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Christians who don't go to church: Are you out there? Do you have a story?


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I'm a Christian, and I haven't been to church in a year. I wouldn't mind going, if I could find a healthy church that I could feel safe and comfortable in, but so far that hasn't happened.

 

My story: I grew up Catholic, but not in the way that I see many strong, vibrant, faith filled Catholics on this board. Nobody ever really explained what it meant to have faith in Christ. I rebelled wildly as a teen, and at the age of 18 I had a dramatic conversion experience, alone, in my home. I began attending a Baptist church, and after ten months I headed off to Bible college. I graduated with a four year degree, and went on to seminary for one term. That was enough, and I dropped out and got a job. By this time I was attending a charismatic church. I stayed there for 14 years, met my husband there, had my 4 dc there, and considered it my home. The only problem was that I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the spiritual abuse that was taking place. After many attempts to work through the issues, our family left. We didn't go anywhere for a few years, during which time we began to read a series of books by Steve McVey about grace. These books were life changing for dh and I. We experienced a paradigm shift. The only problem is, we can't seem to find a church that lines up with our new found freedom in Christ. Most institutional churches seem to use people's fear to control them. Rather than teaching/preaching an edifying message of freedom, there seems to be a never ending stream of expectations coming from the pulpit. We've tried to be involved in another church, but we just can't seem to get past the way most churches operate.

 

I sometimes wonder if we're doing our children harm by keeping them away from church, but every time we go, I see that more harm gets done by the things that are being taught. I miss the dynamic of regular fellowship, but I can't tolerate the dynamic of one person teaching many, with no opportunity to respond or discuss. And so often, the person in the pulpit lacks the perspective that is developed by a good education.

 

Well, that got long. I guess I'm feeling a bit weird about not having a church to go to at Christmas time. Am I the only one in this boat? Are there others out there?

 

Lori

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Not much time as I am off to church :001_smile: but I stopped going for a couple of years because of disillusionment with organized religion. My faith grew deeper during that time. I tried out my current church about 9 months ago. The reason I went back, right or wrong, was for my kids.

 

I still have issues with organized religion but I really, really, really, love my church. There is true fellowship that takes place. I feel like I have been there forever.

 

This was hard for me as the church I attended in high school/college left a scar on me from the abuse. Not anything horrific, but subtle teachings that crept in and left me and I am sure many others with tons of GUILT.

 

Now, I really gotta go, but {{{{hugs}}}} I totally understand.

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You are not the only one in the boat. I, too have not found a church that I can sink my teeth into. I sometimes think its from my upbringing. Looking from the outside in, I would see family hypocrites doing bad things all week and showing up at church on Sunday, or the obligatory Christmas/Easter.

 

That would make me so mad. I feel a church is one to belong to , a second home, not an obligation.

 

So I try not to feel guilty by finding God in my heart, my Bible and the way I live my life. I try to teach my dd's the same.

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Lori,

 

Thank you for posting your concern. You are not alone! We have been holding Church/Bible Study at our home since 2002. We absolutely love it! Didn't the disciples hold Bible Studies and Church services in people's homes?

 

We looked and looked for a church that teaches the truth of the Bible and lives it (practices it), but could not find one near our house.

 

The contemporary worship has created a magnitude of domino effect problems. Not only most of the music is self-centered, (rather than Christ centered) but also the interpretation of the scriptures is the root of the majority of the problems.

 

There is a sense of feel good gospel preaching out there. Let's not offend anybody lest they leave the church. Then there is the finger pointing that if you sin, you have lost your salvation.

 

Jesus spoke the truth in love. If we look at the Book of Revelation, we see what will take place for those who worship the beast and his false prophet (and reject Christ at the same time).

 

By the way, I am not a charismatic. I believe if a person has put his/her trust in Jesus, (that what Jesus did on the cross paid in full for the punishment of his/her sins) then that person is indeed saved.

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 talks about salvation by faith alone in Christ alone. We do not need good works to get to heaven lest anyone should boast.

 

Yes, christians who love the Lord obey His commands and do their best not to live a sinful life.

 

The christians who do not love the Lord continue to live in sin until they become mature in Christ. They do not loose their salvation in the meantime.

 

Paul makes that clear when he refers to the sinning christians as "saints", "brothers" and "sisters" in Christ. He exhorts them to stop sinning for various reasons.

 

These are my thoughts. I have more to say, but I'll be back later.

 

Thanks again for posting.

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I would call us Cultural Christians. I was brought up rather unenthusiastically in the Presbyterian Church. Dh comes from a very conservative Catholic home. We belong to our local Presbyterian church but attend only occasionally. I really just don't have faith; meaning, I can't believe that there is a god in heaven as described by the Bible. I am not an athiest, either. I find athiests incredibly annoying. Basically, I find anyone who thinks they have a complete understanding as to whether god does or does not exist very annoying. The absolutes in belief seem simplistic to me. I do have affection and respect for Christianity. I see it's incredible worth philosophically, intellectually, spiritually.

