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6 years ago  ::  May 06, 2009 - 11:09PM #1
newway87
Posts: 25

I haven't been in an organized church service in over a year.  I grew up C of C, left there to attend various other mainline denominations over the years, but for the first time in my life I don't feel any stress or frustration with my religious practice.  I have felt that each church we tried to attend varied from the extremes of legalism and "anything goes", and each left me eventually feeling like pulling my hair out.


I continue to read scripture, keep an active prayer life, and spend every minute I can talking with one or both of my kids (teens) the important things in life, such as how our morals and God's laws apply to our daily lives.   On Sundays, my husband, children, and I spend almost the entire day together; we have 3 family meals, and lots of great conversation--we even sneak in a little fun once in a while.  It's become virtually the only day we have any quality or quantity of family time. 


I know scriptures advise us to not forsake gathering ourselves together with other believers, but Matthew 18:20 is very clear that where two or more are gathered, God is there with us.  Is someone that doesn't attend organized religious services less Christian than those who do? 

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6 years ago  ::  May 07, 2009 - 11:44AM #2
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068

If an arm is cut off from the body, how long will it live?

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Just like everybody else.
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6 years ago  ::  May 07, 2009 - 12:55PM #3
Wayne D
Posts: 21

May 6, 2009 -- 11:09PM, newway87 wrote:


I haven't been in an organized church service in over a year.  I grew up C of C, left there to attend various other mainline denominations over the years, but for the first time in my life I don't feel any stress or frustration with my religious practice.  I have felt that each church we tried to attend varied from the extremes of legalism and "anything goes", and each left me eventually feeling like pulling my hair out.


I continue to read scripture, keep an active prayer life, and spend every minute I can talking with one or both of my kids (teens) the important things in life, such as how our morals and God's laws apply to our daily lives.   On Sundays, my husband, children, and I spend almost the entire day together; we have 3 family meals, and lots of great conversation--we even sneak in a little fun once in a while.  It's become virtually the only day we have any quality or quantity of family time. 


I know scriptures advise us to not forsake gathering ourselves together with other believers, but Matthew 18:20 is very clear that where two or more are gathered, God is there with us.  Is someone that doesn't attend organized religious services less Christian than those who do? 




 


Less Christian?  I don't think any of us are authorized to judge that.  Only you and God know where you stand with him.  But I do agree with Campbellite; it's not wise to cut  yourself off from the body.  You do have the option of having a church in your home.  There is nothing wrong with that, but unless your husband is a pastor, you will probably not benefit from that as much as going to an assembly.  Most folks do not find a "perfect" church for them.  I would definately encourage you to continue your search.  There are beginning to be some contemporary churches of Christ!  Were folks are raising hands, clapping, and being more vocal-but still have the essential points that make them CoC.  Don't give up..keep looking.


Realize that it is God's will that you attend church.  Family time is important, but this is something God told us to do, and we have the pattern of the first century church doing this.

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6 years ago  ::  May 07, 2009 - 11:18PM #4
newway87
Posts: 25

Okay, good point.  An arm cut off will not survive long, of course.  However, since my family and friends are believers, and since we fellowship together on a regular basis, I don't feel that I'm cut off in any way from the body. 


As for studies that won't meet the standard for education that a pastor might provide, the last pastor I heard sermons from often mentioned the "ten apostles" and once said from the pulpit that he felt the Bible was mostly just a source of helpful advice. 


I know what you're probably thinking now--excuses, excuses.  And you'd be right!  I'm justifying my acitons.  Ultimately, though, I'm not trying to argue FOR giving up organized worship.  Obviously since this does niggle at me on some level, I know it's important.  I am just so tired of my religion being a source of strife, angst, and frustration and have found that my life this past year has much more peace in it.  Simply focusing on my faith, rather than my religion, has made me a much less stressed person.  Does God desire us to participate in worship servicess to the detriment of our faith?  It feels as if that's the choice I'm constantly making.

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6 years ago  ::  May 08, 2009 - 1:04AM #5
Wayne D
Posts: 21

May 7, 2009 -- 11:18PM, newway87 wrote:


Okay, good point.  An arm cut off will not survive long, of course.  However, since my family and friends are believers, and since we fellowship together on a regular basis, I don't feel that I'm cut off in any way from the body. 


As for studies that won't meet the standard for education that a pastor might provide, the last pastor I heard sermons from often mentioned the "ten apostles" and once said from the pulpit that he felt the Bible was mostly just a source of helpful advice. 


