What I Long For …

Posted: January 25, 2010 in Friends and Family, Grousing, My Faves, Questions, questions, questions., Raw Faith, The Church
This was first posted on a strange Bible disussion group I have on myspace called Bible Blah Blah… it is quite the wacky group of people who participate This is a subject close to my heart though so I thought I would post it here too. I would love your feedback… thanks!

Sunday, February 17, 2008 (3:56pm)
FROM MY MYSPACE BLOG

What I Long For…
Hi everyone… this will be long… sorry about that… but if you can, please read it though and see what you think…

Here it is Sunday afternoon. I slept in this morning. Frankly, I didn’t have much choice. Sometimes the combo of the 60 -70 hour workweek and the exhaustion I have wins out over waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed to go to church. Exhaustion will do that to me. I was thinking today that it’s been who knows how many months since I’ve actually made it to the church that I call myself a part of. I like the people… heck I love some of the people a lot. The music guy I consider a good friend who’s like a little brother that I love and pray for, and try to help when I can. In the last few months there have been a precious few weeks where I woke up early enough feeling good enough to go. I even got ready… and I sat here and evaluated. When I really thought about it, I just couldn’t bring myself to go again to a big building, hike in from the parking lot, and sit there with a bunch of people listening to one guy talk and then leave again without any real human contact. Lest you think I’m just being some anti-social curmudgeon standing around waiting for someone to make the effort to talk to me Me ME… that’s no the case. Anyone who knows me knows that complete strangers tell me their whole life story on a regular basis and that I know half the people on the planet. There’s just not a lot of place for that to happen. There’s not a culture there that says that maybe we should really enjoy hanging out with each other.

One of our Bible blah blah gang named Laura wrote a great blog a little while ago about going off to church and ending up sitting somewhere listening to music and reading instead. Laura often writes blogs that are wonderfully raw and poignant at the same time. In her quest to connect with God in a more real way she manages to put her finger on so much of what’s been rattling around inside of me for a long time too. I’m thankful that sometimes she manages to give voice to something that is such a part of me but hard to communicate.

I think when it comes down to it, Laura and I, and probably some of you too are really longing for a sense of community… of family… of having some people that you can just be yourself with and talk about those things that really are going on in your soul. I have some friends I’ve known for years. Some of us have gone to hell and back together… horrible church experiences… normal life things… we’ve grown up together… we’ve suffered loss together… we have shared funny or bizarre experiences together. We’ve fallen flat on our faces… or even run away from God and/or each other… and yet there’s that bond that’s still there. It’s probably stronger because of all the crap. When I see their lives, I’m reminded of a good God who still holds on to both of us. I see the depth of their lives and our lives together because of all the good, the bad, the horribly painful, and the wonderful and crazy things we’ve shared.

That’s the way I feel about pretty much everyone here, except for the few of you who I haven’t had a chance to get to know yet. (And I’m sure that’s only a matter of time.) When I think of the church I think of that kind of group… that’s lived through so much together that they are more comfortable being with each other and being human. I love my friend that I know will love me regardless of how screwed up I am at any given moment and who, as it says in 1 Corinthians 13 “hopes the best” from me. I personally think you are all amazing people for a bunch of reasons. You’re bright and creative. Most of you have lived through a lot of stuff and still have amazingly good senses of humor. A lot of you, like me, have sort of a tenuous relationship with the traditional church at best. But all of us have a hunger… a desire to connect with God in a real way… and with other people as well.

I would like to propose that we ARE the church when we meet each other… whether it’s on each other’s myspace pages or late at night at a restaurant, or at Chuck E. Cheese with a giant rat running around, or in the parking lot after some get together, freezing out butts off but enjoying our conversation and laughing with each other… or on the phone… or via email… or… or… I would like to propose that here on the Bible blah blah page we can discuss anything that is stirring in our hearts or is troubling us. That can be stirred up by the Bible reading or not. As most of us talked about… I don’t expect any of us to be up on the reading, although we can always discuss that too. But I would love to be able to meet here and talk about the real concerns of our souls and to enjoy each other’s company.

So, what do you guys think? You up for that too? I just know that you guys would enjoy each other as much as I do. Anyone else feeling sort of adrift in the church department? I know that for me, when I do have that sense of connectedness with some people, it’s easier for me to brave the institutional church a little more too.

