Believe it or not, I’m only ten years old as a follower of Christ (baptized May 12th, 2002). Yes, I understand that years do not really equate to spiritual maturity (neither positively nor negatively), but it feels strange to me that I’ve only been a practicing Christian for the past ten years. It feels much longer.
I’m in a very weird spot in my tenth year of Christianity – spiritually speaking anyway. Actually, I’m in a weird spot in life also; I have a degree and two jobs, but I know I want something more – I just don’t know what “it” is. But regarding my spiritual life, I have no home church. In the previous nine years, this was never the case.
Of course, it runs much deeper than simply not having a home church; I’m still getting over the changes made with the last church I was a part of (Calvary Fellowship). I still wish my old pastor was in town and preaching. I still wish I was helping with the leadership staff. And I still wish I was able to discuss theology so openly.
It’s not that every church I’ve gone to in the past five and a half months doesn’t discuss theology; it’s simply that I’m nervous about discussing controversial issues. The things I’d like to discuss might make everyone else nervous because it might be attacking the very foundation of their beliefs. And yet I’m eager to break it open and talk about it. I just no longer have the atmosphere I had with Danny and Calvary Fellowship.
Even though I feel as if I don’t have a home, I must reconsider what I’ve learned in the past ten years – if anything at all. I must reconsider what it means to be a part of the kingdom of God rather than one specific church. I must reconsider how that identity then affects my life in this world (politically, socially, and economically). And I must reconsider what this race we run is all about – speed or endurance? Because if I take a look back at the bare roots of my faith, finding a church home where I feel safe and secure isn’t one of those roots. If anything, my faith is rooted in something – Someone – that makes me rather uncomfortable as a human.
Being a part of God’s kingdom means we’re using our time differently – seeking truth and understanding rather than the “right” answers. It means we’re using our money differently – recognizing first and foremost that it isn’t ours to begin with, and then stewarding it wherever we believe God would be most glorified in. And it also means we’re living our social lives much differently – not seeking popularity, but instead a Godly reputation.
Once we’ve adjusted our social lives, we find we’re thrust right into difficult discussions in the political realm with subjects such as gay marriage, abortion, and fiscal responsibility. And we’re allowed to ignore none of these issues regardless of how many enemies we create with whichever direction we cast our vote. Beyond this we’re asked to do something even more challenging: Love those who hate us.
And after all the aspects of our lives are reconsidered – and all the changes we’re asked to make understood – we then arrive to the most difficult part of being a Christian: Continuing. Going the distance. Persisting. Remaining steadfast. Enduring. And no, I don’t mean keeping a church-attendance-streak going for several years; I mean continuing to love others as God has loved us. I mean continuing to show gays, Muslims, Democrats, librarians, officers, lawyers, stock brokers, baristas, hippies, KKK members, AARP members, and even that driver who cut you off while flipping you off a continuous and unending love and friendship. It’s the kind that God has given us life with.
What I’ve often noticed about myself in my walk is that I like to make small goals. I fast for so long or I pray for so long or I commit to a devotional for so long, etc. And yet what Christ teaches us is more than a periodical commitment: It’s a life-long commitment. It’s not enough to commit so much of my time, so much of my talent, so much of my money, or so much of energy to loving God and loving others for a certain extent of time. It’s enough when God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
If all of this is what I’ve learned in the past ten years, then I think I’m doing okay for being without a home church. Not to say that I’m not making mistakes or that I don’t need improvement, but to say that I think I’m still on the right track with God. It isn’t easy, but then again, it was never meant to be. God has asked us to change our ways completely from what we’re compelled to do – it’s like teaching a dog to walk on its hind legs and not eat its own poop; it’s not impossible, but it takes a lot of work.
In my final words to Calvary Fellowship and Danny O’Neil, I had said that Jesus was a wanderer. His faith and relationship with God was with Him wherever He was. At this juncture in my life, this aspect stands as a model to emulate in my own walk. Wherever I go, I’m still with Jesus. I will always have a home. Such news is the only news that is truly worth living – and even dying – for.