My friends, it's been a while since we talked about the grand old topic of navigating church!
Yep, it's one of our favorite topics.
Navigating church is such a big issue for us. Even that topic alone has so many facets to it, and it's often one of the most challenging issues that we deal with in our spiritually mismatched marriages.
Some of us can't even get to church easily, let alone integrate into it well. That was my situation for a number of years: My attendance at church on a Sunday caused such marital disharmony that I'd attend then stop, attend then stop, attend then stop. My pastor came up to me one day and said "Everything ok?" after he hadn't seen me for weeks. The tears brimmed as I nodded and looked desperately into his eyes. What could I say?
Eventually, however, I got into a routine for somehow making church work. And I know others of us have worked out a similar kind of system. but it's still tricky.
I was talking to a lovely SUMite this week who had been spiritually mismatched for many years now. She and I both agreed that even though we are walking in a lot more peace than we used to, church remains one of our hard issues. I know the other writers in our team find this too. Will we ever stop missing having our other half by our side?
So with that in mind, I'm going to write a series next about navigating church. Specifically, the flavor I want to focus on is this:
How do we connect with the beautiful bride of Christ?
And how do we care for the broken and bruised body of Jesus?
I've phrased it that way because the minute we become mature Christians that's what one of our tasks is. There's a theological thing going on here, in that the church is a big deal: It's his bride (Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelations 19:7-9), and it's his body (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).
So, we connect with his bride and body whenever we're connecting with a fellow Christian, whether or not that's on a Sunday. But these features of the church -- His body, his bride -- in collective form make it such an important part of our faith life.
In fact, connecting with that body and helping to prepare the bride to meet Jesus again is as important as our private relationship with him that we carry out on our knees.
YET, some or all of these issues crop up and they are tough:
- Christians at church say tactless things and don't 'get' us
- We often feel lonely at church
- We often feel on the outside in the Sunday gatherings
- We can't easily attend church activities outside of Sundays
- We can't easily make friends with Christians, because our spouse isn't wanting to be part of it
- Christians of the opposite sex are challenging for us to befriend, yet they're our brothers/sisters
- And finally, church is massively imperfect!
In addition to that, we struggle to know what to do about financial giving (thanks, Lisa, for Friday's post on that), and serving. Further, we have doctrinal differences, denominations, and strange things that go on in church that aren't always of God. So there is a discernment too that we have to bring to it.
Well, phew, there's a lot to talk about there. I could write a book and I imagine you could too!!
So let's start by chatting about this one in the comments: What are your biggest challenges with church at the moment?
See you in the comments!