 

I read the Bible with dss several times per week. I want them to have knowledge of Christianity, the option of and access to faith. I would hate for them to be ignorant of the traditions and beliefs of their ancestors going back several hundred years, like barbarians. Both dh and I are honest with them about our thoughts and feelings.

 

We do attend Christmas and Easter services at our church. I find the modern church service, with bad "pop" music, very trying. If I'm going to attend I would prefer they did it the old fashioned way. But, of course, they're not doing it for me. Believers probably take priority. :001_smile: Its the Calvinist in me.

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My family is not currently in a church either. My mother was deeply hurt by church gossip when I was a child, so we quit going. My dh and I were active in our previous church (insert long story that I won't share here) but we moved 2 years ago and haven't found the right fit. I too am disillusioned with organized religion.

 

I believe we have a wonderful relationship with Christ and live to be Christ-like. The fact we are not in a church does not make me feel less spiritual.

 

We hope to start looking again after the beginning of the year, but I'm not in a hurry. We may find a program to use at home and do our own studies.

 

ETA: I was very involved in our previous church's worship ministry. I love contemporary worship, but the music needs to be chosen because it is worship music, not because it is contemporary. Since I didn't grow up listening to the older hymns, they do not hold the relevance and heritage for me. There are many artists who are what I consider contemporary hymn writers.

Edited by elegantlion
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that we are in now but in the past, we've had periods where there seemed to be no church around that seemed to be following Christ alone. We moved once for that reason. Where we lived, there were no churches nearby that we felt comfortable being in. I hope we don't sound arrogant, as if we believe we are right and the others are wrong but still, we couldn't in good conscience go to the local ones before moving here. We still don't agree a hundred percent with the pastors in our current church but we feel that we're all in this together, right or wrong, and the pastors seem to be willing to listen and to change from time to time, usually for the better. As so we all should.

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It is difficult to find the right church. We were married for 10 years before we found a church that truly felt like home to us. It stinks going from church to church, trying to find one where you really fit in.

 

That said, I do believe that being a part of a local church is not only a huge blessing, but also is biblically mandated. God has designed the local church to be a place for sound teaching, encouragement, equipping of believers, a place to use our spiritual gifts, etc. I would encourage you to search the New Testament and read the passages that address the local church, how it is to operate, what its purpose is, etc. The church is not some modern concept that society has come up with-- it has been part of God's plan from the book of Acts onward. It's true that our modern churches often deviate in many ways, far from what those early churches were meant to be, but I believe God's plan has remained the same.

 

I hope that you are able to find a church that will be a blessing to you and your family!! It's difficult to find, but it is so worth it!!

 

 

Erica

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We have not been to church since Feb. '08. We need to find a Bible-believing and teaching church. Honestly we haven't actively tried to find one yet. Since we've been staying home, I have done a lot of Bible searching on different topics and learned quite a few things and I continue to teach my sons from the Bible as part of school and before bed. Right now I am not sure where we are going to end up or when/if we'll go back.

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we're on a church-going hiatus too, for much of the same reasons as everyone else. almost, lol.

 

We are doing regular family Bible studies w/ dh, so that has been a great change for us.

 

I would love, Love, LOVE to find a church like we had in NY- talk about Spirit Filled! not perfect, and subject to some of the same organized religion faults [as any group of two or more people are], but the people were fantastic! It was the one thing i regretted about leaving NY and coming back home to TX. i do hope we find another church w/ similar qualities down here.

 

gotta run-- i'll try to post more later. good luck!

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That said, I do believe that being a part of a local church is not only a huge blessing, but also is biblically mandated.

 

Erica,

 

Thanks for the encouragement, but we might need to "agree to disagree" on this point. From what I have read/studied in the Bible, I have concluded that we are the church. The church is not a building, a denomination or an organization, but the Church is the body of Christ. The mandate in scripture to not forsake the gathering of ourselves together is met by my family on a regular basis. I fellowship with believers when I run into them at the grocery store, when I chat with them on the phone, and when I ride the chair lift with them during our homeschool ski lessons. I do not for a minute believe that not attending a weekly church service violates Scripture. It has become our cultural custom for fellowship, but there are ways to have fellowship that are more organic than a structured weekly service.

 

One article that has been very helpful to me in this regard is this book (you can read it online) called Custom and Command: http://www.nextreformation.com/wp-admin/resources/custom.pdf

 

I'm not trying to be adversarial, but I felt as though I needed to address your concern. :001_smile:

 

Lori

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I think finding a church is very difficult. But I also think it is important for us and our children to worship in community. Have you exhausted your local options? How about a more conservative Anglican church? You might enjoy the liturgy at this point in your life. Just throwing out some thoughts. My prayers are with you as you sort out what is best for your family. We are big on grace around here. :)

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Well, I've mentioned on these boards a few times that my family does not attend a 'church'. Rather, we have home fellowship with other believers.

