Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thoughts on

I went to church twice on Easter. Once in the morning to my mom's Community Mennonite Evangelical church and later in the evening to our Emergent Post-Evangelical church. They were two VERY different experiences.

In the morning service they started with the typical call to worship song, welcome, regular worship, and message, which of course ends with an application to your life. I don't think it is to much of a secret that I have some issues with the manipulation that is often found in a typical worship service but I'll leave that one alone. The message is what I was focused on. I must admit that I was greatly lost during the the bulk of the message, mainly because the pastor's preaching style is not my cup of tea, but the application part was what really threw me for a loop. It was basically a call to ask what you might have to give up in order to follow Christ. He had a whole list of things you might have to choose between like Christ or certain friends; Christ or certain family members; Christ or a job promotion; etc...  Personally, I found this so damaging for the hundreds of people there, a lot of whom were probably guests. Why on earth are churches teaching that if you are a "good Christian" (whatever that is) means you have to lose friends and family? Doesn't it make sense that if you are doing it right you won't be alienating anyone?... except for maybe those people who think they are "good Christians" and believe they are "called" to make people feel alienated because of their "sin". Didn't Jesus alienate himself from only the pharisees?

The other thing that struck me in the morning service was the child dedication. Personally, I'm not a fan of these. We do blessings for us as parents, our child and our family as a unit. It never quite made sense to me how we can dedicate a child to God who is so obviously a gift from Him anyway. Each to their own though. What got to me was the congregations involvement. Their were five different families dedicating their children before the church. At the end the congregation, who consisted of a lot of guests like me, were asked to stand and affirm that we would support these families in raising their children to be followers of Christ. Aside from not going to church very often, aside from not knowing all but one of the family, the family I did know I don't think should be allowed to procreate! (I never said I was a "good Christian"). I'm not going to essentially vow to support them in raising their child! I was super uncomfortable being asked to affirm them. Isn't that something that is reserved for the families personal community of family and friends? Maybe that community includes everyone in the church for some people. It definitely does not include all the guests their on an Easter Sunday and the family and friends of four other families.

Later on that day we went to Nexus, our home church, and had a very different experience. The bulk of the message was about whether there is Hell or not. Not your typical Easter Sunday service. A part of the service that really touched me was when Chris Janzen, (Yes, the Chris Janzen is now part of Nexus... my mom was pretty surprised) did a cover of a Ron Sexsmith song, God Loves Everyone. It was beautiful, challenging and so true. I think it speaks for itself. Here are the lyrics...

God Loves Everyone

God loves everyone
Like a mother loves her son
No strings at all
Unconditional
Never one to judge
Would never hold a grudge
'Bout what's been done
God loves everyone

There are no gates in heaven
Everyone gets in
Queer or straight
Souls of every faith
Hell is in our minds
Hell is in this life
But when it's gone
God takes everyone

Its love is like a womb
It's like the air from room to room
It surrounds us all
The living and the dead
May we never lose the thread
That bound us all

The killer in his cell
The atheist as well
The pure of heart
And the wild at heart
Are all worthy of its grace
It's written in the face
Of everyone
God loves everyone

There's no need to be saved
No need to be afraid
Cause when it's done
God takes everyone

God loves everyone

1 comments:

LeAnna et David said...

It makes you wonder if the pastor is speaking from personal experience, or if he's just parroting what he thinks is good Christian sentiment.

I do think that if you are doing it right you can still alienate people, no matter how hard you try, by doing something different than the norm for that group of people. We all have moments in our lives where we are forced to act for our faith, and sometimes the choices that we know are right are so backwards to what everyone else thinks we should be doing.