So, I went to my old church yesterday. I got a gig to house/dog sit for a week, so Jason and Sarah's couch can get a break. I am looking forward to being by myself for a whole week. It will be cool to have a private place to pray in the spirit. It's harder to hear God with so many distractions around.
I'm sorry... Did you say something? I couldn't hear you over the tv, radio and internet running through my head.
Oh. Church. Yeah, it was still pretty wierd being there. So many issues. So little time. It's funny. My perceptions have changed so much in the last few months that I can spot crappy theology a mile away. And I realized yesterday morning that my church is full of that crappy theology at times. Some of the things being said were really wierd. Like, things that were said were so based in legalism that I wanted to throw up.
The title of the message was "Escaping the Bondage of Adventurism." My pastor talked about how escaping your life is not healthy, and being an adventure seeker is not healthy. Eh, I don't know if I agree with that last part. But when he said that seeking adventure is running from God and if you are running from God, it's because you're not sure if you're going to heaven. If I try to run from God, it's because I'm not saved? There are so many holes in that theology, I can't even think straight.
My pastor had a board member get up in front of the church and "give an announcement." He was announcing a "Members' Meeting," so he had all of the members stand up. Then he proceeded to tell them that all were expected to be at this members' meeting because it was their responsibility as a member of the church, they made a commitment to the church, and he personally expects everyone currently a member to be there. I half expected him to say that Vinnie and Johnny would come get those who did not show. I wonder what this meeting is going to be about. Oh that's right. Money. About how tithing is important, the building fund is all that matters, and that every member is all but required to pay these fees. The board member said that he personally begged and emplored each person to come because the state of the church is important to all of us. They have started printing the intake of money each week in the SUnday bulletin. I noticed that the mortgage on our new building is more than $14, 000 , and the church has only taken in $5000. I'm not sure if that is a week, a month or what. Regardless, I tell you, the focus on money here is nothing short of remarkable.
Yeah, the church is in trouble. But overzealous leadership made the church that way and now expects the congregation to fix it. Just my opinion. Makes me so sad to be a part of this. Something just isn't right. It's so off in fact to me, that I am praying about revoking my membership. I don't want to have anything to do with what they are standing for now. Preach the truth. Worry about being a healthy church. Everything else falls into place.
God told me to do something last week I didn't really want to do. He does that sometimes. The one thing I wanted when I went to South Africa was some jewelry. I bought a necklace there. I am wearing it in this picture:
It's a great necklace. I love it! I wore it to church last Sunday, and my pastor's wife said how beautiful it was. And God spoke to me that I needed to give it to her. I hesitated. But this week, I knew I had to obey God. This woman is very special to me. I have been pretty close to her the past few years. I love her. I admire her as a mom. She is a good woman. I don't always agree with her husband, but I try not to let that have an affect on our relationship. God told me to give her my most precious posession right now. That necklace represents the place I feel I belong. That necklace represents the country where God has placed my heart. That necklace makes me feel like a beautiful woman. I get a lot of compliments on it. But it's just a necklace. And I looked my pastor's wife in the eye, crying, and gave her that representaion of my calling. And she cried too when I explained to her what it means to me for her to have it.
Give. Give everything. Try to outgive God.
Today, I miss that necklace, oddly, but I know that I did the right thing. Anytime God speaks, listening and obeying, those aren't bad responses.
I miss my mates. Nine of which are in Mississippi right now. Doing the Gulf Coast Outreach. I'm very proud of them, and slightly jealous that they all get to have that experience together.