Organized religion has really begun to cause my skin to crawl lately. I can't put my pointy finger on why, but there's something going on inside of me that is screaming for more. Something deeper. Authentic. Without boundaries of time, dress code, or any other traditional church-y remnants.
Maybe it's that I'm finally starting to learn what it means to be the church, not just be in church. I understand the importance of gathering with a body of believers, but this question begs an answer of me lately:
What good is gathering with a body of believers if we never get beyond the walls of the church building?
I've been in church, as my momma would say, since nine months before I was born. And this I know:
Lost people are not knocking down the doors of the church building, hoping to get inside for a Sunday morning service!
Why is that?
Maybe it's because they don't want the pressure of finding clothes appropriate enough to meet the local church's standard. Maybe it's because the difference they see in us and them is only as high as our turtlenecks, or as deep as our layers of makeup. Maybe it's because we try to confine worship to one hour on a Sunday morning, so maybe what we call worship isn't really God's idea of worship at all.
Maybe, just maybe, if we were truly experiencing God, lost people would be knocking down the doors, if for no other reason, to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.
But, I fear the Americanized church doesn't have a clue what it means to be the church. To be the hands and feet of God. I'm in my mid-thirties, and I'm just now starting to learn. And it's not because some church, some ministry, some person taught me; but because I have been begging God to show me what it really means to love.
And I'm finding that loving means moving beyond the church walls, seeking the lost. And in all honesty, I'm fearful to invite the lost in to church, where people are only given so long before the ultimatum of shape-up or ship-out is silently delivered.
So for me, these days, I'm finding church in the most unexpected places, the least of which is inside the walls of organized religion.