Wednesday, June 10, 2009

to belong?

After ten years of being outside the denominational church in West Michigan, life looks a bit different.
Added with that mix, I've found myself in the 'emerging church' conversation for the past ten years as well.
AND... life is so much more honest, so much more kingdom focused, so much less about me, and so much more about others than I had ever dreamed. BUT?
I'm also wondering if my little conservative Hudsonville is ready to re-think what it means to be the church here? I'm just a bit skeptical, and I'm not sure if it is a fair question. Am I leaving my hometown behind, or am I called to help it more faithfully live into the kingdom?


Greg said...

I have attended a conservative church in West Michigan for over 30 years now, and things are changing. Many of us have listened to the emergent conversation and learned much about living for Christ. After some personal frustration over the past couple of years with my church's direction and focus I have come to believe that cultural change takes time in a church context, and that I need the older generation to help keep me grounded in the truth as much as they need me to show them how to live missional lives.

The church needs me, so how can I leave it to find my own emergent path. IMHO to leave would be thinking more about me than them.

Lori said...

Helpful thoughts. What are the community implications of faithfulness to the kingdom of God? It seems like some of us might actually be called "out"--to shape new things. But some of us are explicitly called "in". How do we know which we are? And if we're called "in" (and perhaps would rather not be) how do we go about that? (as you can see, these thoughts are brewing in our household as well).

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate your thoughtfulness and dedication, as I read your blog I have this continued sense of you looking down your nose at others.

All too often it does seem to be about you and about pain you still feel from perhaps the church you grew up in or the churches around you? Can you open your arms and your heart to the churches in your community even if they don't measure up?
Jim R

randy buist said...

To answer a few questions posed here:

My experiences in the organized church for the first 32 years of my life were good, healthy, and filled with goodness, kindness, and faithfulness by others.

My tension was and is this: It seems that there comes a point in any community (or at least in my experience of life) that faithfulness reaches a point where it's been 'fulfilled.'

By this, I mean a certain amount of sacrificing is expected, but only enough sacrifice that you still 'fit in' with the status quo.

Looking at the twenty and thirty somethings, many of those who are entirely given to the ways of the kingdom end up overseas doing missions or they end up moving into the brokenness of the city.

One needs to ask, why do they sense that staying on the home turf isn't enough? Could it be enough? Sure, but it isn't inviting because the status quo quickly gets challenged.

For those living within the status quo, real challenge isn't appreciated because it messes with life. Unfortunately, I believe faithfulness to Yahweh often means that we get pushed outside the status quo.

Living on the fringes, breathing on the margins, speaking life into brokenness and hopeless places and people IS our calling as God's people.

Accepting the status quo over and against living a daring life as followers of the living God is lukewarm Christianity. While it may suffice for faith, it isn't compelling for a hurting and dying world. If we are to pray, 'thy kingdom come on earth as it is in the heavens,' then we need lives that really embrace this declaration.

Anonymous said...

I again appreciate your passion and dedication so much. Even when I read what your write I hear your love for God coming through.

But my struggle is, I'm not sure what it means. When you write about the status quo, speaking life into broken and dark places, breathing on the margins, etc I'm not sure what that means.

The sense I have reading through your blog is that you have some very specific judgments and are covered by the general words. What even slightly reflective Christian would not agree that we are not to just live comfortably in the status quo, that we are not called to be with and for people?

My question is what does that mean for you? Is there room for people to agree with those principles yet disagree, even radically, about what that looks like lived out practically?

The sense I have is you casting judgment on a broad range of people around you. I imagine this is not fair to what is going on within you, but it is just the sense I have from you blog.

Jim R (K'zoo)