Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Organic Organization

Why is religion so organized? I guess it's because people naturally tend to organize themselves and so everything revolves around this sort of structured organization: government, business, societies, religion.

I've said before that I am coming away from organized religion. But if people naturally do organize themselves, is this not some part of God's plan and picture? This was a question I struggled with at first, but I began to see a problem with it when I was in high school.

When there were people problems, people got hurt and someone had to be wrong and someone had to be right. We had to promote an image that said, "See? It's cool to be a Christian." and it felt like a weird advertising campaign for Jesus. If it's not selling, then it's not a good product!

Church splits happened about every 5 years or so, men passed out offering and communion, and women sat quietly, reverently waiting to be served.
Sermons were long and droll even though truthful and i squirmed like a two year old at an opera.

Black people didn't come to my church, the spanish speaking congregation that shared our building only shared one sunday a year with us for a special joint service.

People were friendly and honest and very decent honorable folk but we all walked quickly to and from our cars secretly not wanting to be approached by the neighborhood people. This church was planted in the middle of a poor drug and gang infested neighborhood and the quick pace and sideways glances said "You are welcome, our doors are always open...but you have to come to us"

And for years the big budget project was building a new building somewhere else. Moving out. They finally moved and the old church was bought by a funeral home...I'm not so sure it wasn't one already.

Unfortunately that's where my journey with church ended. I have heard that good things are happening and that God is blessing that congregation now, and I am grateful for that, and my side of the story was just that. My side. God showed me these things though He probably had a perfect plan in moving that church. I know He has his hand on all his people.

This was a well oiled machine. The rhythm of it all was almost subconscious because it had always been the same.

When I started college I decided to find a new church with people my own age and a younger more exciting agenda. But this search failed me. Nothing felt like home, but home didn't feel right either.

I quit attending church on Sunday mornings regularly, and if I did go, it was to visit with a friend or see my family.

The thing that stunned me was that I didn't grow distant from God like people had warned me I would if I quit going to His church. In fact the aspects of church that I removed myself from only showed themselves as barriers between me and God. God didn't have a set time and day in my schedule anymore. I actively felt Him in my conversations with friends at coffee shops and way past midnight when I had a test the next morning.

God was showing me Himself outside of "the church" as in the building, and showing the beginnings of living as the church. Starting with Him and nothing else.

It is organic. It grows, changes, lives and breathes. It is an organic structure, not an organized structure that God has me walking in.

To Be Continued...

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