 

I'd really like to point out a few things:

 

The church is not a building, it is the group of people that are true followers of Christ. In the Bible, the church is never the building where belivers meet, it is the believers themselves, collectively, as a whole. In fact, our family makes a clear distinction when discussing these two very different things. We refer to either a 'church building' or a 'steeplehouse' when refrencing the building, and we use the word 'church' to denote true followers of Christ.

 

In the new testament, Christians met primarily in homes. Which would also indicate that they met primarily in small groups. This is the biblical model, and the one we follow.

 

The new testament is also very clear that believer's meetings are run by a group of elders. Not one man. One may bring a teaching, one a song, one a prophecy, etc. Not 45 minutes to an hour of listening to the same man speak, week after week.

 

Also, elders are men. Not women. Women should not teach in a beliver's meeting, unless it is just a meeting of women. The bible is expicitly clear on this. I know many like to debate this, and that's not my intent. I believe there is no room for debate. I'd ask you to read 1 Corintians 14 and Titus 2 for reference.

 

 

Search the scriptures, and learn about BIBLICAL fellowship of the saints. Forget pretty much everything that modern American 'Christianity' teaches. The book of Acts is very clear, with lots of great instruction on how we are to meet together. Then pray, seek the Lord. If we truly desire fellowship, he will draw us together with other believers.

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Rather than teaching/preaching an edifying message of freedom, there seems to be a never ending stream of expectations coming from the pulpit.

 

You are not alone. We have quit attending church for this reason in particular as well as many other reasons already given. I did not grow up in church yet my faith is strong. I was saved at the age of 21 and haven't looked back, despite some bad experiences I've had in different churches.

 

My dh was raised in church yet grappled with his faith as a young adult. He has come back to a deep and abiding faith despite our sporadic, at best, church attendance.

 

I do not think my children are missing out by not attending church. We love the Lord and we honor Him every day. We talk about Him and we talk to Him every day. He is the center of our home and our relationships with one another and those around us. We study our Bibles together, we pray together, we serve Him together by reaching out within our community and through supporting various charities. Our boys love the Lord, and know more about their Bibles than most children I've run across.

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I think finding a church is very difficult. But I also think it is important for us and our children to worship in community. Have you exhausted your local options? How about a more conservative Anglican church? You might enjoy the liturgy at this point in your life. Just throwing out some thoughts. My prayers are with you as you sort out what is best for your family. We are big on grace around here. :)

 

There are things that I find attractive about the Anglican Church, but right now in Canada it is going through a very rough time due to the issue of same sex unions. I really don't want to begin in a church that is up to it's armpits in church politics. I've thought of some of the other more liturgical churches, but the thought of showing up at a different church every Sunday seems exhausting to me. I'm not really missing going to church, but it's tiring to always explain to people why we don't go. I already homeschool. How counter culture do I need to be?:tongue_smilie:

 

Lori

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Lori,

I think your "we are the church" is spot on and you have found your answer.

 

When the right church comes along, you will know. I think there is enough to fill our guilt-ometer. It sounds like you are already providing enough for you and your children. Keep it up.

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I do agree with some of what you wrote. The NT does address the church as a body of believers, but even back then it was in the context of the local church. There is a universal body called "the church," but there is also the local church clearly described in Scripture as well. There are many, many Bible passages that talk about deacons, church leadership, church discipline, how men and women were to function in the local body, how the Lord's Supper should be taken in a group setting, etc. One would have to take much of the New Testament as merely symbolic if we're to say that our own family, or our casual incidental encounters with other believers, serves the function of a local church as described in the NT.

 

I do agree that much of what culturally has been considered "the norm" for churches is not commanded in Scripture. Meeting on Sundays, the order of service, the style of music, the formality-- much of that is cultural. But when I read the NT, it seems clear to me that the writers were describing a regular, intention meeting of believers (beyond the family), where instruction, worship, church discipline, and service were to take place.

 

 

Erica

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I'm not sure what options are around for everyone else, but if it were up to me, we'd probably attend something like a PCA church or one of the other conservative minded Reformed churches. I don't believe in a couple of "their" beliefs, on the other hand, they tend to be "Christ-centered" family first...around here...homeschooling families. (and they believe education...Christian education both in the home and church...is important:-)

Just a thought....

Carrie:-)

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Dh and I were brought up Catholic, and were in volved in our church. I played the flute in an ensemble there for over ten years. We were married in the Catholic church. After we were married, we grew increasingly disillusioned with the Catholic faith, and did not want our future children (we didn't have any at the time) brought up in that faith. We went to a wonderful UCC church, which we loved and where dd was baptized, but the minister retired a few years ago and an "intentional interim" minister from a very, very conservative denomination was brought in. Intentional indeed, and the entire tenor of the church changed. The membership decided to break from the UCC, and after sitting through an entire sermon during which this man railed on and on and on about how it's our duty to shun homosexuals, and if we don't, we're going to hell. We walked out and never went back.

