Thirty eight years ago, I walked down an aisle to become a member of a church because I wanted to eat crackers and drink a minute amount of grape juice once a quarter like the grownups did. Funny how no one even explained what I was signing up for to me. Looking back, I don't believe THEY really knew. Thirty years ago I walked the aisle yet again, not because I had "slipped" and become a bad person, but because a friend (a charismatic Methodist - I know - IRONIC!) introduced me to something not taught in my conservative baptist community - the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the gift of tongues, in particular. Yet something else I wanted for me. For eleven more years I played a charade in the church institution, fooling everyone, myself included, that I was something that I was not. I
- sang in the choir
- taught Sunday School
- led music in church
- served as a youth minister
- served on numerous church committees
- witnessed to numerous people, leading them to the Lord
- played the game well.
Then, on August 28, 1988 I fell to my knees before a sovereign God and finally turned over control of my life to HIM. This marker stone was inscribed with Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." No more games with God, trying to be "good" enough to win His favor. On this date, I became a legitimate child of God.
All this just to set a foundation for where I am going with this blog. I know who I am in Christ. I am a part of His bride, waiting His return or my departure to meet Him - whichever comes first. Although my actual marriage to the Lamb was just over 20 years ago, my "church" experience goes back 42 years when my father first started taking us every time the doors were opened. I have extensive church experience, from both sides of the pulpit. It is this vantage point that allows me to see that something is not right. Something - OK, a great deal of things, are not right within the institution called "the church" operating in this world and more specifically this country. I read clearly in God's word what the Church was founded to do, created to be and even how it achieved success in the early days of it's inception. I also read the Apostle Paul's dire warnings to steer clear of those who would pervert the church to make it self-serving and corrupt God's creation just as the sin of Adam and Eve corrupted the original creation. Somewhere along the line, someone did not listen and today we experience the result of a broken, monster church.
In this blog, I want to explore where we went wrong. Troubleshoot the church, if you will, by biblical standards - not the opinions of men. I am inviting others, more knowledgeable than myself, to offer their perspective on this issue. It is my hope, that in doing this, eyes will be opened (including mine) to the truth of what we have become, create dissatisfaction with this lesser, counterfeit creation we call church and offer up legitimate options as to what we can do as born again believers to, not fix the broken institution, but to rediscover God's original design for the church and begin to live within the context of the marriage agreement with the Lamb in a manner that pleases Him.