Out Of Church Christians
Many people these days have left the official church buildings for one reason or another. I received this email this week and found it rather refreshing and thought I would share it with you.
RESPONSE to "OUT OF CHURCH and HURT"-by Arlean Kelley.I found April Staples essay interesting and wonder how many believers are in the same situation as she describes.But I don´t think this is the story of most non-organized-churchbelievers. Certainly not those that I know. Although most have seen inequities in church, as far as I know that is not their reasons for being out. Certainly they are not wounded people. I too am "out of church" for about 6 years now, not because of injuries. I have a wonderful sense of freedom. Until I relocated, I met with a group on Saturdays that started at 1:00 in the afternoon and continued to perhaps 9:00 P.M. We had our meeting, then supper together and fellowship as long as people wanted to stay.It has made for dear friendships--almost family. I also am in close fellowship with other believers - wherever I find them, in fact. The change in my "church" life has changed me. At one time I was so taken with the "doctrine" of my church. Had to straightenanyone out who was not equally enlightened. Today all I want to do is encourage and inspire people to seek God and His word and will for them. That is my focus and I am free to do it. I also find that when I leave people completely free, they are more responsive to what I have to share with them. There is no threat. It is difficult to do that in organized church. If you start to see scripture in a different way, you may well be asked to leave. It has happened to me in the past (I am 68 and have plenty of experience in church from childhood) and more recently to a beloved deacon in a church I had been a member of for years. All he did was take some scriptures to the pastor (not the congregation or people) that he was questioning and was told that there was not room in the church for the pastor and my deacon friend. His scriptures he was questioning had to do with eternal security. NOT allowed! Don´t even question that. So my deacon friend left to keep from splitting the church.Reminds me of the woman in the scripture that was willing to give her baby to the other woman rather than see it destroyed. In an organized denomination, you have to adhere to the status quo or you are perceived as a threat, especially if you are involved in leadership. And it is understandable. The structure makes the pastor´s entire life depend on no one rocking the boat. His income through which he supports his family, his career, his standing in the community, his family is also involved. It´s just too much pressure, I think. I see this not-so-new way of being out of the organized church asceasing to try to be someone´s "god" and directing them to a relationship with the true God. They no longer have to dot all my"i´s," as they say. I am able to give to immediate needs rather than to support paidworkers and buildings and building programs that go on when a church really should divide instead of building larger. But I am afraid that would break up someone´s dynasty.
Just a few points to consider.
Thanks for the information you send out.~Arlean Kelley.