I think over the six years I have been blogging I have written about church/religion only a couple of times.
Each time I have regretted it. Each time I have ended up wanting to reach into cyberspace and gently, lovingly punch someone in the face. Very unchristian ne?
Very human is all. I do not even call myself a christian anymore. A follower of Christ maybe? The Christian brand is one I have spent years disassociating from which has caused several little blips in my former church-going years.
Many people ask me why I left the church. The truth of the matter is that I never 'joined' the church. I developed a relationship with Christ as an tween. The done thing in those day was to go to church because that is what christians did.
I always felt separate and somewhat detached from the christian culture. It felt like I was walking around in great sneakers but there was an annoying little pebble in my shoe.
After many many years of doing the church dance I became an adult and I had my first kid. I realised that I had the chance to show Rachel something completely different. I had the chance to show her what being a Christ-follower looked like...and it certainly didn't include church membership.
When she was about 18months old we stopped doing the Sunday routine. We stayed home. We hung out with other friends. We went to the beach. We slept late. We went away for weekends.
And the world didn't end. And I felt completely and uttlery at peace for the first time in my life.
Suffice to say the fall-out was significant back in those days because not many people were simply leaving church. We were gently coaxed to come back. Later we were threatened with all kinds of hideous consequences should we try to live our lives without 'church covering'. (I wont touch on that because that is another post all on its own)
Lastly the ego-stroke technique was rolled out for us : "You have such potential in God, as leaders, you could make such a difference in your community! You are missing Gods plan for your life!"
Sorry? And I have to join a church to do this? To fulfil what God plans to do in my life? Seriously, that last one nearly finished me off.
These last 10 years or so have been full of life, love, trials, victories, friendships, community and so much more - richer I have not been. God works in the lives of people who love him; and even those that dont know him. Regardless of church.
Enter 2013. Common Ground South Peninsula (CG) is born in a school hall 5 minutes from my house.
I have a conversation with Russell and we decide to visit. Neither of us are bound or bitter by past experience and can come/go to a meeting without any sort of emotional upheaval. (altho I am a bit cynical but working on it!)
We know the people handling this church plant. They are attempting something new - something completely NON-JUDGY and all-inclusive. There are no pre-requisites to acceptance here. Come as you are and we won't try to change you because that is NOT our job.
At least that is what I am hearing - which is a picture of Christ and christianity that resonates with me. Jesus embraced all, he didn't tell anyone to clean up their act before they could follow him. He just said Come!
As long as this culture continues to hold true I will embrace this expression of Christ in our community.