the unfit ones

outside the box
in need of a home
but this box is comfort
it’s all that we’ve known

why won’t you just fit?
square peg
round hole

we’ll file off your edges
(’til you’re smooth just like us)
with the blade of this Book
which says, by the way, don’t fuss

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3 Responses to the unfit ones

  1. Jess says:

    Nicely to-the-point and pointed. It’s been a long time since my husband and I “went to church,” and this poem sums up much of the reason. However, *we* are the church, not a bunch of people who get together in the same building as a Sunday morning routine (meaning no disparagement of those who do so in a Christ-honoring way, it’s just been a long time since we personally have felt so at home in such a situation, and not because of what’s preached there). Mt. 18:20, “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” We have the Holy Spirit and a few Bibles, we have each other and we have a few thinking, “real,” Christian close relatives of our own or older generation, we have individuals at work or online that we can bounce faith-related ideas off of, and we have friends to whom we are ambassadors and edification in daily life. We get additional, educated-and-experienced input from online ministries, both written and audio, and he and I talk intently about what we read and hear, critiquing it and digesting it and sharing insights (we just really need to do more with straight Scripture). It seems to me we have “a church” just fine. If we had our own home, we’d start inviting one, two, four people at a time for an earnest home church where we all learn from each other and do life together. Though it *would* be great to be in a big group all belting out hymns and praise now and then. 🙂 And of course it’s annoying when an application for a Christian college *requires* a written commendation from your *pastor*…

    “We, um, aren’t part of an established brick-and-mortar church.”

    “You heathen! How could you even want to attend here?”

    “Did I mention I like fantasy creatures and stories?”

    “Get thee behind me, Satan!”

    • Matt says:

      The main issues with “home church” and in particular very small “churches” are similar to the problems encountered with “independent churches.”
      1. The temptation to move outside of orthodox Christian thinking is great.
      2. Hierarchy for all its folly teaches humility.
      3. The metaphor of the body of Christ suggests that more can be done with greater numbers.
      4. If a little yeast can spread through the whole loaf, what happens when the loaf is a diner roll?
      For me it seems as though this issue (and many others) is best resolved with a guiding principle of balance. Judaism starts in the home (as I understand it) and I believe Christianity does well when it follows this model. As you point out, there are things that can be done in a corporate worship setting that we cannot replicate in home church. Where would the church be without the writings of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien? There is a body of Christ out there somewhere missing you as part of its whole. People like you bring balance and new perspectives to open the minds of those who have given up on exploring.
      The established churches can learn a lot from the home church movement. Open dialogue, close knit relationships, thinking outside the box, and less waste of resources.
      I currently attend a United Methodist church and an Independent church. I have attended a house church in the past as well as spent time feeling rejected by more traditional churches and therefore not attended church for some periods of time. I play bass in a Christian hard rock band, attended seminary for a semester, play D&D (and many other games Guild Wars, Halo, Puerto Rico, Axis and Allies are a few favorites), I have been on staff as worship leader in 3 churches part time, and hold a double major.
      My advice: don’t attend a brick and mortar church just to attend one. Search for one that you can call home. Keep doing church in your home. Keep blogging… it was fun to read your article. May God bless you on your journey and challenge you at every turn.

  2. Jess says:

    From the Inquisition to modern extremist cults that call themselves Christians, there are far too many examples of good-sized, hierarchical groups of people going far astray from striving to be like Christ. There is safety in numbers; a pack mentality, with all members patting each other’s backs and affirming each other’s ideas and ostracizing or attacking anyone who doesn’t quite follow the leader of the group. I absolutely agree that there are dangers inherent in not being part of a sizable church group under a hierarchy, but there are just as many dangers inherent in being in such a group, and perhaps God directs different people differently (and at different times in life) with regard to what kind of involvement they should have in the Church (“Church” meaning the body of Christ in all its forms, not just hierarchical groups in buildings).

    A little yeast can leaven the whole loaf, but you’ve got to admit that if you have a bunch of separate dinner rolls instead of a single large loaf, the corruption can be quarantined and addressed. (yes, overlooking principles of actual baking processes, but for the sake of argument we’ll assume they all come from different batches of dough…lol) Four people, or forty, or four hundred; if all are submitted to the Spirit and there is open interchange between each individual and at least a few others and they have access to the Bible and sometimes to unfamiliar Christians as well for outside perspective, all is as well as it can be in a fallen world.

    Jesus did say not to call anyone “father” or “teacher,” because we have *one* father/teacher in heaven. Everyone down here is equally fallible. We’ll accept correction from sources older or younger than us, more experienced in their faith or less, so long as it’s of God. The Bereans didn’t take Paul at his word, and I’m sure if they’d found him to be wrong, no credentials or followers or claimed “visions from God” that he had would’ve impressed them.

    My husband and I have community in the connections I mentioned already; the body of Christ isn’t missing our contributions, because we are a *part* of it (and we’ve also been involved in college campus ministry leadership, regular church attendance and membership, and an organized overseas mission in the past). We’ve greatly enjoyed the singing and preaching at various churches—even when it hurt, because that meant there was an issue to be addressed in us—but when it came to anything social, it often just wasn’t there. Believe me, the yearning for Christian contact and relationship is present and great in us, but only if that contact is meaningful, gritty, honest, and not rushed. Other brothers/sisters can fish and congregate in shallower water and greater numbers, and more power to them, heaven knows they’re needed and God designed them for that very good work; but we seem to be designed for deeper water and fewer—but perhaps harder-to-reach—fish. I believe some people simply are so called, and also that there are some serious but difficult-to-pin-down flaws in the whole paradigm of organized, hierarchical “church participation,” at least as it is now.

    As for Lewis & Tolkien, I know nothing about contributions to a specific church group in life, though I know they were Christians and I know of their friendship and how Lewis became a Christian partially because of Tolkien. That’s two people interacting and *knowing* each other—hanging out together to drink and smoke at a pub and talk about literature and life (just try to get most of Churchianity to accept *that* today, ha ha)—not a whole church group at work. I also know that their most visible and influential work/contributions didn’t get much notice until after they were dead. As you said—their *writings*. My husband has more social contact than I do, but I fully intend to write fiction (perhaps some day nonfiction) as a Christian author and send it out for God to get it published if He wants to. I don’t believe *I* have much to contribute, but He certainly does, and perhaps He’ll use the vessel He seems to have designed for such a purpose. I’d certainly like to dream starry dreams about bringing “balance and new perspectives to open the minds of those who have given up on exploring” in the Church (restoring a sense of wonder, exploration, and gritty delight is a major thread in my desires), but I’m not convinced that running around like a headless-but-hopeful chicken to plug hole after hole in the swiss-cheese hull of the corporate ship with my fingers is really the way for me to go. Highly draining, not to mention inefficient.

    Awesome, on the gaming; husband and I do so as well, and D&D led me to the deepest, most “real” friendship I’ve ever had besides my husband, with a very unusual person who would’ve been very difficult to reach through any other channel. I’ve grown a lot through knowing her (God’s shown me a great deal of things in myself that I need to let go of, submit to Him, etc. as this relationship has brought them out or mirrored them to me, and he’s opened up a kind of love in me that I never knew before), and I can only hope and pray to shine the light of Christ into her life and be able to keep this friendship forever. But that’s hardly something I could talk to many Christian-pop-culture people about.

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