My Love/Hate Relationship with the Capital-C Church [Guest Post]

Today we are so thrilled to present a guest post from our Virginia BFF Kristin. She sent us this and we both read it and cried and were like YES PLEASE WE ARE POSTING THIS NOW K??? As post-Wheaton twenty-somethings who grew up in the church, we have all wrestled with the role of church in our lives. We have all been so fortunate to have each other as we figure it all out, or do our best trying. I hope you too have friends who grow and hurt and cry and laugh and change with you, and let you into their process as they help you along yours. Kris is such a friend and I know we are both so, so thankful for her and love her more than words can say. And, added bonus–as I went to add this into the system, I found out it’s our 150th post! What better way to celebrate than with a special post from our special friend? Enjoy!

Unlike my Chicago BFFs Lauren and Laura (OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR LETTING ME GUEST POST I LOVE YOU OKAY)…I live in the heart of the Bible Belt. And today I’m gonna talk about church. This might get emotional. Sorry, y’all.

Joel Osteen says you can’t be committed to Christ and not committed to church.

Dwight L. Moody says that church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.

Most churchgoers have heard St. Augustine’s famous quote, “The church is a whore, but she is my mother.” Augustine basically invented “your mom” jokes with that one.

But see…I’m an “O Taste and See” sort of gal. You want to see God? He’s everywhere. Just look around you. You want to be like Jesus? Go do it and stop talking about it. Church breeds arguments over things that don’t matter and angst over the arguments. That was my reasoning, anyway.

After a while, though, my reasoning wasn’t lining up with my experience.

My theory that I could be spiritually whole with or without church fizzled. Not that I was trying that hard to be spiritually whole anyway, but you know.

It hit me one day that my life was crumbling. I was rejecting my true self, I had essentially rejected Christ – THIS IS SO EMOTIONAL I’M SORRY. But I was hurting. I didn’t just recognize my need for confession, repentance, and redemption. I was desperate for them.

This was a big moment for me, and surprisingly, I didn’t know what else to do but go to church. It was as if this safety net had always been there waiting there for me, an embodiment of Christ himself, ready to embrace me whenever I was ready. After so, so long…the Church was there when I needed it. This is still confusing and beautiful and comforting to me.

The funny thing is, the church I ran to in my brokenness is incredibly simple. The things that used to be important to me aren’t all that meaningful anymore. Old hymns, small crowd, no one my age – that’s all okay with me now. I thought maybe I could explain why, but I don’t think I can. I feel safety and comfort there. I feel like it’s okay for me to just be. I don’t know why I feel this way!! I can’t explain it!! If anything can convince me to live in my doubt and tension instead of repressing it, it’s the presence of God I feel on Sunday mornings in the little wooden pews in a small Methodist church.

So, I’m not sure what I’m getting at here, except to say that it sure is a relief to stop thinking about whether the rapture is real, or whether it’s okay to be gay, or whether worship should feature guitar solos, or whatever people in churches are fighting about now. Sometimes maybe it’s important to find a place where you can just be safe and know that you are loved.

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