Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I remember getting picked up by the school bus or van from the local baptist church and getting shipped off to Sunday School, which was kinda cool to see my friends and then having to sit still and quiet while some dude up on the stage yelled at everyone. We'd stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up and then go home after the show was over and get back to our lives. This is probably how your kids view your regular Sunday routine but are too afraid to tell you because they aren't big enough to budge the golden calf.  Kids are too young to understand anyway, right? (unless you become like little children)

I always wondered why the adults I grew up around didn't "go to church" but thought it was necessary to send me there.  I remember how everyone in church looked all clean and proper, like they had life figured out and well organized.  They never cussed or smoked or drank alcohol or wore black tee shirts with their favorite band on it.  They had the brightest clothes and big smiles on their faces.  I wanted to be one of them.  I thought my life sucked and theirs was the bomb and believe me, they didn't mind telling me that my life sucked and theirs was the bomb, either.

Looking back I think I understand why none of the adults "went to church".  They were all honest with themselves.  They knew that they didn't have it all figured out and they didn't want to put on a show while they went to watch a show with other showboating show-offs who pretended to be something they are not. They didn't want to hear the "in" crowd talk about how they had it all figured out and everyone outside sucked because outsiders are stupid.  They didn't fit in and so they didn't feel welcome.

I can remember going home and looking down on everyone because I thought that since I was hanging out with the "in" crowd once a week, I was better than them.  Truth being, they were better than me.  At least they knew who they were and knew how to enjoy life together.  I didn't have a clue.  Granted, there were some great folks and purely evil folks both within and without, but I couldn't discern the difference.

Maybe you think I'm showing my rear end here but I'm just being honest and I like being honest.  The problem is that honesty is not appreciated by most religious folks, it is shunned, judged, mocked, ridiculed, condemned and sentenced to a life outside the camp (boy that rings a bell).  I don't mind the idea of being on the outside, in fact it puts a smile on my face.  I get a bit of a thrill when people don't like me for who I am, because I like me and I like who I am becoming.  I have Christ to thank for that and in Christ I have nothing to be ashamed of.  I am exactly who he wants me to be and where he wants me to be right here and right now but I'm pressing on and pressing in.  I don't have it all together and the more I look for answers the more I find questions.  I love the wonder of it all and the feeling of having so much to learn and so many things worth examining.

As I sit and reminisce about my childhood I can't help but yearn for the kind of honesty and livelihood of those outside the camp among people who love Jesus more than all else and are willing to share in life's ups and downs, in's and out's without the masks and shows.  I want to be around people who weep with one another and love one another and share with one another share each other's joys and sorrows.  I wanna go where everybody knows my name and I can be loved for who I am, even though I'm not perfect and i don't want to pretend to be. Where is that church?  Don't you want that?

Just imagine that group.  Throw open the doors of your mind and picture it.  Think of the highs and lows of emotions shared and the bond made between so many.  The love, the zeal, the sorrow, the tears, the hugs, the shouts and the somber silences.  Isn't it beautiful?  Isn't it delightful?


  1. That is great stuff Bobby. We are so comfy in our church culture that we seem to be afraid to ask the hard questions, like is what we are doing Scriptural? is it advancinig the mission of disciple making? I have to say though that I am afraid that those who most need to read this are the least likely to.

  2. I got ruined for IC services by attending Twelve-Step meetings where people share honestly from the heart, under the leadership of God and not man. Rigorous honesty within intimate settings -- that seems to be how the Early Christians were gathering -- under HIs Headship (1 Colossians 1:18). What a shame that we have devolved so far away from that, and now so many are back in temples mistakenly being called "church." Praying for the Lord to reveal this -- to remove the scales from our eyes...

  3. Wow. Bobby, this is great. My wife's grandfather (91) just passed away last week. We are not sure he was a believing man, but we do know that he had many opportunities to hear the gospel from loved ones. My wife was just telling me how her cousin asked her grandfather (when she was younger) why he didn't go to church. His response was ironically similar to the sentiment in your post. He said, "I'm not good enough to go to church."

    Whitney, I second that emotion. My 6 or so years around the fellowships revealed what I saw glaringly lacking as I became more entrenched in church politics.

    I am grateful for both of these revelations.

  4. Whitney,

    twelve-step programs....now there is an idea


    It's sad that we are so caught up in the who's in/who's out mentality that we forget who we were before Christ.


As in a biblical church gathering, my word is not complete or final. Participation is allowed, encouraged and expected. Please, don't leave without adding something.