Who is Lisa Marcia? - On "Church Culture" (Part 1)

"All I do should be based on a oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly."

Last night our small group met for the first time. We've decided to go through a book called, The Celebration of Discipline. I think when I hear the word discipline it's hard to not cringe at what it applies to in my life. I like our group because the intellectual conversation is challenging. I like debate, I love stimulating conversation and tough conversation. This love is not a vain pursuit of winning a point, but truly having my mind sharpened. As a kid there I always challenged to know what I knew. Thus, the desire in me to research and be careful to make a statement without some background and hard truths. But, once I've got that, I definitely have an opinion.

Everyone had something to share, an experience, a question and it led us down so many different paths of conversation that we covered a plethora of topics. I tweeted earlier that we could probably solve the world's problems by next group (which by the way goes against EVERYTHING this book and our discussion covered). A little tongue and cheek humor here on the blog today folks. 

Church culture is an evolving mystery to my mind and my heart. It's a love/hate relationship; I cherish it and despise it, while strangely being drawn into it's web. It's a mixture of insecurities, grace, disobedience, love, and desire to do virtuous things through a broken vessel. Something I held onto from last night's conversation is the fact that we're ALL created in the image of God and we ALL have an inerrant desire to worship God. I've never thought of others that way. 

When I see someone who's completely broken, down a path different from my own, I can analyze and label that situation real quick like. I'm on it. I've always thought of those people like a blank slate when it comes to God. Not in a negative way like, "You've got a long way to go buddy," but more in a "never been shown" kind of way. Like something you've never seen or understood before. I guess that can be pretty accurate for some, but those fibers are woven into us. It's there, I don't have to place it there for anyone. There isn't a "Start Here" sticker attached to people. They're on as much of a journey as I am. There is no final destination, no "bow of completion" that we so often crave.

On the whole, church culture is seen in the media and generally in society as breeding ignorance and judgement, more often than it does love and grace. I've seen those who have received an abundance of grace in their lives turn around to be the most judgmental & christian "law" abiding citizens out there. Thus, the quote at the beginning of this blog. 

Church culture to me is indicative of where our hearts are as individuals and then collectively as a unit. The challenge to BE BOLD came this year in many different forms from our pastor. While we can speak directly, we can in the same sentence, love gently. A recurring theme in my life is picking and choosing my battles. Andy Stanley asked the question....something to the effect of: "Are you making a different, or a you making a point?"I'm constantly challenged by asking myself that every time I feel compelled to choose labels rather than love. It's easier to build a relationship than it is to repair one. 

My thoughts on Church culture are ever evolving and more in depth than this single post, so bear with me. I'd cherish your thoughts, your views points, both Church folks and non-church folks.

Ready? Go!

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