Finding a church really is a task. Now, I’m not saying that I can’t just walk down the street for a mile in any given direction and find at least one, but just not one that I want to go to!
As many of you may know, I am a fairly “liberal” person, if you want to go around putting labels on people. I, obviously, still respect those with different values and beliefs than I, but I just can’t get myself to go to a church that practices certain things.
I was attending a church that a lot of my friends were attending and there were two sermons in a row that openly and forcefully mentioned that people who are lesbian are wrong, gay are wrong, transgender are wrong, abortions are wrong, sex before marriage? get out of here. Is that what church is about? Because if it is, peace out. I’m gone before you even finish yelling about how God wouldn’t be okay with you.
I’ve been on a heck of journey when it coming to finding a church to call my home here in St. Louis. There’s always something that turns me off, whether that be an impersonal pastor (or on the flip side, one that too forcefully places their views on you), a congregation that lacks people under age 50, or one that practices things that I believe to be “wrong”. (I just want to clear up here that I’m talking actual churches in STL, not campus organizations.)
AH, I caught you there, didn’t I? When I said “wrong” in this context you probably thought the acceptance of LGBTQ or infant baptism or pro-choice, or something.. didn’t you? Don’t be fooled! I ain’t no traditional church girl. Puh-lease.
I take my view of the bible very seriously. It is something that I have contemplated intensely the past few years in college, as you may know from some of my previous posts. My view of the bible is one that I believe God has used me to be confident in. I am finally at the point where I no longer struggle on these “major” differences between one kind of christianity and another. I truly believe that God has used these struggles within me to make me confident that He is using ME to expand people’s minds about the TRUTH of the bible.
Here’s just a few of my thoughts. I know (TRUST ME, I KNOW) that some people strongly disagree with some of these points that I’m about to make. Quite honestly, I don’t care. I’m sorry! These are what I believe to be truth and things that I have dwelled on time and time again and things that God has kept so passionately putting into my heart.
So, here we go!
My perfect church is…
- One that makes me feel valued and safe
- One that accepts me even for my differing views
- One that accepts people no matter where they’re at (side note: it URKS me when people say that “all are welcome here” but then they preach that X, X, and X are wrong and you are a terrible sinner and you need to change, like…..wait.. did I miss something here?) THIS MEANS accepting people who are poor, people who are lost, people who are single/married/divorced/widowed, people who are gay/straight, people who are pregnant while married/unmarried, people who got abortions for their own *personal* reasons, people who are generally unaccepted in society.
- One that Truly believes that the most important lesson in the bible is to love God and to love one another. One that Truly believes this will accept those who I mentioned above
- One that studies the bible thoughtfully and takes into context historical considerations – I cannot stress this one enough!
- One that values families and young people being the future of the church
- One that uses various forms of worship, such as contemporary music.
- One that openly values and believes in the power of prayer
- One that provides learning not just of the bible but of how one can interpret the bible in various ways and how all of these ways can be seen as “correct” in their own interpretations
- One that doesn’t say “you can’t pick and choose the bible” but then goes and does just that (i.e. prostitution was ok in bible, slavery was ok in the bible, treating women as property was ok in the bible, REALLY, go find out for yourself… I’ve talked to pastors about this!) AKA: I want one that recognizes the difference in the world back then and the world today.
- I could go on and on about this point, but I don’t think there’s enough space in this WordPress world for me to accomplish that.
The church should be a place of love, acceptance, and focus on prayer, Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. The church should not be a place that focuses (notice I didn’t say “recognizes”) on our wrongdoings or rules one must follow. I get it, rules are good, but sometimes they’re taken way too seriously and the church becomes a place of “right” versus “wrong”.
CALL ME A HIPPIE, but I just want a church full of love and acceptance, is that so much to ask?
Where’s the world that would Live Like Jesus?
Stay tuned for my next post! Something a bit more…fun!!