Tuesday, October 6, 2009
What Would God Say About Church Today?
I am from Macon, Ga. That is where I grew up. If you know Nancy Grace, she is from Macon too. I can easily talk just like her when I want to. Macon has tons of music giants like The Allman Brothers, Otis Redding, and Little Richard. All this is on my mind this morning because I am going to meet up with some Facebook friends from Macon on Saturday at Miss Bessie's TeaRoom in Barnesville. The odd thing is I don't know any of these gals! But we have a lot in common and it will be fun to see what of that simple life each of us has chosen to hold on to.
For my part, I am thinking about the church where you could find me, with my family, all through the 50's almost every time the doors opened. This first church was called Lynmore. It was Methodist and my daddy went there when he was a teenager. I think it did its job. The people gathered, opened their hearts, shared their joys and their struggles, baptized, married, and buried. No doubt "God" was in their midst. I felt it many times. I won't say lives were so much changed. Seemed back then they didn't need to be.
As youth we played together and prayed together. We learned that if you put a piece of bread in liquor, it would disintegrate so why would you want to put alcohol in your body? I learned the Christian Attitude Toward Sex from a single woman, who I totally imagined was chaste and couldn't possibly know what she was talking about. I mean how could she? She taught us that "French Kissing was the same as having intercourse" which was a no-no until you were married. I wondered how she knew. And I wondered how I was going to break this news about French kissing to my long time boyfriend.
Nevertheless, in the midst of this sweet and secure 50s lifestyle that I lived, I emerged capable of handling a quickly changing world. This church taught us much. It taught us to live our faith, to love our neighbor as ourself, and to be good. You learned to open your heart and know the love of God....it was all about love then, not power, not labeling. We didn't have to talk about all this to everyone we saw. We weren't commissioned to go out and tell everyone that we were Christian and that we loved Jesus and quote scripture. We didn't wear it on our sleeve. We just lived it.
I am currently churchless, wandering around trying to find a good fit for me. We've moved, favorite ministers retired (boo hiss), and right now we haven't found a new spiritual home. I went to church Sunday though. I have been visiting a church near me lately, trying to make it fit. It doesn't quite though. It seems the new way of being Christian is to talk about it all the time, profess it everywhere you go, get the T-shirt, praise God, love on Jesus, wear it on your sleeve. Maybe that's great and maybe it's necessary today, but it isn't me. I go back to the simple way I learned about God that has served me so well. I think I am lucky. That is my foundation upon which to build my new thoughts. More about those New Thoughts later.