“I don’t care what I do at church the rest of my life, as long as it is something different!” These are genuine words a good friend of mine spoke the other night. We had just attended an amazing church service and had an extremely good time at a cookout with a few other friends.
As he spoke those words, I looked around the room. I realized that we were all misfits of some sort. People who didn’t fit into a mold. People who won’t blindly obey. People who are willing to speak up with differing opinions. People willing to speak honest, blatant, truthful and piercing words. And people who are alive and so full of faith, hope and love that I felt we were transported to the heavenly realm as we enjoyed fellowship that night!
If you want a good litmus test for whether a church is in step with the Spirit of God or is becoming a gathering place for old wineskins, here it is: voice a differing opinion. How do the church leaders react? People of God who know Jesus and have met the Spirit and respect the Father will welcome differing opinions. They will welcome questions and desire to engage in dialogue in order to understand.
It is said that some of the worst ideas in history have come from a group of like-minded people who had no opposing opinion or differing thought. What happens when you ask a question at your church? Do you get a phone call telling you to get lost? Do you get invited to a meeting to discuss why there are so many meetings? Do you get repeated demands to stop discussing matters through email? Are you prohibited from taking verbatim notes during a meeting because someone else will decide what was discussed? Do you get letters riddled with “I’m sorry” but receive no evidence of repentance? Do you see the same pattern of people with different ideas being driven away from the church, over and over again for decades? Are you required to develop the same church programs for all age groups regardless of their life situation?
The song “Against the grain” by the Altar Boys comes to mind:
Should we stand for mediocrity?
What do we mean by Christianity?
We throw our words around thinking we’re doing great
Love is what we need, it goes against the grain!