Here is the Church and Here is the Steeple

Since having left the realm of the institutional setting of the church, I have come to know all sorts of Christians.  So many different types, in fact, that I feel as if I can't keep them all straight.  I so wondrously found friends who accepted me right where I was at, the good, the bad, the ugly.  In fact, my dearest and closest friend looked at me square in the face recently and told me that she finally realized that I was raised in a cult and lived most of my life in an extreme "Christian" environment.  She apologized to me for not realizing that before in it's fullest extent, an apology totally unnecessary, but it felt good for someone to acknowledge that.  I am so glad to know her on this journey that seems to hold me here on the outside looking in.

Yes, I have come to know so many different people now on this outside place looking in.  Some years ago I met a young lady who was going through quite a few difficulties and she confided in me all that was going on in her life.  Some of what she was enduring was very serious and definitely called for some intervention.  There were two particular things that were so serious that she really did need some outside help.  I happened to know someone "higher up" in the church that she attended.  Mind you, this lady with these serious issues was a Christian who simply needed help, but did not quite know how to go about asking for help.  I kept in contact with her, but I lived a very long distance away from her and could not be involved with helping in a hands on way.  This lady was desperate and I knew that if someone would branch out to help her, she would have gladly received it. 

I proceeded to get in contact with this person that I knew that also attended her church, someone in a "leadership" position so to speak.  I told him of this lady's issues and that she was having a hard time branching out for help in her own family and elsewhere.  This person in a leadership position at this church proceeded to tell me that her and her family did attend his church, but that they were not official members of that church and that he would not be intervening for that reason.  Oh, and the family was very weird, that was the other reason.

Needless to say, I was livid.  He refused to help in any way because she was not a member of what?  I quizzed him.  "So, you won't help this lady or see if anyone else in this church could help her because her and her family have not signed some piece of paper saying they 'belong' to this physical building?"  "That doesn't make any sense," I proceeded to tell him.  And then to throw in, yeah, they are such a weird family as part of his argument for not helping, well, that's asinine.

This idea that I or you have to become some official member of a physical church building in order to be a part of the body of Christ is false.  Each church writing up their own little agreements, or contracts, rather, to suit their own agendas that need to signed to be included in their exclusive club is just plain stupid.  And you know, I wrote something that I meant to write but I guess not fully meant a couple of posts ago.  I said I wanted to wage a "peaceful protest" against what seems so totally wrong or is extremely, blatantly wrong in "Christian" circles, and I do, but sometimes stupid things are just so totally stupid.

This stuff that has been pulled in as part of some person's tradition or method in many churches has become an idol and it is wrong.  I am a member of Christ's body of believers because I have placed my faith in a loving Jesus who gave His life for me and paid for my sin with His own blood.  He said I am His so many years ago and I have been His and I will be forever His.  No piece of paper, conjured up by some person with an obvious agenda will ever trump that fact nor will any building claiming to be a church ever precede that fact, even as I sit here with no physical church over my head.

So withholding dire help for lack of membership of your elite group?  If I was her I'd be running out the door of that building so fast and not looking back.  And they may ask also, "Why doesn't she just sign the piece of paper, stating she is a member?  What's the big deal?"  Well, because she doesn't have to and maybe doesn't want to agree to a lengthy discourse on how to live that is extra-biblical and controlling.  I don't know and it's none of my business and it shouldn't matter.  It shouldn't matter in a world, this so-called Christian world, where love should reside and kindness and care should be important for those who are definitely suffering and need some serious help. 

Thank goodness my friend is doing better, still struggling in these particular areas, but doing better and no thanks to her "church".  And I'll never forget a little rhyme my mom taught me when I was a kid along with some hand motions...

Here is the church
And here is the steeple
Open the doors
And see all the people

Christ's true people are loving, merciful and willing to help anyone they can help.  The kingdom of God is everywhere and so are His people and will never be confined by man's crazy ideas no matter how much they may try.    



Incongruous Circumspection said...

Bravo! What a great perspective.

Anne — said...

I hate it that some churches won't let you take communion unless you are a member of their church. My parents didn't believe in being a member of a church, and I considered it for a little bit, because I wanted to belong somewhere...then decided nope, it was still a stupid idea. Especially if I didn't totally agree with the beliefs of the church/denomination.

Deb Paul said...

Yeah, and the question is being a member of what? Christ's church, right? We are free to observe communion at home or in house with a mouse. I know there are biblical ramifications of worthily taking the Lord's supper, but the where is left up to the imagination and the who would be other believer's...Jesus and his disciples were sitting around a dinner table full of food. There was no "church service" or "church building" like we see it today and little gods being set up to determine when I can take the Lord's supper and where is messed up and I would say idolatry.

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