Yesterday was a hard day. Hell, in the last couple of weeks, there have been a lot of hard days. Once again I find myself unchurched, and I don’t know quite how to deal with it.
It would be nice if I could just blow it off. Tell myself that they don’t matter, that if they can’t accept my son, why should I care.
And the defiant part of me that doesn’t like being hurt by the Church says that. I’ll listen to my empowerment music and say, “Yeah! The haters ARE gonna’ hate! I can shake it off too!”
But it’s not true. I can’t just shake it off. I can’t pretend it doesn’t hurt. I can’t act like finding another new church will be no big deal. That it wasn’t a huge act of courage just to step through the doors of that place and lay myself out to church people. That there wasn’t a massive unburdening when I was able to stand behind a keyboard and play again, after being certain that I would never have the opportunity again. That I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief when we found ourselves in a home group, surrounded by people we genuinely liked being around.
Growing up, we used to sing a song that talked about the Church. One of the verses was:
The church is not a building
The church is not a steeple
The church is not a resting place
The church is the people
When I was asked why I would want to attend a church where I had so many differences with the theology, I wish I had been able to come up with that lyric, because that last line is why. The people. The woman who put her arms around me when I was telling my story and said, “I don’t judge you.” The group that prayed with me when my son came out. The people on the worship team that we ate terrible fast food and pretty decent Tex-Mex with. The times we were the Church, not because we believed all of the same doctrine, but because we believed that the message of Jesus was one worth following.
That same song had one other line from the chorus that has stuck with me for all these years:
Let’s be the church together.
I’m not sure where my church journey will take me next, but it will be with other people. I know that I’m still part of the Church, but it’s hard to be the church alone.