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Posts tagged ‘Faith’

29
Mar

Home Street church of Christ – A list of grievances

I recently began attending a new congregation of the church of Christ known as the Home Street congregation. I wanted a fellowship of people who were dedicated to the Word of God and following Biblical teaching only. Imagine my dismay at some of the issues that have arisen. I just don’t know what to do about some of the following, but I am quite certain I will be meeting with the elders soon.

Dress. Many have been showing up for service underdressed. Several have come in yoga pants, shorts, and even pajamas! One member even had a child show up shirtless for worship! He claimed his shoulders were sunburnt and that wearing a shirt would cause him more pain. I say, it must be painful for the Lord to watch his members show up half naked!

Women leading in worship. Out of four males present, I noticed that it was a woman who selected which lesson would be played during worship. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when it came time for the Lord’s Supper, she poured the juice and distributed the communion bread to everyone! She even instructed the young men to pray during certain times. She needs to remain silent, including her hands. Also, I do not think the Lord approves of using shot glasses for the fruit of the vine!

Worship Times. Now, we all know that the Lord’s selected worship time is between 9am and 10:30am. Why on earth some of these members wish to straggle in around 11am is beyond me! We have even had requests to start the service after lunch time! Why, the Lord must be furious! That puts it far too close to small group time and leaves out the opportunity for a fellowship meal in between.

Coffee in the Sanctuary. Several members were observed drinking coffee during worship. We have homes to eat and drink in. How can you focus on the sermon when you are swigging out of your coffee mug? And what happens if you spill coffee on our nice clean rug or seat coverings?? I mean, it’s not like we can just clean it up and move on!

Preacher not in person. We had to watch our lesson on a screen. There was no preacher there to shake my hand or ask me about all my problems as I walked out. I know these youngsters are tech savvy, but I need to have my preacher in person, so I know he hears me. And to give him this list. I know he wants to know about all of these problems. I mean, that’s his job, right? To fix my problems.

Song service. What with all the complaining over certain members having to show up so early at all, there has been no song service. I guess no one wants to sing praises when we have so much other division going on. And the worst thing is that one morning the praise and worship was played on a device known as Alexa; and some of it was instrumental and far too peppy. I like the classic hymns.

Contribution. Well, I don’t want to call anyone out specifically, but I have noticed that not one member is dropping anything in the plate for the collection. I guess they think these light bills pay themselves.

I will be submitting these grievances to the leadership immediately. And one of you other lucky local congregations may be seeing me real soon! Right after this quarantine is over and I can stop meeting in my own living room.

8
Jul

Jehovah and Java

 

The car often rolled into my quiet, suburban neighborhood. It would park on the street, and I would see them get out of the car, two to three women, in long skirts, hair nicely done, with booklets in hand. I knew who they were immediately, and cringed at the thought, “The Jehovah’s Witnesses are here.”

From house to house, they rang doorbells, with no response, or doors quickly shut. I prepared to hide, when the bell rang. Naturally, it rang as I was walking in front of the window, so I answered, awkwardly unprepared to tell them to go away. I invited them in.

They walked into my empty and cold house, filled with boxes, being prepared for a move to somewhere I had not yet determined. I had liquidated the furniture to pay my attorney, and was sleeping on an air mattress. The living room furniture was now the patio furniture that I had brought inside. The ladies each had a seat in a wrought iron chair with a cushion on it. I had moved past embarrassment into a comfortable numbness that would not allow me to apologize, but certainly made me feel inadequate.

They began to talk about religion, and I informed them that I was a Christian, and had been raised by a church of Christ minister, who was still preaching in Alabama. I told them about my uncle, who was a missionary in Africa. I told them about my grandfather who had been an elder at a nearby church, but had passed away.

With a snarled lip, I then shared about my then-husband, who had been a deacon in the church, but had just confessed to an affair with a young girl at this work. I was now in the midst of divorce, living with my three children, hands empty, heart broken, and no idea what I was going to do. All I knew was that I had to get out of there.  

I felt like I had thrown up on them, at that moment.

I didn’t even know these women. I was not supposed to like them. After all, they were Jehovah’s Witnesses! They were the people that you put up signs to keep out, the ones you yell at, “Go away!” or “We don’t want any!” They are a cult, obsessed with door knocking and brainwashing. Right?

And yet, here they were, sitting in my living room, looking at me, with the most compassionate and patient faces I can remember. We talked a little bit longer, just about God and faith, and getting through difficult times. After a while, they got up to leave, and asked if they could stop by again sometime. Without hesitation, I replied, “Sure. I would love to visit again.”

The next time they knocked on my door, they brought me a Starbucks Vanilla Latte, which was my favorite coffee in those days. I don’t recall how they knew I liked those, or when I brought that up, but they had remembered, and there it was, on the other side of my peephole.  I may have secretly questioned whether it was laced with some weird “Jehovah’s Witness opiate” that would make me agree with all that they said, run out and buy long skirts, and start annoying my neighbors by knocking on all of their doors, but I drank it anyway. It was so good.

We got out our Bibles and began to discuss many scriptures. There was a good bit on which we agreed. There was some on which we most definitely did not agree. However, I remained respectful in my discussion, as did they. As they talked, I found that what I most admired was their dedication to their faith, and their desire to share. I figured the least I could do was listen, even if I had different beliefs.

Over the next month or so, we visited a few more times. One night, during our visits, I came home and found several bags of groceries on my doorstep. There was no note. There were no pamphlets. There were no clues as to who may have left them. I always suspected that it may have been those ladies.

At our last visit, they invited me to join them for church sometime. I politely declined, saying, “I am very actively involved in my own faith; but thank you for the invitation.” Truthfully, I felt like my own faith had betrayed me, but would not have admitted it, at that time. They left it open, and I walked them out.

It still makes me smile to think of those visits, and of those women. It used to sting a little to think of how many of my own Christian sisters had withdrawn from me, in times of trouble. That still happens, and yet, every time, God sends others, often from places I would never imagine. He uses women from other faiths to strengthen mine. He stirs my thoughts and my courage through these encounters. He shows that a knock on the door from someone that I would normally shut out may just be an opportunity for Him to come in.

And maybe only in my brokenness am I willing to open that door, even if it’s for a Jehovah’s Witness, holding a Starbucks.

Hebrews 13:2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”