The whole business of quietly withdrawing from one congregation in favour of attending another is an introspective one. To do such a thing invites speculation about why one might make such a choice, invites gossip and judgment as someone who (for all intents and purposes) has got lost along the way, so it’s impolitic for one’s own mental health to make a big deal about it.
Which isn’t to say it’s no big deal.
The last time I blogged about it I hadn’t actually made any kind of commitment to doing such a thing, I was a dual citizen of two churches. In many ways I still am, I worship with one congregation on weekends but the majority of my close friendships are still back at the ‘mother ship’ and I’m still up there teaching and contributing. So for many people who weren’t accustomed to seeing me on weekends anyway things may not have changed.
In the grand scheme of the situation the choice to make that leap came after one particularly astute (prophetic actually) friend asked me this question… in fact she phrased it as follows.
“Dee, all I can hear God asking you is, What do YOU want??”
It took me 4 days to come up with an answer… I mean, if in fact you believe God is asking you a question like this you take time to answer… what do I want?? Money? Fame? A Relationship?? While I was mulling the question over prayerfully I finally concluded the following and while I’m sure God could have been asking the question in any of the other contexts this was the answer I absolutely couldn’t get away from in the end.
What I want is this… to love going to church on a Sunday.
The truth was I hadn’t done so for a very long time.
With that answer in mind it was really easy to make the choice to commit to my new faith community and having done so I’m really thrilled to be part of a church family for whom the people are more important than the community itself, for whom God is more important than anything and whose relationship with God is real, earthy, intellectual as WELL as spiritual. It’s a place whose people are accepting, real, and who are in the best possible sense a body of Christ. (Which before you leap to any kind of conclusion isn’t to say that the opposite is true of the former.)
I have no wish to speak ill of one place or the other, I have no wish to look back in anger or sadness, or to have expectations on this new place to be anything other than a collection of people doing their best to follow God and make an impact in the world around them… God is bigger than both, both have their good and bad points, we’re human after all, and all IN all I’m a small part of a very big picture.
And in the grand scheme of things, was it church that changed?
No. Not at all.
It was me.