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part 2: me or us?

August 17, 2012

Yesterday I kicked off about the tension between Word and Spirit, today I want to write about a tension that is much more hidden, but just as serious. The gap between me and us.

I came to faith by making a decision, well more of a desperate plea actually, to follow Jesus. I asked God to come into my life and sort out the mess – and you know what he did! Life was good, me and Jesus – nothing could spoil it! Until I was introduced to the church – big mistake!

Church was full of people who had different ideas about God, full of people who kind of expected me to behave as they wanted me to, to fit in. Even worse they wanted me to “do” stuff. serious stuff like putting out the chairs and giving out books and washing up! Stuff I didn’t even do at home if I could help it!

The easy response was to tell the church to get stuffed and go back to it being me and Jesus. But I felt I couldn’t do this – because the bible talks about our being one body, a family, having a unity and agreeing with each other! Also because church was also full of people who were experiencing the same things I was feeling, who were willing to come alongside and help me grow in my faith. And Yes I have to admit it there were good looking girls there too!

So this tension is still lived out each week, in me and in the people I am privileged to lead. We want to turn up and enjoy the meeting, get a fresh experience of God, have him speak into our lives, and meet friends – but not get involved/ not have to be responsible for other people, or for making sure the right things happen. We want to meet with God and then go home to the garden or the telly or whatever. This seems important because people and tasks distract us from developing our faith, the relationship between Jesus and me.

But here is the tension, we are Church. God seemed to delight in putting us together in a relationship with other believers. He made us jointly responsible for faith, so much so that he only promises to hear prayer “where two or more of you agree”, and he only promises to turn up “when two or three gather”

The bible is absolutely clear that being a christian is about being part of this thing called church, that we are locked together in relationship and are responsible for caring and supporting each other. It is also crystal clear that we relate to God as individuals. God has no grandchildren – and we have to take personal responsibility to make sure our faith and our life is lived before God.

Anyone else feel this tension? How do you fit together standing alone before God, and us all being in it together? leave your comments here.


  1. Bryon Lingard permalink
    August 17, 2012 8:10 pm

    This is Bryons comment a subject well worth both thinking and experiencing. Jesus seems to illustrate this in his life as he constantly walked on the edge, challenging us todo the same. Having no easy answers we need to walk diligently in constant enquiry both as individuals and in fellowship (Church).

  2. August 18, 2012 8:50 am

    I’ve never really felt ‘at home’ in church, and indeed over the past year or so find it a lonely place-lots of great people but nobody of my age that i can relate to.
    I find I can encounter God by walking in the woods more than singing choruses.
    However, I do really appreciate having contact with other believers.

    • August 18, 2012 9:06 am

      Thanks Marc it is helpful to know that church can be a lonely place. I think this leads to a discussion about whether we have got church right. The bible seems to talk about a community of people who shared their lives rather than a bunch of meetings that take so much organising that we dont have time for each other.

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