Maybe they are just two sides of the same coin.
I have come to see the error in my beliefs after sitting for many years under the teaching that God was about to do something great among us and through us.
Under that teaching I committed my time, my money, and my heart with those who were to be my comrades through thick and thin. I also lost sight of the ordinary.
When we sat out of church for six months, the detox was extremely necessary. I was able to see how I had formed my identity around my involvement with the church and with the people there.
I've written before of the benefit and vulnerability of being stripped naked of the things that defined me, becoming dependent on finding my identity in Christ.
I have walked through the season of being reactionary and critical and found myself on the other side where I can recognize God's involvement in different forms of church.
I also learned that my place in the body of Christ doesn't necessitate weekly attendance at a particular building. I understand that I am free to fellowship with other believers however the Lord leads.
In this freedom, we have chosen to attend a local community church. I have compared our attendance there to casual dating with no intention of further commitment. Becoming back-row attenders was working well for us, allowing the time and space for God to deprogram us.
Not knowing what our future plans were, it seemed wise to avoid entanglement. Like any relationship, this casual relationship has now reached the awkward stage of defining the relationship. What are our intentions? Where is this headed?
Can we see ourselves involved here in a deeper way? It is not exaggerating to say that this is the only church in town that isn't a stagnant pool. They are adding to their numbers with previously unchurched people.
I understand that my opportunities for serving in the kingdom are more than just where we attend on Sunday morning.
If not here, then what are we saving ourselves for? The next great thing coming down the pike? All there is is here and now, join in or stand back.
Does the idea of deeper involvement at this church make my heart sing? No, but maybe in time my heart will learn to sing again. Maybe I needed to learn that earth-changing vision is an illusion keeping us from the reality of ordinary service.
In the death of dreams, all is not lost. Selfish motivations have fallen to the wayside along with naivety. Out of the ashes comes the simplicity of the normal Christian life walked in obedience to God, led by His Spirit. No more, no less.
Idealism or cynicism, which is it?
I don't know.