OK… I am late, I know. I said I would get this post up the first of this week and now it is Thursday. If I was one of those “professional bloggers” who lived in their parents basement perhaps I could be more timely. But fortunately, I have a family, a job and I am involved in the local Church. (insert smiling face here) So right now, I have three or more blog posts rolling around in my head that I would just love to get hammered out and posted.
I know I made a few friends nervous with my previous post: http://ericstarkey.org/2013/04/04/why-i-almost-left-the-church/ Frankly, I wanted to. I think it is very healthy to stop and take a long hard look in front of the mirror every now and then. James, Jesus’ half brother, said something about that in the scripture that he penned. With that being said, I did not leave the Church. I stayed and I think it is appropriate to take time to write a post in order to share why:
- The Church is Jesus’ Bride. No matter how upset and aggravated that I might get with what is happening in the church, if I am not a part of the Church, I am not a part of the Bride of Christ. I could never leave the Church, because I could never leave Jesus. Scripture is very clear in how this relationship is designed to work.
- Loving our neighbors is a “biggie” in Jesus’ book, like a very very close second to loving God. Obviously, “my neighbors” include those in the Church. There are a few things I have learned about loving: You cannot love without “knowing.” You cannot love from “a distance.” -And love is often a little messy and very aggravating. I believe that God uses the Church to teach us how to love each other.
- There would be a big hole in my life without the Church. God designed us for relationship. And just not for relationship with Him, but relationships with each other as well. We are incomplete without each other. God intended it to be that way. You need me and I need you.
- God “called” me to serve the Church. I was eighteen years old, just beginning college as a physics major and minding my own business. Amy and I had our whole lives planned out with very little thought given to God or the Church, –and then God interrupted everything. “He” called us to Himself -and then “He” called us to serve the Church. I have been confused and doubted many things in my life and ministry, but I have never doubted my calling. It was just to obvious.
- Divorce never really was an option. Amy and I married young. We knew the stats; we knew the chances of our marriage lasting. We counted the costs and made a commitment to each other. That was seventeen years ago and we have never looked back. It is not that there are not times where we drive each other crazy. It is not that we are the perfect married couple with three perfect children. It is not that God waved His magic wand fixed everything in our marriage and family. It is just that we both made a decision that “divorce is not an option.” And much grace, love, forgiveness and blessing have flowed from that decision, even in the worst of times. I guess my relationship with the Church is very similar. Sometimes She drive drives me absolutely nuts! I am often literally “fit to be tied” and left speechless. In my frustration, I experience the full range of emotions but in the end, I love Her. And my love for Her and the Bridegroom cause me to never seriously consider a divorce.
So… if you are one of those church people who reads my blog and snickers, you are just stuck with me. I love you and I am not going anywhere, so please just love me back. I am reformer. I am passionate. And yes, sometimes I have a big mouth. Please know that my motives are based in love -or at least I try very hard to make sure of that. Until someone can sit me down and explain to me why I am wrong -based on scripture, I will continue to use my voice to call for reforms in the Church.
Just call me a little “Chihuahua” in the Kingdom. I may not have the physique of a rottweiler and I may not have that much influence. I might be small but I am very passionate. I love God and the Church to much to stop barking. To those who hear me and are willing to listen, I will continue to speak loudly and boldly. If I was going to quit, I would have already done it. I’m staying in the game; I am not going anywhere. -See ya out on the field!