When it comes to organized religion, we have some choices to make. So often when asked, we answer: I’m Catholic, Lutheran, etc. Have those ‘titles’ become simply a label or are they the framework with which I live my life? In other words, do I truly accept and embrace the teachings of my church? Do I really even know what they are? I’m not passing judgment here, but I do think that it may be time to ‘get off the fence’.
After some reflection, you may decide to ‘knock that fence down’. Perhaps you can’t accept the teachings of your church. Maybe it was your parent’s faith or you have been staying out of fear or guilt. You might want to ‘knock that fence down’ only to rebuild it yourself, so it is truly yours. A word of advice: If you do walk away, be sure that you know what you are walking away from.
Or, your thoughts may lead you to ‘build that fence up’. You may be at a point in your life where you crave the structure and stability of organized religion. Perhaps you see where you can make a difference from the inside. A word of advice: If you choose to build that fence, please be sure to include many gates for entry. Tall ones and short ones, wide ones and narrow ones. Gates of every size and color, and each one with a welcome sign in large letters. Gates that open from both sides.
There comes a time when we stand alone, take a good look at our faith, and make it our own. Only then can we have a real relationship with God. Only then can we grow closer. Only then can we accept the invitation to be truly one with the Divine.
I’m so thankful for my church. . . in fact, I’m still attending the small, country church I grew up in . . . a place where God and His people have touched my life in so many ways. As much as I cherish it, I know that just being a member will not guarantee a relationship with Christ; it’s not my religion but my relationship with God that will ensure eternal life for me. But my Christian walk has been greatly enriched by my heritage, our sacraments, Biblical teaching, prayer and fellowship of Friendship, which happens to be the name of our church!
What a gift you have Glenda! it sounds like a wonderful church where you are truly ‘one body’, enriched as you say. I love what you say about your relationship with Christ.
Our church has undergone many changes in the last few years and it is a bit unsettling to see where it may be headed.
Oh such wise words here, Andie. I abandoned my childhood religion a long time ago — but really, it didn’t matter, because I wasn’t a believer in my heart anyway (I guess I shouldn’t say it didn’t matter…but I was disenchanted with church and God, so I wasn’t going anywhere fast with any church, I suspect). When I met my husband, I started sporadically attending Lutheran services with him. That denomination seemed like a better fit…but I still doubted that I believed in God. It took many years and a very patient God to come to where I am right now — and thankfully, I found a wonderful church, supportive pastors and an enriching, serving faith community. It’s nothing short of a miracle, really.
One cannot have a personal relationship God as a grandfather. It can only be done if God is our “father.” Good thought-provoking post.
I have struggled with the thought of were i belonged in the church – having callings and ideas that don’t always match where I am. Certainly it was easier to give up on church for a while as I sorted out my feelings about God – but then I ended up coming back to my childhood faith because it was ‘home’ and although not perfect, like a family, I feel that I have the space and the ‘right’ to challenge what I feel uncomfortable with. Of course I get challenged right back for not fitting in – but I think I would be the awkward one anywhere! It isn’t always easy but I don’t thnk it’s meant to be.