 

Since then, we looked for a new church. We tried a small, lovely UCC church in a nearby town and dh and I were pretty happy there. Dd never said she wasn't, and went off to Sunday School every week. Then one day we were getting ready for church and dd burst into tears and said, "I don't want to GO! NO ONE is nice to me there! All the kids hate me!" Dd is not prone to emotional outbursts, and gets along with everyone, so we knew to take this seriously. When I thought back on it, she was always alone when we went to pick her up from SS, and hunted Easter eggs alone, and sat alone during the Christmas party, etc. She was right. So we stopped going.

 

We've grown so disillusioned with Christianity and witnessed such horrible, unkind, intolerant behavior on the part of Christians and in the name of "religion" that we're kind of feeling like this COULDN'T be what God meant, and certainly not what Jesus meant for us to be like. I don't like how religion has moved into the driver's seat of recent politics, and is being used as a weapon in political and class warfare.

 

So here we are, Christians who are without a church right now, and honestly, I"m mostly okay with that. We're good people. We do unto others as we'd like to have them do unto us. We help those less fortunate, we are thankful for our blessings and we love each other. To me, that goes a long way.

 

Just my opinion. Please don't throw stones.

Astrid

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We study, worship and pray at home. I got so tired of "church shopping." I was amazed at how many ladies would say in my children's hearing that they were glad I was pregnant and not them, or that they could never homeschool and were glad to send the kids off each day. After one night of community worship we were hailed in the parking lot by a cheerful man offering us the name of a psychiatrist when he counted our then eight children. He said we needed "our heads examined." The ladies of the church thought it was so sweet when a young single father with a drug and alcohol addicted ex-girlfriend paid our daughter attention. They actually encouraged a relationship with this young man just visiting the church during this difficult time in his life, grrr. His immaturity, personal problems and lack of faith were of no concern to them. There is a long story, but best not to stir it up

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We've grown so disillusioned with Christianity and witnessed such horrible, unkind, intolerant behavior on the part of Christians and in the name of "religion" that we're kind of feeling like this COULDN'T be what God meant, and certainly not what Jesus meant for us to be like. I don't like how religion has moved into the driver's seat of recent politics, and is being used as a weapon in political and class warfare.

 

Just my opinion. Please don't throw stones.

Astrid

 

 

no stones.

just adding the other side pointing out the obvious that Christianity isn't the only religion where people have done horrible things in the name of their religion :(

 

In fact, I'm pretty glad that our politics isn't run by religion like it is in many other places.

 

But you don't have to be a Christian to be a 'good person' --that's not what Christianity is about.

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OP, I completely understand what you are experiencing. I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist home. I agree that people are held there by fear. If you do _____ (insert random, arbitrary "sin") you are compromising your relationship with God. And don't even get me started about the end times! I remember growing up as a young child in fear that the world was coming to an end and any moment. Don't be caught in some "sinful" deed when Jesus comes again, which will be _____ (insert random, arbitrary date calculated by random people). I left home disillusioned with the long list of "Thou Shalt Not's" that I essentially stopped going to church. After dh and I married we visited a number of different churches and denominations. We attended this one church off and on for a while, but dh couldn't stand the 30-45mins of "praise" music.

 

We just moved here about 7 months ago. The whole church search started over again, but this time, we've found a home. We have always been drawn to the Lutheran church, mostly because of the liturgy and the fact that the pastors usually don't go off on some tangent and abuse the pulpit. We recently completed our confirmation and were blown away by the wonderful Good News upon which the Lutheran church is built. They actually distinguish between Law and Gospel. Man was that refreshing! I could go on and on, but I won't bore everyone. I'm just happy that after years of wandering we've finally found a home.

 

I do hope you will find what you're looking for. FWIW, I do think people can call themselves Christians and not attend church. Christianity is not about a set of rules we follow. Its about what Christ did on that cross 2,000 years ago.

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There are many, many Bible passages that talk about deacons, church leadership, church discipline, how men and women were to function in the local body, how the Lord's Supper should be taken in a group setting, etc. One would have to take much of the New Testament as merely symbolic if we're to say that our own family, or our casual incidental encounters with other believers, serves the function of a local church as described in the NT.

 

I do agree that much of what culturally has been considered "the norm" for churches is not commanded in Scripture. Meeting on Sundays, the order of service, the style of music, the formality-- much of that is cultural. But when I read the NT, it seems clear to me that the writers were describing a regular, intention meeting of believers (beyond the family), where instruction, worship, church discipline, and service were to take place.

 

It's not that clear to me.

 

I do agree that Paul wrote many things to many churches, but not all of what he wrote is applicable to every person or body of Believers. I do think that he established many helpful tips for WHEN and HOW a congregation did things to promote order, but I don't see any of those as commands for how each body of Believers is to function.

 

So no, I don't see it all as merely symbolic, but applicable as needed to certain situations.

 

I am glad that things are clear for your family's worship tho. That's important.

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no stones.

just adding the other side pointing out the obvious that Christianity isn't the only religion where people have done horrible things in the name of their religion :( .

