Michael and I have had a hard time finding a church. It's hard knowing that we're probably only here for a year, and then we'll be leaving again. We did that last year, and by the end we felt like we had checked out, and so had the people at the church.
However, that's no excuse for us. This week I have been thinking a lot about how much I miss being surrounded by a community of supportive and prayerful Christians. I am (trying to) learn how to live the way Christ is calling me to in a secular world, while still maintaining my integrity and faith, and I'm finding that it's difficult at times.
I received a phone call from a friend this week and he reminded me that it's ok to just be me, that I don't have to try to be this super-Christian (I'm paraphrasing). That was helpful. Then last night Michael and I went to a Harvest Party hosted by some old friends from Fox. It was crazy because many of my worlds were colliding, there were friends from high school, college, and my old church all in one house. But again, it reminded me that I have been aching for a young married-Christian-type supportive community.
Yesterday we went to a wedding that also reminded me of the importance of having others within the Christian community supporting Michael and I and keeping our marriage accountable.
Today Michael and I went to the same church that we went to a few weeks ago. I felt a peace there today because the sermon was about some of the exact things Michael and I have been talking about lately when discussing the Church. The pastor spoke about the disconnect between Jesus' teaching and the way Christians live their lives. He shared a story about a young woman he met that complained that Christians are angry, judgmental, hypocritical, and politically motivated. The pastor realized that this girl wasn't saying that she didn't see Truth in God or the Bible, she just saw this huge disconnect between the preaching and the people and didn't want to be a part of that.
The pastor said a lot of Christians are extreme, they are either A) Turn or Burn or B) Stick their heads in the sand. This sort of resonated with the phone conversation I had that reminded me that it's ok to not be extreme either way. I have to remember that yes, people are watching me and I need to represent Christ as best as I can, but I know I won't do it perfectly or fairly. And that's part of the learning and growing process.
The sermon was the first of a three part series called, "Church" is a verb, and the point was there's a lot more to the Church (big C not little c) than showing up on Sunday for an hour.
1 Peter 2:12-13(MSG) "Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the people so that your actions will refute their prejudices."