May. 29, 2016

The Church Kid

Being a church kid was fun. Life seemed so simple. If the Bible said it, you did it. No philosophy. No argument. No opinion. Sometimes I miss those days.

I was the perfect church kid. I memorized all my verses. I moved up to memorizing and reciting entire chapters of the bible. I “got dunked” when I was baptized. I surrendered to a call; whatever that means. I surrendered to a call only to find out I didn’t have the correct genitalia to fulfill it. No arguments. After all, that’s what the bible says.

I performed in all the church programs. When I was old enough, I taught children. That’s what girls do. I never questioned it. After all, that is what the bible says. The girls teach the kids or each other and the boys get to stand in the pulpit teaching everybody else.

Somewhere around age nineteen, I found my outlet in God’s calling working the streets. Don’t pass out. I wasn’t a prostitute. I mean I spiritually worked the streets. I was a door knocker. I knocked on strangers doors and asked them to come to Jesus. After all, that’s what the bible says. Be a door knocker. Wait. I think it says Jesus stands at the door and knocks, doesn’t it?

I worked with battered women. It was a spiritual tension for me. I had three sons at home but worked in a world where men were mean and cruel and dangerous. What did the bible say about that? One opinion was to stay with the man and pray him to salvation waiting to see your entire household turn around. Wait. Doesn’t the bible say that Jesus saves? Is a woman showing a lack of faith if she chooses not to wait at home for God to move? Does God require or expect a woman to be hit until her husband comes around? Can somebody somewhere ask the man not to hit? Does he have the responsibility to find God or is it only her responsibility to wait for God to find him?

And, then there’s abortion. That still bothers me. I don’t like it. I don’t have to see the graphic posters to know I don’t like it. But, why are we mad at the women or the doctors? Has anyone stopped to consider a man was involved in the process? Can’t we hold him accountable? Oh, yea. That’s right. The bible doesn’t hold men accountable. Only women. Or doctors. That is what the bible teaches, isn’t it?

I had the perfect church children. They memorized the verses. They performed in the church programs. To this day, they can carry on a very intelligent bible conversation. The only problem is they discovered the bible doesn’t teach us to carry on bible conversations. The bible teaches us to be the light and to be salt and to love others and to forgive others and to stand in truth. Can I do that outside of church? Aren’t I supposed to do that outside of church?

In my church world, you read the bible and knew the bible but you weren’t really required to live out the bible. You were required to follow the rules and denominational teachings. You were taught to get along. Always. Never question. Well, we could question but not openly. We could ask questions privately and then we were given the freedom to agree with the pastor. After all, the bible says Jesus always agreed with His church leaders, doesn’t it?  Didn’t He?

I reached a point in my life, my life as a woman, my life as a mother, my life as a believer that I had to stop and ask myself, “What do I really believe? When everything slips away and it is just God and I in a room, what does He say to me? Isn’t His voice the voice I should recognize? That’s what the bible says. Aren’t His instructions the path I should follow? Why, then, does practicing what the bible teaches create such a divide between me and what somebody else preaches?”

It’s all too confusing. I long for the simpler days. But, then I come back to Him….

He is perfect. He is perfect in our imperfections. He is perfect when my life is not perfect; my church is not perfect; my actions are not perfect; my beliefs are not perfect – none of those issues change anything about Him. He remains perfect.

The perfect church kid became Christ’s imperfect child. You know what’s funny? I feel much closer to Him this way.