Friday, August 9, 2013
A post in which I talk a bit about Church
So, recently I was chatting to a friend about our church, and my faith a little bit. And you know what? That stuff can be really hard. Because I love my church, and I am happy with my faith the way it is, but at the same time, I am aware that from the outside looking in, it can be a little weird. It can be a difficult thing to explain well, so I kind of stuttered and stammered and went off on silly tangents and probably said all the wrong things. But that's just the way it goes sometimes when you're in a conversation I guess.
But it got me to thinking, and in case you haven't noticed already, my mind kind of works in metaphors. The parables are probably my favorite things in the bible, they speak my language. So as I was thinking to myself, I kind of likened church to football.
The thing is, there are a lot of different churches out there. They have a lot of different beliefs and sometimes they're right and sometimes they're not. But the most important one, the one they have to get right, and the one that should be the most important to them, is the fact that Jesus is God's son, that He died on the cross to save mankind, and that we are redeemed because of His sacrifice. All you need to do to gain eternal salvation, is believe in the God of the bible, repent of your sins, and accept His son Jesus as your personal saviour. There is a lot more that we add on to it, and we all have our own ideas and interpretations of the Bible about what you need to do, and how you should act, but essentially, it all boils down to that. Essentially it needs to boil down to that. The two greatest commandments Jesus told us, were to love God with all your heart, and love your neighbour as yourself. So those two indicators are pretty crucial to whether or not a person or the church they attend is Christian.
I've never understood football. I know it exists, I have a very basic knowledge of what is involved, but it's never 'caught' me, you know? I don't know the rules of the game, or the different codes, or the players or the teams. I've got no clue about the difference between NRL and AFL... as far as I'm concerned it's all just football. I'm not familiar with the lingo, I couldn't tell you what a try is, or how many players are on a team... or anything really. It's never appealed to me. I don't understand how people can get so passionate about it, I've just never really got it. I suspect that unless you know the game, it doesn't make sense.
I attend a pentecostal church. It's what I know, it's what I'm comfortable with. I don't expect it to appeal to everyone, but for me, it works. I don't believe Pentecostals are perfect or more enlightened. We've all got our issues.
Each church has it's own rules and routines and ritual. Some sing hymns, some sing along to the guitar. Some sit on pews, others sit on plastic chairs. Some have stained glass windows, others have lights and sound equipment. Some wear robes, others wear jeans. We all tend to drink a lot of coffee.
There are an awful lot of people who are the exact same way about church that I am about football. They have a basic concept of it all, but they walk into church and we're all singing these songs, and standing up and sitting down, and waving our hands, and listening to some people talk (and talk and talk) and drinking coffee and chatting.... and it doesn't make sense. Church doesn't really make sense.
But once you get to know the creator, and realise that all those Jesus people are actually doing what they are doing because of Him, you might start to understand the game. You might get to know just Who we are serving when we do what we do, and why we do what we do.
Church can be weird. It can be great. It can be difficult sometimes too. It can be a good place of community, and relationship. Church can be, and is, many things to many different people. But to truly 'get' church, you need to know God.