the church thang

maggi has been talking a little about whether authentic christian life has to be lived out in community, here and here and here. The comments are worth looking at too.

this is something that is definitely close to my heart, and probably close to others hearts too, if you've been in Church for any length of time, you'll have come across many reasons not to be there, it is true.

but when it comes to it, I'm with maggi, authentic christian life must be worked out, wrestled out, angonised out, lived with, laughed with, walked with, looked at, kicked against and sought out in community - and the community we've been given, is the Church.

I love the Church, I mean God's people, I have to love them, it's a pre-requisite of discipleship - is it easy? no way. I am speaking as one who fairly recently had a major rupture in that community, so much so that I had to leave and find a different community within the community (I left and went to a different church) Does this make me a hypocrite? I thought long and hard about leaving the community that was mine for so long - I identify so much with Rachelle and her priestessy thoughts - it is agony, it is like a little bit of you stays there, but it isn't a floaty lovely bit, like when you leave a good place, it's a big lump of straggly, bloody, flesh which has been torn off in the process of leaving. There will always be a hole, a slightly ragged hole, scabbed over perhaps, but always liable to be a little bit sore and sensitive when pressed hard, I might wince, now and again.

but in spite of it all, there is healing, I also have testimony to that. and it isn't easy to let yourself be healed, there is a cost. but I also believe that there is nothing more powerful or beautiful or sweet, than that community of God which loves one another, loves one another despite the crap that goes on in churches. now don't get me wrong, I know that for some there is just too much damage done, for now. I know some who have left church and have not gone back - yet. some who will say 'never again' and will break out in a cold sweat to even think about putting themselves into an environment which might possibly exploit the vulnerability of its members. and I think it is okay to be in that place, and for those of us still in the community of the local church, not to rush people back, when the rupture has been so bad.

you see it is all part of the community - in the OT 'outside' the community was still, in one sense, a place that was related to the community, it was related because there was always the possibility of returning to the community.

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