Being Churched.

Makes me think of the phrase “getting schooled.”
But that’s so incredibly unrelated.
It’s super late when I’m writing this. So you know, I’m delirious.
And I’m high. I’m high on excitement thinking about a passionate idea I have to possibly love a friend well. An idea that gets a community involved to pour love into the life of some folks I adore, and more importantly folks that He calls His masterpieces. Whew, Jesus is so good.

So, being “churched.”
It’s a phrase I’ve often heard within the church, and as with many things, it’s a phrase that’s used to separate & divide. It’s used to say whether someone has been “churched” or to call someone “unchurched.” It sets a line – them and us, or us and them, depending on which side of the conversation you’re privy {or un-privy} to.

This week, I met a Mom {for the second time} while at the park nearest my house. She was joining our moms group for a walk around the Lake & I was thrilled to have her company as I panted my way around the lake, sweating and wondering why they can’t call them practice contractions instead of Braxton Hicks contractions. Anyway…. This mom & I are talking when she says, “Praise the Lord!” in response to something noteworthy I must’ve said and can’t currently remember…

I’m going to pause to go into a side note here, and will resume the story shortly:
Anytime someone says something that even hints that they know the Jesus that I know, something inside me leaps {and not just the baby in my belly, either}. I get this excited anxious yearning to know if they really know who I know, or if they know someone by the same name who’s vaguely familiar to me, too. I search for ways in my heart and mind to ask the right questions that will draw them out in a way that lets me see what lives inside them… is it Truth or are they bogged down by the lies they’ve been sold?

So she says “Praise the Lord!”
And my inner monologue starts going, wondering who she is and where she met Jesus and if she knows the Jesus I know, and what she’s been set free from. It’s like I’ve discovered that she might be from my hometown, and I want to know if she knows all my favourite places – if she knows the people who I love the most.
So I quickly respond, trying to get a word out over the excitement that’s going in my mind,
“Oh! Do you go to church here in Lakeland?”

She explains that she used to, a few years ago, go to a megachurch I’ve heard quite a few things about… and that she doesn’t go anymore – but she sends her tithe every month.
I realized that I probably made her feel shame.
Because rather than asking her the questions that matter – the questions that draw out who she is and if and how she knows who I know, knows the love that I do, I asked her a question that put her identity in Christ somewhere else.

I wanted to tell her how I don’t actually think that church on Sunday is how the church was meant to live and breathe and grow. I wanted to tell her that I understand! That it’s amazing that she still gives to a ‘church’ that gives no life to her! I wanted to tell her so many things, but I was just. in. shock.
I was in shock that I looked for a way to identify her by something so trivial.

Because, really, since when does going to church on Sunday have anything to do with whether or not you know and love Jesus? Since when is that a measure for your spiritual growth?

I won’t wander into ramblings about all the reasons I think churches are living out what we were intended to be as community when they do it opposite to how our culture does.
I’ll just say that I think it’s a sad thing that the primary measure of someone’s walk with Christ in our culture is whether they go to a church building on a Sunday… where they sit when they’re there, how many other events they attend by that church throughout the week, or any of those superficial, self important, business minded things.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve watched throughout my life who sit in churches on Sunday mornings and don’t know the first thing about what it means to live a redeemed life. People who don’t know the first thing about what it is to love your enemy. People who proclaim Jesus while they fill their coffers with all they can and hate the people around them. People who have no hope, people who by all the measurements I’ve been taught to use by this system would pass with flying colors. But people who I see no evidence of the Truth of the Gospel in their lives.

Similarly, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who haven’t stepped foot into a church in years that have spoken His Truth to my soul in ways I never imagined I’d understand. People I watched the previous folks shy away from. People who showed me what it is to live and breathe in the freedom of His Redemption.

Being “Churched” has

Being redeemed & living a life changed by Truth that inevitably sets you free and causes you to live in a place of generosity, hope, courage, and love is what it’s all about.

I pray that the next time I’m compelled to ask a question in hopes of getting to know someone’s journey with Jesus, I’ll ask a simpler and more loving question that gives them space to speak in freedom and grace.

1 thought on “Being Churched.”

  1. I definitely get how you shocked yourself by asking that question… but I can also see why it is the question we normally open with. The church one chooses to attend, or not attend as the case may be, can speak volumes about what we believe about Jesus.

    So, in this way, it is an easy way to start to let the person build their story of faith. It’s a pretty safe place to start too because it means you don’t have to tip your hat to how “crazy” and “radical” you are compared to the loads of people who just go to church on Sunday because it is something to do.

    Am I saying this should always be the question you lead with? Not at all… but I think I am saying that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for asking it.


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