 

It's the only religion with which I have personal experience, so obviously, it's the only one I can address within the scope of the OP's original question/post.

 

Oh. Wait. I went to a Bar Mitzvah once. It was lots of fun.

 

astrid

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My family didn't start going to church until around the time I started high school. I married a preacher from a preaching family and divorced about 7 years later. My husband is the son of a preacher and played piano full time for several years in the southern gospel arena.

 

From then until now I have become a christian that is so changed from her beliefs that I feel pretty certain I'll never find a church I'd want to attend and be taught from. Honestly, I believe the entire church set-up of nearly any kind is completely detrimental from what God wants for and from us. Churches are just locations that most "christians" can just check their brains at the door and follow their teachers blindly. I know they all disagree with me but from my intimate experience I'd say it's true to an alarmingly high degree.

 

I'm so much happier and satisfied with my relationship with God now. Now that I know him through knowing him rather than through teachers, preachers and books.

 

I'll be thinking about you while you make this decision. It's definitely an important and difficult one for families to make.

 

P.S. At least this time that this conversation has come up I don't have to endure any of the negative rep for being honest about my heart and my life. :) I was also so grateful for the positive rep and encouragement. :) It's amazing to see how varied all of our lives are here.

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It's the only religion with which I have personal experience, so obviously, it's the only one I can address within the scope of the OP's original question/post.

 

I can understand that. I don't have 'personal experience' w/ other religions, so I'm left w/ personal accounts from others and what we read in the news. but plenty of people have died in the name of lots of religions [including Christianity] so I do my best to not judge a religion by its practitioners. That can be difficult when it's in the news so often..... I'm just offering this to help keep the idea in perspective, that's all. :)

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I'm Episcopalian but on a journey to becoming Catholic. My conversion has been relatively recent. For the past few weeks I have been taking a break from all churches in order to do some personal study and prayer. It is difficult to leave my old church and I need a period of time to reset my brain. When the new year begins I (and my kids) will start going to Mass at the Catholic church.

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I'd like to share my story with you.

 

I was raised Catholic but I also had fond memories of the Lutheran kindergarten I attended. I received all of the sacraments in the Catholic Church, but as I got older my attendance became sporadic, and then not at all. When dd was born, dh (who was technically Lutheran) agreed that dd should be baptized in the Catholic Church. We liked the parish where we were living at the time, but then we moved and we stopped going anywhere. Fast forward to when dd was 4. In a moment of socialization panic we enrolled her in a Catholic preschool. Big mistake. The program was dishearteningly slow. Dd cried every time she had to go because she was bored. The women of that particular parish were the most gossipy, back-stabbing women I've ever met anywhere (and that's saying something). We took dd out of the school and never looked back - but we were also left without a Church again.

 

Fast forward again a few years to when dd was 6. She had a favorite author (many years deceased) who had written many books about dogs. By chance, he was from a neighboring town. While reading a book his wife had written, I discovered which Church they had attended (Reformed) and the next time we passed by that Church, I mentioned to dd that it had been the author's Church. She begged, absolutely begged to go to a service there. Since we had no Church, dh and I saw no harm in that and we went.

 

The very first people we met were distant relatives of the author. We walked in the door and felt we were home. Six months later I found out from my dad (who had never discussed religion with me, ever) that his parents had belonged to the Reformed Church. So we really did go full circle, and it's been an amazing blessing in our lives ever since.

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It's not that clear to me.

 

I do agree that Paul wrote many things to many churches, but not all of what he wrote is applicable to every person or body of Believers. I do think that he established many helpful tips for WHEN and HOW a congregation did things to promote order, but I don't see any of those as commands for how each body of Believers is to function.

 

So no, I don't see it all as merely symbolic, but applicable as needed to certain situations.

 

I am glad that things are clear for your family's worship tho. That's important.

 

I have a question, that I'm sincerely asking our of curiousity(not trying to be difficult or win an argument!): what do you do with the fact that Paul and the other apostles, and their direct followers, are the people who set up those churches that are addressed throughout the New Testament? Does that carry any significance to you?

 

I'm asking because to me, if the earliest Christians set up a certain order of gathering together, that does carry weight with me. If we trust these men enough to believe that they wrote down God's very words in the Bible, it seems to me that we need to carefully consider how they set up church structure as well. But I'm wondering how others who do not attend church, and believe they have Scriptural basis for that, view that aspect of the issue.

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I have a question, that I'm sincerely asking our of curiousity(not trying to be difficult or win an argument!): what do you do with the fact that Paul and the other apostles, and their direct followers, are the people who set up those churches that are addressed throughout the New Testament? Does that carry any significance to you?

 

I'm asking because to me, if the earliest Christians set up a certain order of gathering together, that does carry weight with me. If we trust these men enough to believe that they wrote down God's very words in the Bible, it seems to me that we need to carefully consider how they set up church structure as well. But I'm wondering how others who do not attend church, and believe they have Scriptural basis for that, view that aspect of the issue.

