Monday, October 29, 2007

And now for something completely different

I have no idea where this path is leading, but I'm not nearly so terrified anymore.

I've come to the conclusion that if we're genuinely trying to walk with the Lord, making a mistake is not the end of the world. There is a difference between willfully walking contrary to what we see in Scripture, and making an honest effort only to get it wrong. So anyone who reads this blog and prays for us based on it, please pray for our hearts and attitudes in this. Finding the right place the wrong way is no better than finding the wrong place the right way...

I can see three possible outcomes from where I am right now. The eventual outcome may be nothing like any of these, but from where I sit, there seem to be three possibilities:
1. We could end up back where we started. This might be the best outcome, although right now it seems unlikely.
2. We could end up in another assembly/gathering/church in the area.
3. We could end up part of a new gathering.

Of those, #3 seems the least likely; but I won't say it won't happen. I've been part of a new gathering a couple times: it's a lot of work, but can be wonderful. The biggest problem I've seen in a "new work" is people discontent with being small, new, and unknown. Full parking lots are a strong attraction, and the lack thereof can overshadow everything, until the gathering collapses on itself and dissolves.

#2 is the default answer, but I'm strongly concerned about it. What I don't want to see happen is, fading into an existing gathering because it's easy. That is, if gathering with an existing group is what the Lord wants, that's fine; but I don't want to do something like that out of laziness. That's a path I've seen some take, and it's wrong. And I guess that same concern can apply to #1 as well.

But the alternative to gathering with an existing group is, further fragmenting the church in this area. That's a pretty serious thing to do, something we need to be sure the Lord is leading into, before we start.

I suppose the last option is just sitting at home. I don't see that as viable for me for a couple reasons. Please don't misunderstand: I know several people who sit at home, many or most of whom I highly respect. I'm not trying to kick against them. But I have three daughters who are still of a very impressionable age: I can't let them grow up as virtual heathens. Yeah, we love the Lord, yes Christianity is much more about the individual walk than the corporate gathering; all that is true. But my kids need to see the church, even in Ruin and Apostasy. They need to understand that even though we are in the middle of the post-Apostolic, apostate Church; there is the need for Daniels and Ezekiels and Jeremiahs. We can't let the failure around us become an excuse for our neglect. If nothing else, we need to live out Daniel 9. And I can't teach them that if I deliberately keep them from gatherings.

Now, I can see us sitting at home now and then: that's not evil. But already one daughter has told her grandmother "We're not doing a lot of memory verses these days, because we're between meetings right now."

Right at the moment, my honest conviction is, my family needs to be gathering with other Christians.

So yesterday we tried something completely different, and attended a meeting at a local Continuing Anglican church. What's "continuing anglican?" It's basically the Episcopal/Anglicans who have denounced the mainstream Anglican/Episcopalian church as apostate.

It was an interesting experience, and frankly rather positive. I won't go into a lot of detail: I'm still digesting it myself. But I was struck by the short homily/sermon at the start of the meeting, where the speaker said (and I can't quote exactly): "There's no place for pride in the Christian life: our value is entirely based in the fact that the Son of God came here and died for us. We can't be proud when all our value is in another. But on the other hand, the Son of God came here and died for us, that ought to make us feel so good!"

That man gets it.


Chuck Hicks said...

We are praying for you and yours, bro. I have always appreciated your carefulness and sensitivity to the Lord.

Ames said...

Thank you, very much, Chuck. I value your friendship as well as your prayers.