I’m an outsider.

man-outside-churchI have a confession to make.

I do not attend any organized form of worship service on a regular or even  a very irregular basis.

Willoh’s recent post on negativity and Jeofurry’s sermon on Romans 14 have taken some of the fire out of my one man protest against the modern church.

I of course go to funerals and weddings and have occasionally gone to a local megachurch to hear my nephew sing.

My inclination is to blame this all on the churches and the people who run them. You can see from the last post of imonk that I put up links to here and in other postings of his and the comments that there is plenty of wrong to go around.

The real problem is me.

I wrote to a famous blogger asking what are we to do as far as finding a church in response to a provocative blog about the ills of evangelical churches. His response was that if I couldn’t find some kind of group to worship with amongst all of the myriad possibilities out there than there is something wrong with me.

He is right.

I do have many issues with churches. It is the reason I started this blog. I’m not talking about the groups that deny the deity of Christ or His Supremacy. They are not my concern in general except as fellow humans who may need to be presented with the gospel.

No my issues are with the evangelicals. One thing is I have been surprised by how many groups take on that appellation.

I once, in  my distant youth, even wanted to be a bible teacher or pastor. I did  succeed for a while in leading a large group in bible study (40-60 a week) but I betrayed the trust of that group and eventually even blamed that on others.

I am by nature a weird combination of both a cynical skeptic and a hopeful dreamer. Not a great combination if you are looking for something inspiring in others. Looking for some evidence of the Divine in the people around me that claim brotherhood with the Risen Christ.

As noted above, I am chief among those who have disappointed others. Deeply disappointed. Ruined families. Deeply damaged my own family. Hurt and confused younger brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yet with all of this I presume to set myself up as an arbiter of what is right and wrong with the church both local and universal.

Talk about a hypocrite.

I know none of us is worthy and I may be slightly more honest than others may be willing or able to be at this time but that does not excuse my behaviour.

I’m not sure I have the guts to push the button and actually post this. We will see later.

So I guess you could say that guilt is a big part of why I don’t go to church.

There are other better reasons that would certainly be more palatable to others but they don’t seem to matter very much right now.

I know where I need to be and who I need to be with. I just don’t have the stomach for the worshiptainment and circus nonsense that goes on at most of the groups I would consider aligning with theologically.

I have even flirted with Catholicism but there are just a few points that I can’t seem to get past. (There’s some of my line in there Mr. Bell).

I don’t need or desire anyone’s sympathy or even deserve it. If you want to pray for me then pray. Don’t tell me about it. God will know.

I suppose for the time being I will suspend my series on why tithing isn’t new testament biblical or there is no model for a professional clergy. That we don’t need these giant stadiums complete with coffee shops and indoor gymnasiums. I could go on.

All of these things I feel strongly about but do not believe I am qualified to comment.

A dear friend of mine once told me that he thought I had the gift of prophecy, the telling it like it is variety not the world is coming to an end type, and that Satan had sabotaged my life to make me ineffective.

That is flattering but I am sure it makes me out to be be way more important than I am.

So, there you go. It’s me.

What’s next?

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13 Comments on “I’m an outsider.”

  1. jeofurry says:

    Rob,
    I appreciate your honesty and feel that anything I say would probably be inadequate, but I felt as if I should say something. I can sympathize with how you feel. I can see plenty wrong within the church and the Church if you will. I came to realize that God is not bothered or hung up on our failures as much as we sometimes think He is. I am reminded of the old saying about the man who found the perfect church and then he joined it and it wasn’t perfect anymore. God has made provision for our failures and our shortcomings in His Son. When we make our shortcomings and failures too big for God to overcome, we are attempting to diminish His power and His authority and His love. God knows we are going to mess things up and get things wrong and generally make a mess of life. But God isn’t asking for us to be perfect in our doctrines or flawless in our thinking or inerrant in our theology. He is asking us to trust Him to be who He says He is and to do what He said He will do.
    I have a friend whose theology is so particular that he couldn’t find a church he felt at home in for years. Then he stumbled across a congregation and a pastor that was “good enough.” He still didn’t agree with everything and this past Christmas almost made him pull out his hair, since he feels it is more Scriptural to celebrate Hanukkah instead. But he sang in the choir for Christmas and his children participated in the program and all the while he did his best to take a “Romans 14” attitude. Is he the weak or the strong? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. He loved them enough to take part and they loved him enough to accept him.
    I don’t know if any of this helps you, but I pray that God would continue to be with you and help you along the path as He is apt to do with all of us.

  2. Justin says:

    Good morning, Rob, from a fellow outsider, and hypocrite. I really have nothing more to say than you are not alone. I have had to learn the painful lesson that being right isn’t always right. So, we continue our search for a better way.

  3. Rob says:

    Thank you Will, Jeff and Justin.

  4. Rob says:

    Actually, I don’t think God is hung up on my failures. I am.

  5. willohroots says:

    Stop over and opine on “why church is so hard”. It is.