I know what you're probably thinking now--excuses, excuses.  And you'd be right!  I'm justifying my acitons.  Ultimately, though, I'm not trying to argue FOR giving up organized worship.  Obviously since this does niggle at me on some level, I know it's important.  I am just so tired of my religion being a source of strife, angst, and frustration and have found that my life this past year has much more peace in it.  Simply focusing on my faith, rather than my religion, has made me a much less stressed person.  Does God desire us to participate in worship servicess to the detriment of our faith?  It feels as if that's the choice I'm constantly making.




Okay...when you mention "fellowship" what does that mean?  Does it mean worship?  Or hang out together and maybe/maybe not talk about the Lord?  There's a big difference.  Like I said, you could have church in your home BUT you'd have to sing, study the bible, give to the Lord's work, pray, and take the Lord's supper.  Why reinvent the wheel?


You will find the church for you.  Satan does not want you to find it.  Inspite of difficulties of the past, you will benefit from your family being in a church worshiping the Lord under sound teaching..cmon its an hour or hour and a half on Sunday...it's not the end of the world.  Then when you find the one you love, you will not want to miss a service!


Wayne


 

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6 years ago  ::  May 08, 2009 - 3:31PM #6
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068

May 7, 2009 -- 11:18PM, newway87 wrote:


 I am just so tired of my religion being a source of strife, angst, and frustration and have found that my life this past year has much more peace in it.  Simply focusing on my faith, rather than my religion, has made me a much less stressed person.  Does God desire us to participate in worship servicess to the detriment of our faith?  It feels as if that's the choice I'm constantly making.




I think this is telling. It is not that you have a problem with The Church. It is that you have been in a sick church. Getting out was probably the best thing you could do for your mental and spiritual health. But the next step is to find a more healthy congregation to be a part of. (Or, alternatively, you could be the core of a new house church, perhaps?)


As for finding the perfect church. Don't.


First because no such thing exists. Being made up of fallen human beings, every church has its flaws.


And if you ever should find the "perfect" church, for crying out loud, DO NOT join it. You will only mess it up.  :P

You are unique.
Just like everybody else.
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6 years ago  ::  May 08, 2009 - 9:51PM #7
newway87
Posts: 25

I appreciate the insight in your replies.  I always wonder why we see often see others' situations with such clarity, but miss simple and usually significant details about our own experiences. 


I agree with you, Campbell (mind if I'm so forward as to shorten it?) that there is NO perfect church.  Just like families, they always have their foibles and flaws.  Those are usually some of the best things about groups of humans--the little idiosyncrasies.  I would run screaming from a church that billed itself "perfect" just as I would a family, or other group.


I've never looked for perfection.  Just belonging, without it coming at the expense of true Biblical principles.  Once I realized as a young adult that I'd previously only had my parents' faith and not my own, I've been seeking.  That's what my husband calls me, a "seeker".  But sometimes seeking becomes so tiresome that I'd like to, just for a while, be a "finder." 


And Wayne, you're right about the small expenditure of time for services--it's never been about that, either.  I don't begrudge the Lord His share of my time, talents, or resources.  I only have them because of Him--ironically, for at least ten years I've felt a calling to ministry of some kind.  Of course, that flies in the face of the teachings I grew up with, which require women to take a secondary role in all things ecclesiastical.  Maybe it's time to pursue more formal avenues of education so I could serve in ministry somehow.  Put my money where my mouth is, as it were.


My thanks for the responses--I love the challenge of our interactions, even if it's only via the internet.

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5 years ago  ::  Aug 13, 2009 - 9:44PM #8
imsavedru
Posts: 76

Cambellite -


You are truly a JOY!   LOL


imsavedru

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5 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2009 - 9:19AM #9
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068

May 8, 2009 -- 9:51PM, newway87 wrote:


 for at least ten years I've felt a calling to ministry of some kind.  Of course, that flies in the face of the teachings I grew up with, which require women to take a secondary role in all things ecclesiastical.




Maybe it's time to re-think those teachings. Seriously.

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Just like everybody else.
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2009 - 9:20AM #10
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068

Aug 13, 2009 -- 9:44PM, imsavedru wrote:


Cambellite -


You are truly a JOY!   LOL


imsavedru




Aw, shucks. Thank you, ma'am!

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Just like everybody else.
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