Root for the Home Team

Today, I’m going to talk about a pet peeve of mine. It’s my blog, so I can do what I want to. ^_^ Anyhow, on to the rant.

One of the things that really gets me upset is what I call Denominationalism. That’s when a person or group of people take the Christian faith and turn it into an “Us vs. Them” competition. If someone of a different denomination visits Our house of worship, it’s as though they were sitting in the South Stands of the old Denver Broncos stadium and rooting for the visitors.

Come on, people. Really?

Last time I checked, Jesus is the Author and Perfector of our faith, so He’s the only one Who gets to say “ur doin it rong”. In fact, if you go back to the source material, the originals were rather adamantly against the “you have to do it this way” crowd. Those were called rabble-rousers and division-makers and were to be lovingly taught that they were doin it rong.

God is infinitely creative. Just look around at the world. Could any of us have come up with this much variety? I build worlds for a living, and I can’t come up with this much detail, this much difference. To trot out the cliché wagon, “Variety is the spice of life”. Not even identical twins are truly identical; we each have our own stamp to put on the world, our own way of living and experiencing and sharing. To say that one denomination and only one denomination knows how to worship the Creator of all this variety is hubris.

God set up the universe, humanity, and all the rules that govern us. God is the one Who declared that Jesus is the only way to be forgiven and enter into God’s promises. But beyond that, you’ll find there’s not a lot in Scripture about how to go about the daily business of being a Christ-follower. Certainly there are a lot less rules than we’ve created in the millennia since then. I think that God did this for a specific reason.

He wants a relationship with each one of us.

Think about that for a moment. A relationship. What comes to your mind when you consider the word “relationship”? Whatever your experiences, I’m sure that you will agree that relationships take work and compromise. A relationship is something that you have to actively participate in every single day if you’re going to make it thrive to its fullest extent.

God is willing to put full effort into His relationship with us. But surely you know that a relationship takes two people, both putting in full effort. If one half of the pair slacks off, the whole thing falls apart.

Rules have a way of distancing people from an issue. It is far too easy for us to get hung up on rules and ritual, on the how-to’s and thou-shalt-not’s, so that we forget that God is a Person. God is a Person and is deeply, passionately in love with each one of us. With you.

Since each of us is different from the rest, we each have unique ways of understanding, appreciating, and approaching God. Yes, we do tend to fall into broad categories of preferences, and that is ok. We are made for fellowship with both God and people. Being in the presence of God alongside a crowd of others also entering His presence is a wonderful experience. Visiting other houses of worship and meeting God in different settings is also a wonderful experience.

It’s the cliques that get to me. When I go to a church, I’m there to experience God, not get a run-down of why We’re better than Them. When a congregation meets me and asks where I usually worship, it does none of us any good when someone says, “Oh. You go to one of those churches.” That creates a wall that Jesus died and rose again to tear down.

I enjoy a wide spectrum of worship styles, from liturgies to free-style and nearly everything in between. What makes a congregation “charismatic”? Why, the presence of the Holy Spirit, of course. That’s where the term comes from, after all. “Spirit-filled” does not have to mean jumping and frothing and falling over. You can be kneeling on a bench with a priest in front of you and be filled with the Spirit of God. It’s not about the trappings, folks. It’s about the heart.

As long as a congregation teaches the Word of God according to the Bible, I really don’t take issue with how they express their love and adoration of God. The point, friends and neighbors, lovers of all ages, is to worship. Tell God how much you love Him and why. Tell Him in whatever manner you can. Communication is a key part of relationships, and what lover is content with never hearing an expression of love from the beloved?

And don’t give me that line about how you’re worshipping on the inside or just don’t have it in you to be “expressive” in church. You watch sports, so you know how to be expressive. You’ve cuddled your child, you’ve done silly things for your significant other. You know how to be expressive. Why would you not find your own way of showing your love to your most Significant Other?

However you worship, whatever setting best encourages you in your relationship with God, embrace it. But please don’t put down others for having a different relationship with God than you do. If anything, learn from others! You will probably be surprised to find that God shows up wherever two or three are gathered in His Name, even if it isn’t the setting you’ve always used.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. christopher2025
    Aug 06, 2011 @ 18:42:25

    It’s your blog and you can…write what you want to? Seriously. well done. Very thought provoking.

    Reply

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