  6. willohroots says:

    You should have some rights in any church. the right to tithe or not. the right to disagree. The right to be wrong. I can relate to Jeofurry’s buddy, I do not think Hanuka is biblical at all, but then again i have issues with Christmas, and I really think Satan claws is a trick of the devil. but I suck it up. People like Christmas, the one most unlikely day of the year for the birth of the Savior, I just don’t have the right to ruin every bodies good time because i am a fundy Grinch. I love carols and hot chocolate.

    i say this because community is compromise. God did not make us with a cookie cutter.

  7. jeofurry says:

    Will,
    I actually apologized to my buddy who celebrates Hannukah a year or so ago after reading John 10. I had never noticed that Jesus had anything to do with Hannukah before, despite reading John dozens of times,( John 10:22ff.) He actually went to Jerusalem and was worshiping in the Temple for Hannukah. Blew my mind.

  8. amy says:

    May God bless you through your honesty and humilty and may His face shine upon you.

    I sympathize with your position, in fact, you’ve outlined some of the reasons why I converted to Orthodoxy after being raised an American Baptist. I longed for true worship, not even realizing what that meant at the time. Thanks be to God, the Light of the world, I have discovered the ancient faith and have come to know the true nature of sacredness, Christ-centered worship and healing through the Divine Liturgy.

    My question of “Why do we worship?” has finally been realized and I pray the same for you, that you will find peace within the Body of Christ.

  9. John says:

    Rob, many of the elements of your post sound erily familar…maybe too familar for comfort. You are definately not alone.

    I don’t know you, and text is a horrible way to communicate, but I want to say something that is going to sound harder than it is intended. Please forgive me…I mean no disrespect, and this may be for some other reader and not you ultimately.

    But, I think you are right…the problem is you, but not for the reasons you give. Life is not about where we are; it’s about where we are going. You sound like you have stopped off to enjoy a little pity party. We’re all screwed up hypocrites, especially we who teach. We who claim to be teachers get it wrong from time to time (many times not even knowing it) and we certainly violate our very own teaching. THIS is not failure…this is reality, as shameful as it is. No, failure would be refusing to accept the Son as the Pharisees did. Failure would also be stopping off for an extended pity party and not pressing forward in the calling God has for you.

    You know this…I know you know that humilty has nothing to do with feeling bad about yourself or the church or whatever…it has to do with forgetting yourself altogether and pressing on in love for others anyway. I don’t know you, but I love you as my brother. Now, pick up your mat and walk…keep teaching, keep engaging people, keep praying, keep wrestling with God himself, keep believing you have it right to the best of your knowledge, keep seeking truth, keep surrending to the teaching of others, keep studying, keep blogging, just keep doing what you do and don’t worry so much about all this noise around us trying to knock us off our game.

    If all of those called of God to send corrections to the church stopped because they were not worthy, we would have had no church to begin with…no reformation…no Bible. And, while this is a lonely path in today’s era, thank God we don’t have to walk alone.

  10. Rob says:

    Not a problem. I’m always open to constructive criticism.
    Thank you for your comments and visiting.
    I found your site interesting.

  11. Br.Pouliot says:

    Greeting…

    Rob…it was very interesting what had I read your statement from the very top above about you, your life and experience you have suffer. I end up found this site because I was hunting for any one whom would be the outsider/wilderness of the worldly way. When I read your statement, I sense that you are the outsider who want to live by the heavenly way of life. Which I believe explain why you were suffering on this planet earth in your past experience that had been always the worldly way since the devil trick Eve and Adam. I too experience similar like how you felt differently from other, having different kind of church issues and notice how many so called churches not really evangelical but seem hypocrite about it.

    I believe God is showing and guiding you the true way of life. To have you aware the true way then the false way like how many people follow their own desire which is control by the evil spirit. You see it and felt this from the good spirit from God in heaven.

    Rob… I am also different from my family because what I believe and what I do. I am also a little more different in my family because I was born deaf with some hearing and am able to speak as well. I made a huge mistaken in my past life before 2006, which then change my life when I read the whole bible like never before and discover the stocking truth behind the mixture true and false doctrine that been going on for years.

    So Rob… I would like some how to have a chance to meet you to talk to you. Since I was looking for the outsider/wilderness the true brother of Christ.

    Philip Pouliot

  12. Rob says:

    Philip,
    I’m sorry it took so long to see your comment and respond.
    I have been in the hospital and actually trying to avoid the Internet for a while.
    thank you for your comments.
    Michael Spencer wrote a book before he died called “Mere Churchianity” it is available on Amazon.
    http://www.amazon.com/Mere-Churchianity-Finding-Jesus-Shaped-Spirituality/dp/0307459179/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280558524&sr=8-1

  13. Br.Pouliot says:

    Rob

    What ever reason you end up in the hospital or trying to avoid the internet stuff nor having a reason not responding earlier have a good reason to be done by under God WILL.

    I can see your message from the time you first posted on here until today. It seem that you still having trouble in your life that you may do not understanding how to live in a real life. I am not sure what kind of wilderness you have become. Even we should still find the identify God only church and attend to honor Jesus Christ our Lord thy God who brought everything before us.

    Repent from sin is the only way to get out of trouble by how we all should be able to see clearly why our failing end up to sin.

    Do not live by the worldly way but the heavenly way (1 John 2:15-16). By how we must follow Jesus Christ foot step (example).


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