 

I'm not Peek, but I thought I'd share some of my thoughts. Since reading one of your earlier posts about appointing elders and deacons, I've been giving a lot of thought to what you said. I'm trying to be open, and not just look for ways to support what I believe. :)

 

One of the thoughts I have about this is that it really depends on why the apostles were giving instructions about structured leadership in church. Were they giving instruction because there was a mandate to organize the Church, OR were they giving instruction because the church was beginning to organize itself (as tends to be the habit of human nature), and there was wisdom in instructing the believers in a good way to do this? The former would suggest that gathering is imperative, but the latter would indicate that they were just giving guidance to something that was already happening.

 

Some of this sort of discussion is addressed in the Custom and Command book I linked earlier in this thread. I'm not sure if you've had a chance to look at it. It's really quite well written, and I think it's thought provoking, but it's long, so I totally understand if you don't have time to read it.

 

Lori

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We are here. DH and I went to church for many years. 3years ago we wre really hurt by several things that happened ina very short period of time within a church we really wanted to attend. It happened about the time dd was born so we went through a time it was just hard to get up and organized with 3kids and a baby to get out the door. DH decided he would not drive 20miles to church to be treated the way we were treated in a certain situation. At first I was hurt and did not understand but then when the full impact hit of what actually happened it crushed me and it was not until about 6 months ago did I decide to even consider to go to church again. We have been visiting some here and there. Ds started attending youth group at a certain church Wednesday night but it is not a church I care to attend.

 

I finally got up enough courage to confide in someone I trusted exactly what happened and how to start recovering. This wonderful christians women, sadly was not at all shocked over the things we had encountered and gave me very wise counsel on forgiveness and what it really means so I could move on and not have ill feelings towards those who wronged us.

 

I am also reading Beth Moore Breaking Free, Out of the Pit and wonderful book by Charles Stanley on forgiveness.

 

We are getting there and know the importance of getting our family into a church. We also understand that being a christian does not mean attending a church regulary and I can be a Christian and have my time with and grow at home.

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We're in a similar place - we haven't gone to church on a regular basis for years. Part of that is the drive, though we make the same drive for other commitments. In the past I missed the singing but no one else in my family feels the same way; in fact, it bothered my dh and boys quite a bit. Lately I have become an emotional sprinkler and find it difficult to sing about this amazing thing Christ has done without gushing all over the place, so I'm actually relieved to avoid that experience. :001_unsure:

 

I sometimes wonder how my kids will meet other christian kids (besides the handful they know now) and future life partners. Both dh and I feel we'd like the kids to get some kind of missions experience as they get older. So while the future is not all mapped out, I expect we will have to get back on board at some point.

 

You and I are definitely not alone, however. While reconnecting with former co-workers on Facebook, I was forwarded this new terminology:

"Free Range Believer" "I think that is great term to describe us believers who are no longer a committed part of Sunday morning institutions. We haven’t left Christ. We’ve not lost our passion for the body, but many of us have found it far easier to grow and help others grow without all the overhead, machinery and rituals of organized religion. To some of us it has been a cage that did not promote healthy spiritual growth, but actually stifled it by all the personal expectations and political necessities of an institution. Now, I know not everyone feels that way and many continue to find great life and growth in such places. If it is helping you know God better and live more deeply in him, good on you! But it is also fabulous that others are finding more opportunities for growth in the freedom from some of the restrictive realities of many of those institutions."

 

Sound familiar? I googled it and found a couple neat blogs. Here's one:

http://lifestream.org/LSBL.May01.html

 

So maybe like homeschooling, we won't be counter-cultural for very long?

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You and I are definitely not alone, however. While reconnecting with former co-workers on Facebook, I was forwarded this new terminology:

"Free Range Believer" "I think that is great term to describe us believers who are no longer a committed part of Sunday morning institutions. We haven’t left Christ. We’ve not lost our passion for the body, but many of us have found it far easier to grow and help others grow without all the overhead, machinery and rituals of organized religion. To some of us it has been a cage that did not promote healthy spiritual growth, but actually stifled it by all the personal expectations and political necessities of an institution. Now, I know not everyone feels that way and many continue to find great life and growth in such places. If it is helping you know God better and live more deeply in him, good on you! But it is also fabulous that others are finding more opportunities for growth in the freedom from some of the restrictive realities of many of those institutions."

 

Sound familiar? I googled it and found a couple neat blogs. Here's one:

http://lifestream.org/LSBL.May01.html

 

So maybe like homeschooling, we won't be counter-cultural for very long?

 

What a great quote. And a great blog, too! Thanks for the encouragement, Kathy.

