioned by the churched).
The view from my window is of love and hope. It has no denomination or service schedule. It has no requirement for endorsement of a church or minister. It is of all always.