for those who don't want to just wait it out

like the song says this is a blog for someone who wants to say something (anything) and who's happy to wait and see what time will bring...

Friday, May 19, 2006

I have the questions, who has the answers?

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite parts of my house. This rocking chair is where I do most of my reading (whether it be biblical or other) and also where I do most of my thinking. Lately (due to a rather unfortunate bout of insomnia) I have been spending a lot of time here between the hours of 12 and 3am. Not much fun - but good thinking has been done...mostly about discontentment and being disillusioned about some things (often based on my own stupid misguided interpretations of ppl and events).
But I'm not going to give you any details on them bar one topic which I would like some of your feedback on.
Lately it seems that a lot of people I speak to are finding that they are 'struggling to feel as though they fit in at their churches'. Unfortunately I can completely identify - but why is it that there seems to be an epidemic of this sentiment at the moment? And it's not just ppl in my church - it seems to be everywhere! Most of the people that I have been speaking to have been with their congregations for 5-15 years and it sounds as though many are ready to move on and find something different.
When did we become a generation of people who just move on? Now before you go jumping to any conclusions I'm not an insular moron and I'm not saying that we should never change churches. Of course there are plenty of good reasons to move and move on (I don't really think I need to list them here do I?)
So here is my really big question: is there something bigger that is going on? Could it be possible, even just a tiny bit, that Satan is choosing to use that fact that we have become ppl who make big life changes every 4-7 years, to undermine work that can be done as we meet together and fellowship over lifetimes? Will our cards of discontentment and disillusionment trump trusting God's good plans in us meeting together for a long time?
But you know what? As I sit here writing this from the office of my church, I'm also looking over the carpark and watching all of the kids and leaders of FNAC and other bible studies go about whatever it is that they do on a Friday arvo/evening. And to say that it's an encouragement and challenge to see and hear all of their joy at their fellowship together is an understatement. It is truly a beautiful thing to witness. I think I'm a little bit jealous - but the final question is "what am I going to do about it?".


  • At 8:08 pm, Blogger Angie said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 8:12 pm, Blogger Angie said…

    I've been thinking about it a bit more Jodi, and I think maybe you might just be on to something. I was chatting with my mum about it and she said some of her friends, who have been at the church as long as she has - some even longer - recently left. I also have many friends who are discontent with the church, not the teaching, but the feeling of not belonging. Maybe something is going on...

    (Btw, I think God answered those prayer points I shared Wednesday :)

  • At 12:54 pm, Anonymous al.x said…

    this was touched on a bit at church today (i Went Catholic with mum and dad, yeah!); i thought i might share here... i draw on catholic examples, but the idea is the same.

    in the catholic church, we believe that Christ dwells in the tabernacle and that the communion host, once consecrated by the priest, becomes the body of christ (under the appearance of bread); so we demonstrate respect and adoration to both the tabernacle (usally by kneeling or the sign of the cross) and the eucharist. so why then, if we are each and all created in the image and likeness of God, and he dwells in each of us, do we not always show the same love and respect to each other? God sent his only Son to die for us, yet we still manage to be insular and self-centred in our outlook, sometimes even when we're at church.

    i could go on, but you get the idea. it was a much needed wake-up call, as i am guilty of this, as well as feeling its effects. and now that i've read over this i feel like i'm rambling a bit, but i thought it might loosely tie in with your post somehow, jodi! haha.

  • At 3:00 pm, Blogger Justin said…

    Can I post a [rather large] Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote?

    Sorry for the shamless link:

    "Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves.
    By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God's sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it.

    The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community, the better for both. A community that cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse."

    Hear Hear.

  • At 11:09 pm, Blogger jodi mclaren said…

    no worries justin - link away. that is one of the quotes that i love most from bonhoeffer... he just breaks down the barriers and excuses doesn't he?
    and thanks for your thoughts alex - always good to hear your perspective!

  • At 10:18 pm, Anonymous Kat DC said…

    this generation is restless. lifetime employment is no longer a reality, itchy feet is

    but it is sad, that people do not stick to a church in the hard times, the same way a church sticks with them during theirs

    however, there are genuine reasons to move on!!! its just sad to see it happen


  • At 9:23 am, Anonymous al.x said…

    for a funny comic on fish and cleaning their bowls, please visit this website.

  • At 11:23 pm, Anonymous chelsea said…

    "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Heb 10:25
    Now I know this verse is kinda different to what you are talking about - cos afterall people leaving a church doesnt mean they are no longer wanting to encourage and meet with their fellow christians - but it did come to mind when i read your post, mostly cos i think it is something we need to be reminded of when a sense of 'boredom' may threaten to take over. It is, afterall, not all about us, but about God, and to bring glory to Him these things must be considered. I guess its being challenged to persevere - to "not give up meeting together" etc just because we have become bored with it. I think it is a good point that it could be satan's tool, tricking us into this mindset of becoming bored with it, eating at our strength or persevere. Scott spoke from Job at TC on sunday and spoke about how we can be tempted to become bored with God - now as i mentioned before, i know that becoming bored with a church and bored with God are not the same, but they can similarly be used against us to ultimately be used against God. hmm its late and that was a whole lot of thoughts - i hope this makes sense! sorry if it doesnt...but i think its definately an important point to think about jodes.


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