My blog dress and header has changed! As a newlywed, I am excited to present a whole new theme.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spiritual Sundays/An eDevotion -- China

I am going to venture out into something completely different for me and am going to be participating in Spiritual Sundays this week, and maybe every Sunday that I manage to get around to it.

You see, this is a really new thing dating a man of the cloth. I never, EVER pictured myself dating a minister! I mean, I haven't even been a church-goer for well over 10 years. Though I have always been a very spiritual woman, and have told people that I am a Christian, I described myself as a "disillusioned, disenchanted Christian." I have encountered a lot of weirdness in the body of Christ. Sad to say, some of the biggest hurts I have ever received in my life were at the hands of those who called themselves Christians. People have said some of the stupidest things to me, feeling that they were sharing through Christ.

It was enough to make me feel like I never wanted to go back to a mainstream church ever again. Still, I longed to be part of a church again. I have longed for that fellowship. But I just didn't know if I could do it.

One of the things I really like about my sweetheart is that he writes eDevotions. He recently even had one published in the Upper Room daily devotional! When I received the following one in my email, at first I wondered if he was purposely stepping on my toes. Read on: and by the way, these are copyright per Pastor Mike, but if you want to use it or share it, I would be thrilled to pass on a message to him so that you can get his eDevotions in your inbox too!

This one is titled "China."

"Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world." 1 Peter 2:12

I’ve never been to China, but I bet it isn’t anything like Chinese restaurants.

For one thing, eating at Chinese restaurants you’d think that a nation of a billion people had only managed to come up with three kinds of soup. Also, fortune cookies aren’t Chinese. (True story – when fortune cookies were first marketed in China they were advertised as "Authentic – just like in America!") And they probably don’t really number all their food like that over there. And anyway, most "Chinese" dishes we see have been mutated into more American-type vittles. I bet when folks from China come here to visit they go to McDonalds, where at least they’ll have some idea what the heck they’re ordering.

What I’m trying to say is, you’d be nuts to make any judgments about the country of China based on your local neighborhood noodle house.

It’s no less crazy to draw conclusions about the Kingdom of God from your experiences with some church. But people do that all the time. Because they have found some congregations to be narrow, bigoted, insensitive, judgmental (you know this list as well as I do) they deduce that they are better off without the whole shebang. They can be "spiritual but not religious." OR, equally erroneous, because some churches have rubbed them that way at a particular time and place they conclude that they all must be that way. Listen, there are many, many churches where the love command is still on the books – where people who are different are welcomed, generosity is practiced, the sick and poor are treated with dignity, and folks are encouraged to use their brains. They just don’t show that kind on TV very much.

And while we’re at it some of those eggroll joints aren’t bad either. At least they’ll get you by until you finally get to make your big trip to China.

Like I said, at first this eDevotion kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I thought, "well, I'm not going to like them all." I also wondered if he was quoting me with the "spiritual but not religious" part, since I say that a lot. Turns out that he wasn't.

It still got me to thinking. Maybe it's time I put aside some of the hurts. As a counselor, I had a whole lesson on Forgiveness. Though I thought I had forgiven all the hurts, I was still letting them affect my life today.

Time to put it all in the past. Time to move forward. Time to stop letting what stupid things other Christians have done to keep me from getting with others and worshipping and praising my Lord again in a church family.

So I am not yet going to my boyfriend's church. For him, it will be a Really Big Deal for me to hear him preach. I'm happy that he so highly values my opinion of his work, and that he wants to be impressive. I've decided to start attending my son's church in the meantime. It still feels a little awkward, and I feel like a little bit of a fake after being out of the loop for over a decade, but the people are warm and welcoming. I feel fed. I feel accepted.

And I feel pretty darn good about it. Hallelujah!


Charlotte said...

I'm so glad you've changed your mind about going to church. I will be 74 years old in a few days. I've been going to church regularly since I was 10 years old. I can't imagine my life without this experience. I even married a preacher when I was 21. We've been married 52 years. I would change it for anything.
I'm glad you shared with us on Spiritual Sundays and I will be looking forward to reading future posts. I like the idea of the patriotic theme. You're so right. We need to pray for our country.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

I so thank-ful the Lord forgives us because even though I'm a Christian, I am far from being perfect.I'm sure your son is happy to have you at his church and your boyfriend I'm sure will be thrilled when you go to his church. I'm so glad you shared this devotional today. I agree that our Country needs prayers daily not yearly.


micey said...

oh hooray! I used to feel the same way. But thankfully I kept searching until I found the one God made for me. He has a group for each of us. =)

Susan said...

"Seek & ye shall find." I'm glad you are moving back toward the church. God has JUST the right place for you, He does for all of us!, and when you find it you will KNOW, without a shadow of doubt, that He has brought you where He wants you.

Renee said...

My husband has been a pastor for over 30 yrs...every church is filled with imperfect people...making mistakes, causing hurt, being...well, being imperfect~ BUT hopefully gathering for one worship and serve a risen Savior! So glad you are giving it another chance...Blessings to you this day.

Anita said...

Wow that is an incredible testimony. How wonderful to read what is in your heart. I am so happy that you got past all the bad that is out there, and it's there, unfortunately. I think that there are a lot of people in churches who maybe think they are Christian, but they have never "met" Christ and have no idea what a relationship with him is like. So they go out with very self-righteous attitudes and no idea what "love your neighbor" means, or that you can't hate your brother and say you love Christ. It's so sad when people are turned away by that. But what an incredible example you are be as you move forward in your faith. And how cute it is that you are dating a pastor. That just makes me smile. What a wonderful story:-)

bj said...

O, Kady...I love this post.
And, remember..we are ALL, even your sweetie, sinners. We ALL need Jesus Christ in our lives. All the people that are being kind and welcoming to you know this. You are in a good place.
Love you, bj

bj said...

Kady, I've thought about you a lot this morning and your new sweetie..and have decided that I need his eDevotions sent to me..

And, please tell him thanks..:))
love, bj

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Great post Kady...I'm so glad to see you happy one again...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Shelia said...

Hi Kady! I'm glad you gave church a chance! I was raised in church as a child and still a big part of my church. I became a Christian when I was 9 years old and my relationship with Jesus is what keeps me going!
Bless you, Dear One!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

I'm glad to hear that you're giving church another go. The body of Christ can be pretty imperfect at times, but that's why we've gotta keep our eyes on the Head, right?

Your fella sounds pretty awesome and wise, I wish you all the best.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Donnie said...

Another good one from you and Pastor Mike. Just your style is like we snuck (I know it's not a word) out to Starbucks and are whispering over Skinny Latte's in the corner. You're in my Google Reader now so- no pressure.