Friday, January 12, 2007

To the Pure all things are Pure

I've been immersed in the world of Christian fiction lately. It's been nice to have validation through how others portray a relationship with God, and what that's like. I find what I read invades my thoughts throughout the day, and I'll use words that the characters use or even find commonalities in our thought processes or interests. For this reason, I'm convinced, it's a good thing for me to be reading literature that encourages a healthy worldview and a relationship with God. I'm occasionally drawn to listen to the cheesy Christian music on the local station, and it'll get stuck in my head and be so uplifting. I need to listen to more uplifting music.

It's funny how I feel like I've come almost full circle in my view of the church and the Christian culture. I was so jaded for a while feeling that it all was so closed off to the people who needed in the most. Part of me still feels this way, but having lived without it for quite a while, I'm finding some respite in these things. I guess I'm able to see how it can benefit me to have a safe place to go culturally and socially, not just in my heart and mind.

We've been attending a new little church for a few weeks, we go every other week, so as to not overwhelm ourselves, I guess. It's not my dream church, it's a little apostolic, which is so not us. But, we have good friends that go, and it's so comforting to worship with them. It's nice to get to sing to God with others, not just in my car alone. I still don't think we HAVE to go to church to have the necessary relationship with God. It's just helpful.

Ben and I would love to learn Greek and Hebrew and learn what the original text of the Bible says about church. We're pretty sure what we understand of our translated version that it never looked like churches do today. Communion was always a meal, not a little wafer taken while looking at the back of someone else's head. I won't go off on all the things that we could do better in churches, but I think these issues are correctable. Most churches need an all-too-trendy "Extreme Make-Over".

Here's some things I've heard that I liked about other's churches. Lana says her church in Maryland is focused on recovery, and subsequently has quite a rough group in attendance, but this changes the whole atmosphere of the church family. I imagine it's very humble and subsequently moldable. Matt says his church in Utah is awesome because they are very community based. He says they're constantly involved in service projects. My grandparents in Tennessee attend a rather large church but they understand holy reverence, and know when they walk into that great sanctuary to be quiet and solemn. A LeTourneau professor of ours, Dr Batts, used to drive once a month to a church in Dallas that actually had a discussion group after the service to discuss the sermon. That would make the pastor pretty prayerful about his message, wouldn't you think? The new little church we're going to now, doesn't have a worship leader, and yet, in someways I've found it to be the most worshipful church I've been to. I like that there's no distracting self-conscious people up front. I love that everybody sings to the worship C.D. together. Something happens while we're making our joyful noise together unto the Lord that is


Deanne said...

In regards to your thoughts about Christian fiction....about 10 years ago I began reading a lot of Christian novels and loved how they portrayed relationships with Christ in the lives of the characters. I was drawn to it. Then someone said to me "only scripture is God breathed". This person did not know how involved I'd become, and I didn't either at that point until it was said. It got me thinking about how I'd tried to get some spiritual nourishment from somewhere other than The Word. I think differently about reading books now, I still enjoy them but I no longer fake myself out with it. That's not to say that the Lord can not use the words or stories of authors to encourage or challenge us. And I am also not saying that you are using other books to meet your spiritual needs. Your thoughts just made me think of one of those 'ah-ha!' moments I had years ago. :) (sure hope I made sense!)

Your other thoughts on churches gives me pause for thought as well. However, I need to mull it over before I write anything.

I enjoy reading your blog. It is encouraging and challenges me to think. I kind of feel as though I may be tresspassing by reading this blog. Is there truth to that at all??? If so, let me know. :)

Becca said...

Can I comment on my own blog? I just was getting ready to invite feedback, when I got your comment, Deanne. As the proprietor of this site, I hereby decree that anyone may challenge the content within, in love. On that note, I feel there is some truth in Deanne's comment, that I can't ignore, that, perhaps this is in fact what I'm doing (needing to read my Bible more). However, I challenge the thought that "only Scripture is God breathed." Only Scripture is infallible. God can breathe life anywhere He wants. But, thank you, Deanne for your thoughts, trespassing is welcome here, as are your opinions.

Deanne said...

You're right. God may breathe life into any written word, and does so all the time. But, yes, the point was that I was looking elsewhere to get spiritual food other than the true Word, the bible. can comment on your own blog! :)

Chris said...

I love this blog, becca! I love that you think about things and encourage your readers to do the same. I love your honesty and transparency. This is so you and i look forward to knowing you better through it and being challenged to think more about why i do what I do.

Heather said...

Hey Becca,

I love this blog idea. You have some really keen insight into things. I believe that God is revealed in many things. If your novels are giving you a deeper sense of God, keep reading them; just pair them with scripture. CS Lewis hoped that, by casting biblical stories in a new light, he could help people experience them freshly. He commented, "But supposing that by casting all these things (Biblical stories) into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could." What I think he means is that sometimes, we read scripture so much that it becomes a dull reading and the meaning, emotion, and love we should have gets jaded and lost. If we hear the tale of Aslan, or a fellow human giving/risking their life for another; we get overwhlemed with emotion (or I do). Thus, next time we read that Christ gave his life for us, we know can have a more full understanding of what that means; especially if someone has physically saved our own life!

As for church, while we can have a meaningful relationship with God alone, church provides a place for us to carry out and "practice" our faith. God does not intend for us to be solely in relationship with God, but also to be in relationship with others around us. It's a place to practice the love we are to share. It's a place that, once connections are formed, the body of Christ can support you in ways you never dreamed of.

There is a story I once heard about a teenager. She had gone through confirmation and was baptized. Her faith was very strong for a time. Then one weekend her parents went out of town. She threw a party and got caught. When her mother was talking to her, it came out that she no longer believed or was sure if Christ was real. Her mother just smiled and replied, "That's alright, sweetheart. It's called doubt. There will be times like these in your life. When you feel like you are not strong enough to believe on your own, I shall believe for you; just as I did the day we had you baptized. I shall carry your faith until you are ready for it again." And while this goes against what many people believe, I think there is truth in this. Belief is not just a personal thing, but a community thing. We help each other along the road when we stumble. This is why I think church is a vital part of faith.

Heather said...

Oh yeah.. if you have a scripture passage you want translated, please let me know? I'm not the best at it, but I'll give it a shot. It's been about 2 years since I've translated the Greek and Hebrew.

Becca said...

Heather, Thank you so much for your insightful comments! I like the idea of sharing more than just eachother's burdens. Our finite minds surely don't comprehend all that goes into hope and prayer for another person. I'm overwhelmed by your offer,and will discuss it with my husband. To just pick one passage to be translated! You're in a large group of e-mail addresses, and I'm not sure which one is yours, would you send me an e-mail so I know? Thanks!

~*Biz*~ said...

Hey Bec, love your blog (both actually)! I just love reading and thinking and applying, and I just really liked the post from Heather about doubt. In my "adult phase" I haven't found that I so much doubted Gods existence, but that I doubted His ways. Like doubting how tough situations would turn out ok. Heather's words really explain how we use others to help us rely on God, and even now it makes me think that so often I try to take matters into my own hands, control the situation, and how it is so tempting to just not share this with Christian peers. I mean, that would let people know I am not perfect ;) Anyhow, Love this!