My faith is unconventional to say the least. I have been a pastor for over twenty years, but I no longer “go to church.” I have read and studied each book of the Bible and I have taught several of them in great detail, but I don’t read it much anymore. I taught sacrificial giving, but I don’t support a local church with my finances anymore. I taught personal evangelism, but I don’t try to get people “saved” anymore. The birth, death, and resurrection of Christ were the corner stones of the church’s calendar and its teaching, but I don’t focus on them like I used to. Those are some of the subtractions from my life. Before you come to the conclusion that I am taking a fast slide down the slippery slope, take a look at the new ways I express my faith in Christ.
These days, I am trying to be the church, rather than support an organization that requires people and money to run its programs and pay for its facility and professional leadership. I am trying to live out the lessons of the Bible, rather accomplish some sort of feat by reading through it or expanding my knowledge of various nuances. I am trying to do the best possible things with our financial resources, which includes things like paying down debt, helping out family members, and getting things into shape so our kids won’t have to take care of us. I am trying to be good news, rather than present and encapsulated presentation about Jesus, sin and salvation to people. I want to work in concert with the Holy Spirit rather than barge into a person’s life and coming off like a salesman.
I still pray daily. I am more taken my by Jesus than ever and more challenged by him than ever, too. I might “go to church” sometime. I might read the Bible more sometime. But I don’t feel guilty about these things.
I feel free and very challenged by Jesus’ life. I feel more connected to Jesus and his church than ever. I am not narrow-minded about my perspective and don’t try to sell it to people as the best way. I am not rebelling against the institutional church; I am challenging it and finding a way that works better for me, at least for now.