Many times my little music students will ask me what church I go to. I always find myself telling them about the church I go to. What I would really like to tell them is that I get to be a part of the church each week, here at my house with some of my students, online, etc…. Anyway, I would love to hear from you guys about all this too.

RESPONSES TO THE BLOG
 
LAURA POSTED
Hey Linda B – thx for the blog mention. 🙂 Raw and poignant – I’ll have to use that in my press release. 😉 Seriously, glad you dig it.I’ve joined Bible BLah Blah but have yet to make a contribution, I know. Be patient…I’ll get to “church” eventually…. 🙂 I am still working out my connectedness issues on many levels.

RHONDA POSTED…
This was Rhonda’s quote on the blah blah page:”Linda, I feel exactly as you do. I rarely go to the traditional church these days even though Dennis was a priest who served faithfully until his death. I find more Christian community in my online and in-person friends. For me as the token Anglo-Catholic of the group, my biggest reason for still going to the Big Building is to receive Eucharist. (It was easier when I was married to my own personal priest!… lol) But as for community, I don’t find that at all “in church.” Yesterday was Sunday, and I found myself at a jazz in the garden concert here in Phoenix. Some of the musicians are God-oriented and I found them weaving bits and pieces of hymns into sections of the music. Sitting outside, surrounded by nature, listening to people offer up the gift of their creativity to God, I felt like there was more heartfelt worship taking place in that setting than inside the Big Building.”I was thinking about how much I enjoy that kind of thing. I was thinking about the church I’m a part of. I love the music. I enjoy the sermons. I like the leaders. I think the leaders really want more interaction taking place too, and for people to connect more. Maybe it has to do with the culture we live in some and how we view large meetings. Also, because I go to a church that’s primarily gen-x, the whole way they do connectedness is different… they’ve grown up connecting via technology. I’ll see if maybe I can have my friend Jobey, the music director join in the discussion and see what he thinks.

BRIAN POSTED…
Linda,I agree that church is not only more than the music and sermon, I argue probably that it is NOT the music and sermon, but human interaction to spur us to interaction with a living God. That’s why I concur with you that we are the church no matter where we are. I do, however, believe that without some tangible human touch, we don’t stand a chance just to be the church ourselves. Where people can help us with our troubles, push the enemy of our soul away, and encourage us to engage in this life of enjoying our heavenly Dad. In this kind of interaction, we find many things probably too deep to discuss here right now. I don’t get to myspace that often, but I will try to throw my 2 cents worth in. Love you, Brian

MY RESPONSE TO BRIAN…
It’s true that we do need that tangible human touch too. There’s nothing better than being able to really talk and communicate… especially face to face… especially with people that you have a bunch of shared spiritual history with. There are some of my online buddies that I would love to be able to just sit with for hours and really discuss things… since the nature of blogging especially is limited to choppy communication. Although sometimes I do communicate better in written form, especially with topics that are raw or painful. The best of both worlds I guess is both.

ANA POSTED…
“longing for a sense of community”, “just be yourself” — YES!! and AMEN to that. that IS church. “we” ARE church, wherever we may be. but it’s definitely not what i’ve found in the buildings with the big signs out front. i’m walking right beside you in the “tenuous relationship with the traditional church”… i’m meeting up with more and more of us, and finding encouragement there. we are NOT alone, and i believe we are growing in numbers. the “business” of “church” and the status quo won’t hold up much longer. i’m believing in/for that, and looking forward to what is to come…

MY RESPONSE TO ANA…
I agree that there are a bunch of us who are all in that process of transitioning. For me too I think that it’s not even a matter of either or… I think there’s a place for a traditional gathering too. The thing that’s great that’s come out of people’s discontent with the status quo is that people are beginning to realize that they don’t have to wait for a church organization to structure some “program” for them to take responsibility to seek out real fellowship and connectedness that is more organic. I have real, heartfelt communication all the time here on the net and on the phone with people I’ve never even met face to face… but with some we’ve known each other for years and talk just about every day. With the expansion of the net and cheaper phone rates, our world has expanded. Our band of oddballs has grown and we’ve had more chance to find each other. I look at that as a great gift. 🙂

ANA POSTED…
it IS a GREAT gift! i’ve been more and more thankful to find that i am not alone in how i feel about it all, nor am i alone in the journey of discovering the balance. thanks, linda b…

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