Monday, June 24, 2013

Q & A.... Why don't you go to church anymore??

This is a question that comes up a lot... 

Amy, what's the story? Why don't you go to church?

So I thought.. what a great topic to write about!

Why don't I go to church?

Well for one, I don't say the word, "never" anymore..as I have learned life changes and so does my mind. lol! I actually am not going to church now, but might go back one day.
I really don't know tho.

I am going to answer this question as open hearted and raw as I can because I know many people are concerned or are just wondering... and I appreciate that. I know you love me, and want the best for me... and for that I am so honored. Thankyou for your love and your understanding in this season of my life. I only hope you find the same love and understanding from my heart to yours. This is a very vulnerable post, as I have had critical and some very hurtful words thrown at me in this process. So here goes. (gulp)

To answer the question, being raised in church and in my family of origin, it came to my attention in my healing process that I have never believed what I believe because I chose to.
I was never allowed the glorious freedom of asking the question, "Why?" about anything.

In my family, you couldn't question any of the rules in the house, my father, religion, not anything.
And being a child that wanted to be loved and deeply needed connection, I never questioned.
It was never a good outcome when any of my siblings questioned, so I just didn't.
I swallowed everything that was taught to me, and just put it on myself and believed it.
To question why about anything was so deeply buried inside of me that it never even came into my external radar to want to or desire to ask that question.

I was told who I was, what my calling and purpose in life was, who God was and wasn't, what was right and what was wrong...everything was told to me. There was no discovery of these things.

Until one day, in the midst of an intense time of counseling and healing, I had a revelation that I had never owned my life and my beliefs. I had always done what I was told, but never knew who I was or what my purpose out of self discovery with God. I had worked out a lot of my story in counseling and in the healing process walked into a lot of freedom inside, and there it was...for the first time in my life, underneath all the wounds and all the layers of roles and obligations...the questions.

~ Who am I?
~ What do I believe?
~ Who is God?
~ Why?

There they all were... and you know what, fear was present, but God was bigger then the fear.
He held out His hand, and said, " Let's go. I want you to find out who you are, what you believe, who I Am, and all the why questions. Don't be afraid. I have you."
And away I went.
I have researched and studied...read and prayed. Hashed and cried. Gone from one side of the pend-ilium to the other...from one extreme to another.
It was as if God took off everything that had been put on me by people.. people who loved me and where doing the very best they knew how to do... but He took everything off and said.. " Try things on. See how they fit? Is it peaceful? Is it agitating? See what fits you, love. Don't be afraid. I am with you."
And so I have.
And I have lost my fear.
I have lost my shame.
And I am finding out who I am, and discovering what I believe, and why.

One of the things I chose to stop doing was to go to church. I was fine in it for awhile, but then I noticed that going to church was like wearing a coat that somebody else had put on me. It was something that had to go, until I wanted and desired to go on my own choosing.
I learned that church is another name for community.
That whether I go to church or not, it in no way hinders my connection to God. He loves me whether I go or not.
I have learned that I had been taught things about going to church that do not line up with scripture... and I was taught that they did.
I have learned that church/community is a gift FOR me, not a requirement to God in connection with Him being please with me or not. 
I have learned that whatever brings life to my heart, is the community I need to connect to. 
But to be honest, I haven't missed going to church for a very long time... I felt so fat and full of truths that I had never lived and given away. It has felt so good to just abide in all that I know to be true and give it away to the world. 
I am just now coming to a place where I think I could go again, but it would have to be a very special community.
But you see, I have discovered that on my own. It was a decision that God wanted me to make on my own, not because anybody told me to...but of my own choice.

God has restored something to me that is very hard to explain to people because it doesn't fit inside their theology and doctrine...especially those who are locked into a doctrine that says everything that God does has to line up with something that happened in scripture.
I don't believe that anymore.

God can do whatever He wants. He can lead a million people through a raging sea, and He can talk to a man through the lips of a donkey. He can lead a man and his wife out of a community that they knew, promise them a son in their aged years and lead him into the wild so that the man could know Yahweh, the one true God.

NONE of that was ever written in scripture before it happened. All of those people had no writings to compare their experience to. They just experienced God in their every day life. And it all happened and it was God...we forget that part, don't we? 

Just as He has lead me out of a community that I knew, into the wild with Him. I have come to know God as Yahweh, my Creator, my Healer, and my Love. I know His voice, and I am in partnership with Him as He walks me. It hasn't been an easy road at all. But it's been forever life changing.
He has healed me. He has given me back my voice. My choice. And I can say I believe what I believe because it's what I have found to be true through experiencing God and my own hashing in life.

He whispers to me a lot in my life.. "Does it fit you, love? How does it feel in your heart/spirit?  Does this activity, place, person, behavior bring you life? Does it serve you?"

See.. that is the kind of Papa, Creator, and God that is leading me. One that brings life and life to the fullest. One that cares for the whole of my being.. spirit, mind and body.
One that is unconventional and completely wild and unpredictable in how He leads each individual.

