Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Looking for the Church

A couple of months ago there was a blog post circulating around Face Book about leaving the church. It has been awhile since I read it and it made a good point or two. Honestly, the whole thing just got up my nose; from the photo of the angry man looking down his nose at us to the arrogant tone of the writing. This snotty young man left the traditional church and now he was going to school us on our shortcomings. When I read these articles I always wonder who is this entity, “THE CHURCH,” they are talking about. The authors are rarely Catholics and most evangelical denominations don’t have a central governing body. Who are they so angry at? But you know when I was twenty I left the traditional church.  I wasn’t angry but I was, well searching something more. I moved to Goshen, Indiana and became part of a church that was started by a group of college kids. It was a full gospel General Conference Mennonite church. That would be like having a full gospel Southern Baptist church. We met in an auction barn. I imagine I was pretty snotty about it myself.

I had been there just over a year when I was involved in a head on car versus bike crash. It was a miracle l survived. After I got out of the hospital Jean Stuckey and her husband took me into their home for thirty days. They provided for me and took me to appointments. Jean became my advocate and helped me get the dental services I desperately needed.  My church cared for me but as a group they struggled to help me. Should they do a fund raiser? If they did what message would they be sending? What precedent would they be setting? In the end they did nothing. God used the situation to teach me something I  treasure.

Jean Stuckey was the church. She and her husband met me at my point of need. They prayed for me, fed me, encouraged me and even entertained me. The church is only as effective as the people who call it home. It doesn’t matter if it is traditional or hipster cool.  Jean Stuckey taught me that I am the Church and the work of the Church begins with me.

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