Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Tale of Two Churches

In the beginning... there were two. Two churches I attended.

One, a contemporary nondenominational sort Services were held at night Inside a small theatre.

The other being more traditional, and clearly defined as Baptist held services in the morning inside a library.

Both being brand spankin' new, neither had actual churches in which to reside.

But that's ok, because, you know- "where two or more gather".

I would end up leaving the Baptist Church at 2:00 in the afternoon, then I'd go home and change into something less "churchey", then I'd hop on a train headed for The Village, By the time I'd get home it would be 10:30. My entire Sunday was completely consumed in the going to and coming from church. Church had completely taken away the element of Rest from the Sabbath.

Clearly, I had to choose.

At first I was leaning toward the contemporary one

which I won't name

Because I loved it's purpose- to minister to those who might be interested in coming to know Christ, but felt like they didn't belong in a church.

A church for artists... and you know, other unique individuals.

I wanted to be a part of that- a group that reached out to the surrounding mission-field

and I definitely know how it feels to believe you don't fit in.

The traditional church had it's advantages as well

Grace Baptist Church meets not very far from my house. I don't even have to take a train, and the services aren't so early that it makes it difficult to go.

Externally they both had benefits. I had to choose based on content. While the worship is anything but modern at Grace Baptist, The service is timeless because it is crammed full of God's word. (Which, incidentally, is mostly why I go to church in the first place.)

Sure, there might be a few familial anecdotes thrown into the sermon, as you'll find in all churches- because they make the lesson relatable, but I never felt like I was watching a show about the pastor with a few bible verses thrown in.

I've gone through the Bible cover to cover more than a few times, but I left each sermon at Grace Baptist with something new to think about.

A deeper understanding I hadn't reached on my own.

Meanwhile, at ******** I couldn't help but notice more and more scriptural snafus.

I'm no Biblical snob- I'm aware that many verses have multiple interpretations. It is the living word of God, after all.

But the Pastor was getting the basics wrong, even within what little scripture the sermon would cover.

I asked my parents what I should do- maybe I should ask how he had reached his interpretations?

Their advice was the typical parent stuff- "do what you think is right" But I knew the general consensus was that no amount of amazing music and worship could make up for a weak scriptural foundation.

It was during the sermon at ***********, that the story of Jonah and the Whale was horribly mis-told (Seriously- it made me question whether the sermon had even been written with a Bible present) that I mentally filled out a membership card for Grace Baptist Church.

Where I've been going ever since

and have yet to walk away from a single sermon without having learned something new

and a feeling of closeness to both my Creator and fellow man.

The End.

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