Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Christian Bubble

I refer to formerly having a church-centered life in my profile. I don't think I intended to end up in a Christian bubble, but somehow that is where I found myself. After we married and started a family, it seemed that our life just became more and more Christian. We got involved at our church and began friendships with lots of other Christians. Our kids attended Christian school, my radio was turned to a Christian station, and most of the books on my nightstand were Christian.

When we became involved in leadership and teaching, this only accelerated. More time was required for meetings and serving members of the church body in whatever way needed. Of course, there were many more Christian books to read in order to teach and lead. This was our ministry, and the importance of it was continually reinforced. At this point, I didn't give much thought to the poor or the lost. Our 'calling' was to the church, to raise up, to train, and to disciple. I'm not saying those are bad things, but we were raising up others to also serve in the church.

And then the bubble burst.

The radio still plays its Christian tunes, but the Christian books were set aside, at least for a time, many seeming irrelevant now.

We suddenly had time to see the people around us. It honestly was like having blinders removed. Sadly, we saw relationships we had neglected due to our busy schedule.

We experienced betrayal and condescension from people we trusted and served. We also discovered loyalty and true relationships in places we never expected.

We saw self-importance that had clouded our perspective of everything. We saw with great clarity the error of the path we were on. We are grateful for the opportunity for ourselves and our children to see God's kingdom from a different perspective.

Now when I think about church, I don't automatically think of the Sunday morning service we attend. Personally, I feel more like we've had church when we share a meal with friends whose hearts are knit with ours.

When I think about ministry, I think in everyday terms of how I can express life and blessing in my world. Sometimes I worry about how small my reach seems to be of who I can touch. I am learning to follow the holy spirit about what I should be doing, without trying to take on more than he says for now.


David Cho said...

Nice post. I read a posting about your relationship with your husband. It is amazing that you both came to the same conclusion. But if you don't mind sharing, did you come to the realization at the same time or at different times. Thanks.

grace said...

My husband's disillusionment started long before mine did. But we were in agreement about leaving. The circumstances of our abuse made it fairly obvious.

Our healing and recovery has been unique to each of us. Because we talk alot, we are in step with each other as far as exploring our beliefs and values.

I hope that answered your question.

David Cho said...

That is great to hear. Often I've seen cases where the marriage is destroyed because one spouse feels abused in church while the other is still deeply entrenched in the system.

grace said...

It's pretty hard to stay entrenched in a system that chose to falsely malign the reputation of the person you love.

It was really difficult to accept that this could happen at the hands of those we loved and trusted. I didn't want it to be true.

I still have trouble reconciling that this corrupt thing could happen without consequence to those involved. Seems we have the privelege of bearing the consequences. :(

Pam Hogeweide said...

Hi Grace,
Glad you found my blog and I now I have found yours. Yes, you and I are in the same space, aren't we.

Like you, I never set out to live a Christianized life. For many years, when I was younger, I had mostly non-churched friends and would sometimes feel a bit guilty about I too worldly? Over time my service to church life increased, and just as you described, my time with non-church people dried up. Soon everything in my life became church-focused, the bubble you spoke of.
A few months ago God spoke to me to unplug from every ministry I was in (three areas of service at the time!). I felt he was doing this to demonstrate that he loves me for who I am and not for what I do. I still believe this is true, but what has been unexpected is how my perspective of church life is changing since I have stepped out of the vortex.
I've been a dedicated believer for twenty years; I've had many ups and downs along the way but my friendship with God has grown steadily through all of it. This season of my life, though, is the most puzzling. I am without a map and don't know where I am or where I'm going. I have no sense of direction. I am very comforted to know I am not alone.

I like your blog. I'll keep checking in.

Bless ya!

grace said...

Thanks for stopping by. I will be interested in following your story also.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. What you are describing is not an uncommon experience in many churches. Seems funny that "church friends" who seem like they should be the most comforting when things go wrong can actually be the first to through you "under the bus". In my experience when the church really follows scripture as oppose to dabbles in it I have had the best relationships.

grace said...

Thanks for your comment.

Yes, being thrown under the bus is sadly common amongst church folks.

If only the walk lined up with the talk.

Lorna said...

I love this post. Full of honesty.

Many things in the kingdom of God are for a season. I think the love affair with church is often our teenage years. At least for me it's like that. I see my role as yes helping people to be more mature disciples, but more and more my community becomes the focus. If they don't feel our love, how can they feel Christ's?

be blessed as you emerge and are transformed daily into His likeness: feeding the poor ONE BY ONE, ministering to the lost ONE BY ONE - just as He did. Don't let the enemy tell you it isn't enough. Ofcouree it isn't but God calls us to do OUR bit and not His.

(does any of that make any sense at all??)

grace said...

Thank you for the blessing. Your words were very encouraging.

They made perfect sense, as if God spoke them through you for me.