 

I'm in Kelowna. Where in BC are you? Maybe we can fellowship together.:D

 

Lori

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We're in a similar place - we haven't gone to church on a regular basis for years. Part of that is the drive, though we make the same drive for other commitments. In the past I missed the singing but no one else in my family feels the same way; in fact, it bothered my dh and boys quite a bit. Lately I have become an emotional sprinkler and find it difficult to sing about this amazing thing Christ has done without gushing all over the place, so I'm actually relieved to avoid that experience. :001_unsure:

 

I sometimes wonder how my kids will meet other christian kids (besides the handful they know now) and future life partners. Both dh and I feel we'd like the kids to get some kind of missions experience as they get older. So while the future is not all mapped out, I expect we will have to get back on board at some point.

 

You and I are definitely not alone, however. While reconnecting with former co-workers on Facebook, I was forwarded this new terminology:

"Free Range Believer" "I think that is great term to describe us believers who are no longer a committed part of Sunday morning institutions. We haven’t left Christ. We’ve not lost our passion for the body, but many of us have found it far easier to grow and help others grow without all the overhead, machinery and rituals of organized religion. To some of us it has been a cage that did not promote healthy spiritual growth, but actually stifled it by all the personal expectations and political necessities of an institution. Now, I know not everyone feels that way and many continue to find great life and growth in such places. If it is helping you know God better and live more deeply in him, good on you! But it is also fabulous that others are finding more opportunities for growth in the freedom from some of the restrictive realities of many of those institutions."

 

Sound familiar? I googled it and found a couple neat blogs. Here's one:

http://lifestream.org/LSBL.May01.html

 

So maybe like homeschooling, we won't be counter-cultural for very long?

 

Free Range Believer, I like that term. :D I'm off to check out the blog, thanks for posting.

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We're north of Kamloops, so it might be a bit of a drive! ;) But perhaps I'll see you at the Homeschooling Convention in May. :)

 

I will definitely be there! I'll probably be working.:) I was the coordinator the first year (when SWB was there), and the exhibit hall coordinator the second year. I took last year off and just enjoyed the speakers, but I think I'll help out again for 2009. Make sure you track me down!

 

Lori

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I'm a Christian, and I haven't been to church in a year. I wouldn't mind going, if I could find a healthy church that I could feel safe and comfortable in, but so far that hasn't happened.

 

I sometimes wonder if we're doing our children harm by keeping them away from church, but every time we go, I see that more harm gets done by the things that are being taught. I miss the dynamic of regular fellowship, but I can't tolerate the dynamic of one person teaching many, with no opportunity to respond or discuss. And so often, the person in the pulpit lacks the perspective that is developed by a good education.

 

Well, that got long. I guess I'm feeling a bit weird about not having a church to go to at Christmas time. Am I the only one in this boat? Are there others out there?

 

Lori

 

Well, we have some similarities here except it is not me who has gotten disillusioned with organized religion (even though I can see easily how this happens) it is my dh who is a Christian but only goes occasionally. Our son is very deeply entrenched in his Youth Group and we support it wholeheartedly. I would like to go more often but dh explained to me that, after years of being part of ministry teams, worship teams etc., he had his fill. We are also living a long way from the church and cannot take advantage of all their programs / services.

 

Dh also says that men's groups are doing the usual Bible studies but never break out of that mold. I see him as being disillusioned with the people and not with being Christian - if that makes sense.

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There are real sincere, loving, balanced churches out there, but they are not always easy to find. For years we drove 30 min. to church and felt lucky that it wasn't further.

 

I know there are some great churches out there, but it's just so difficult to figure out how to find such a place without investing time, energy and emotions. We live in a bit of a Bible Belt, and I think this makes it almost worse. I have done some praying, pondering, interviewing, asking around, etc. Every time I take a step toward a specific church, a door slams in my face. I will either find out something shocking about the church, or have one of the leaders say something that leaves me with my mouth hanging open. I'm not looking for perfection, but these incidents make me wonder if perhaps God has a reason for keeping us out of organized religion for a season, and maybe I just need to wait until He reveals something specific.

 

I'm just rambling now. I know that God is in control.:hurray:

 

Lori

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We've taken breaks from our church/organized religion. My ds has a good friend right now whose family is Christian but does not go to church. Not a big deal. We continued to do our daily Bible study and have weekly devotions as a family. Our kids learn a lot about our beliefs at home and know that in some ways dh and I have some different views but stand together on eternity issues. My older kids do learn a lot at our church now and we mainly attend this church because it meets our children's needs.

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I don't go to church except for major holidays and special events. My dh and kids go every week to a Catholic church as that's how dh was brought up. I was raised in a conservative, Protestant church and just can't change my ways or beliefs. I did go to church with him for 13 years, regularly to start with but with less frequency over time. When my ds8 could take Communion and I couldn't, I said that was enough of it for me. We weren't worshipping together. I was left out of so much merely because I wasn't Catholic. I decided to go find my own church and did find one that I really liked. It was on the other side of town and I had to go by myself every week, but I did it for a year. Then I just quit. I really wanted to worship as a family and the only way that would happen is if I went to the Catholic church. I'm okay not going to church but I make sure that my kids know that I am a Christian and believe in God. When I was a kid, my mom took all 5 of us kids to church every week while my dad didn't go. I grew up thinking that my dad didn't believe and it really made me sad. I now realize through conversations with him that he has far more faith than most church going Christians that I know.