One that has given me the greatest gift of love... my voice, self discovery and choice.

I hope that answers that question for you.

Walking all of this out, I have learned to stop judging other's journeys with God.. they don't have to match mine or anybody else's for that matter. 

And I am perfectly peaceful if you don't agree with all of this. It's ok. It really is. I have come to the great realization that I can't make everybody ok with my life and how this journey looks with God.
I know God has me, and I know what I have experienced with Him in my journey. It's ok. You don't have to agree, I just wanted to answer the question for you.

God has me and God has you... and we can all trust that.

Please feel free to message me if you have any questions.. I am a open book. I welcome the conversation.

Thankyou for your love and for your friendship. xo

Much love...

Amy

4 comments:

  1. I am like you- I believe church is a concept. A system of like minded individuals meeting together to justify and encourage stances and life choices. Ideally it is about Love. The love of God and the like minded ways humanity can bond together, celebrate this love and encourage and challenge. This can happen anywhere. I now experience church every time I have a conversation with someone about life that encourages or inspires or challenges. God goes without saying. In every breath the loving Divine IS. I don't need to worry about if I am saying "God", "Jesus" or any other Holy title a few times to justify that it is about God. In fact, in every facet of life, I believe in a holy presence...but I don't feel it is necessary to plaster platitudes, prayers or God talk (christianize in my case) everywhere. It took me a long time to get out of that vocabulary and it tends to shock me now when I hear it ( which is still quite often.) I also believe prayer is a breath. It goes without saying. It should be sacred and personal.
    Church was not mentioned by Jesus EVER. Neither was the word christian. People use bible verses to back up the concept of church( as a building) but really it is not a very old concept. We are shaped as people by our histories. Church was first simply a gathering of people to take care of beliefs, inspiration and encouragement. in depth study of church history and you will see that all of our current concepts today are man made.

    I still think church CAN be a good place to find community. There are other, just as good, places too though. I feel it is a place that still can provide healing...but so can other unexpected places. So many people are holding up the mantra that the youth of today should not abandon the church even if it has it's issues. When it is time for change, it is time for change. Why not abandon church as a building? If it is filling many needs without taking too much- more power to ya.. In the not so healthy cases, there is even less of a tie. Let's face it - most churches are severally un- healthy in regards to gender roles, preaching time (no one man should preach time after time), "christian" music only as a form of art, giving, "ministry"

    My hubby and I believe we engage in church as a concept. More so than we used to when we went to "church." We give more, we receive more...although not any help from most christians anymore. Most tend to take care of their own flock and members who follow their own rules...but that is ok. It's not in every case but we personally found the help go down to almost 100 percent once we left the church. But we found so much more. We are learning to rely fully on our faith, capabilities, and important relationships put in our life.

    Leaving the church was tough at first for the above article reasons. But we will not ever go back now. We made that mistake several times through out the years. Sometimes it was fabulous. We were filled. And we also gave. But it simply is not the same as what we experience now....wild faith and free abandon, easier love, in depth acceptance and compassion from past experiences...
    YET, some can not live without the structure and rules. Weigh your inner faith and inner needs. Church may still be the place for you...just remember institutions that are quite big really are not great indicators of a healthy situation...yet health can be fostered in bad situations. It's complicated. But dependence on a tradition says nothing about faith...only religion. I believe everyday is a miracle and each moment is a gift. We do not need to spend hours in a church to actively live out faith or LOVE. Faith is believing in something without having many answers. It's about freedom and activating love. It's about challenging evil and cherishing the sacredness of life. It's about forgiveness and fortitude, rebellion and change, peace and understanding. Faith is not contained by any building or tradition.

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  2. P.S. SOrry that was long. I just pasted an old blog post I wrote on the matter:) I thought it was pretty much the same as yours:) I love what you said at the end. God has me and God has you. How beautiful! And I love that you say people do not have to agree. That is how I feel too. Each to their own path!:) Love it:)

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  3. I see you haven'e posted for such a long time. I am wondering where you are now, what life is like for you and I am especially interested in how you see God is helping you. I say that because of what you have written and I know God helps me, He helps me more then I can say, well because He is bigger then I can say.
    I am going to keep checking on your blog. Maybe you'll respond to my comment. I hope so.
    God bless you and may He give you strength to do whatever He needs you to do and may He comfort you. That is something we all need at times.........
    Cathy

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    1. Goodmorning Cathy,

      What a gift to wake up to your thoughtful comment. I haven't posted here in a bit, you are so right on about that. I have another blog that I have been hashing out life and God at. I have left this one up for those who are needing the encouragement. If you would like the address to my other heart space, it is http://breathing-being-remembering.blogspot.com/ . It's very raw and it's where I bring my heart these days. Just a warning tho, it's not a very light and airy space.. lol! Hope to "see" you or hear your words there. I would love to know how you are doing.. :)

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