 

I am glad that my kids are going to church. The have some good social events and have been doing community service through the church. I'm fine in my personal relationship with God.

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We have always been faithful church-goers. I have gone to church regularly since I became a Christian 28 yrs. ago. Then last year, my dh stopped going to church as he was disturbed by a few things that were going on. I kept on going as it was important to me that my children go to church.

 

Then this past June our Pastor moved away. A few things happened afterwards that disillusioned me about this church and its leadership. I haven't been to church since July. I have no desire to go back. I feel so bad about this because I feel that it is important that my children attend church. I just can't bring myself to go to a church in which unbiblical decisions are being made.

 

Right now, I don't even want to go any other church. My faith is stronger than it has ever been so this isn't an issue of doubting God. It is more an issue of doubting organized religion.

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I was raised a pseudo-Catholic (baptised and 1st communion, but very little of anything there after). For my teen years and all my adult life I did not attend church except on a rare Christmas or Easter. A couple of years ago I felt a void in my life and slowly came to the realization that religion (or lack there of) was perhaps the source. I also began to worry that not exposing my girls to religion/church was not giving them the choice to accept or reject it.

 

When we moved, dh and I decided to start looking for a church to attend (Lutheran - dh's upbringing or Catholic). I was apprehensive about trying a Catholic church because of all the negatives we hear about it and because of my mother's experience when my dad left. Our first church stop ended up being where we stayed. We never looked at another. The Catholic church here is a great fit for us. I have started the process to be welcomed back to the Church (I have a divorce and a second marriage out of the church). The Catholic Church has changed a lot from what I experienced in the 70's. Dh, who is a Lutheran preacher's kid, is very startled by how different the Catholic faith is from what his perception was.

 

All that is a very long way of saying, if you have not tried a Catholic church lately, you might want to give it a try. It might be different from what you remember. Just a thought.

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Well I live in the Bible Belt (Central Alabama) I promise you there is a church on every corner. The problem with that is most churches are full of people going out of tradition. There are Church's around here filled with maybe 2 families (think way extended but all kin).

 

There are all the churches that were started because they split from another because of hurt feeling, women wearing dresses, make up etc. Then there are the churches ran by one man (playing god)

There are so many churches with so many made up doctrine around this place. These are the ones with Sunday Morning full and the pews empty at the other services.

 

I attended a non denominational church and was totally verbally attached during a ladies bible meeting. The lady got in my face and starting screaming. Then another lady called me up and accused me of calling others and spreading rumors. The whole thing was ridiculous. I walk out that was 2 years ago. It took me almost a year to heal enough to start visiting churches again.

 

I really miss church. I miss the fellowship and friendships. My children and I have basically been alone. We did fine a homeschooling coop about 6 months ago.

 

I am really praying that we can fine a church family.

 

I am very picky and cautious now. I really want a church that preaches and teaches bible not religion. Oh and my dream church would have some other home school families.

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I attended a non denominational church and was totally verbally attached during a ladies bible meeting. The lady got in my face and starting screaming. Then another lady called me up and accused me of calling others and spreading rumors. The whole thing was ridiculous. I walk out that was 2 years ago. It took me almost a year to heal enough to start visiting churches again.

 

I really miss church. I miss the fellowship and friendships. My children and I have basically been alone. We did fine a homeschooling coop about 6 months ago.

 

I am really praying that we can fine a church family.

 

I am very picky and cautious now. I really want a church that preaches and teaches bible not religion. Oh and my dream church would have some other home school families.

 

:grouphug:

I am so sorry that this happened to you. I hope and pray that you will be able to find a safe place for your family.

 

Lori

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I'm weary of organized religion. After all the history I've read, the people I've seen damaged or confused (or both) and the actual experiences I've had going to church, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

 

I'm raised Catholic and sometimes goes to church. I'm going to try and go for Christmas, but I haven't made it there in a few years now. I believe in God, pray every night, and dh and dc do the same, but none of us enjoy going to church. For the sake of the kids we try to make it into a habit.

 

I've always found it boring and contrived. Dh believes in living your beliefs and being a good person rather than just hear about it.

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I have a question, that I'm sincerely asking our of curiousity(not trying to be difficult or win an argument!): what do you do with the fact that Paul and the other apostles, and their direct followers, are the people who set up those churches that are addressed throughout the New Testament? Does that carry any significance to you?

 

I'm asking because to me, if the earliest Christians set up a certain order of gathering together, that does carry weight with me. If we trust these men enough to believe that they wrote down God's very words in the Bible, it seems to me that we need to carefully consider how they set up church structure as well. But I'm wondering how others who do not attend church, and believe they have Scriptural basis for that, view that aspect of the issue.

 

i think i can ditto what she answered :)

 

I do agree that when I'm attending a 'regular' church, I absolutely look to see if they are following the advice Paul gave; and if not, why not.

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