I mentioned Rachel Held Evans in this blog about Donald Miller's love posts. Side note: he has since removed the posts and issued an apology. I wholeheartedly accept his apology and appreciate his humility! Back to Rachel's blog. She has a series going this summer of "Ask a..." where she introduces someone from a denomination or different religion and her readers get to ask questions, the most popular questions are chosen and the guest gets a post answering them ( ie: Catholic, atheist, Mormon, Orthodox Jew). It is SO interesting and just great. Pease check them out. They've really been helpful for the faith journey I'm on right now.
When Benji and I first moved to the Phoenix area we searched relentlessly for a church family. We still aren't going to church regularly, and man, it really sucks to have to say that. It got us to questioning what type of church we should look for and what we believed as far as doctrine. Benji was raised in a Christian home and went to a United Methodist Church, now this isn't to say he was raised as "a Methodist". And I became a Christian when I was about 16, going to Young Life was a huge reason for this. One of my biggest issues with Young Life is the lack of helping new believers into a church family. That was my experience anyways. They had club and a more intimate Bible study, but I don't remember anyone really inviting me into a church. This got me feeling like I didn't need church to be a follower of Christ. I just needed my Bible and prayer and whatever. Well, now I am really seeing how much Scripture talks about Church, and I truly believe that God intends for us to be united with each other. Benji and I started discussing what the differences could be in other denominations and how we had no clue what those differences were or where we stood on some of the issues. We knew what churches we wanted to avoid (here's looking at you giant, mega, performance churches) and we knew we wanted the Bible to be the basis of the sermons and teachings. But, um, that's a lot of churches yo! Most of it boils down to theology and how different people interpret different Scriptures. It really hits me in a weird way to drive down a street and see two churches right across the street from each other. I mean, do they both feel like They are teaching The Truth? And what about church planting in America? We have a heckalotta churches. Are people in a town who aren't already going to a church, really going to attend a newly planted church because it has a different name and a new pastor? I'm talking non-churched, non-believers. Or is the newly planted church just taking people from other congregations? Doesn't that mean that when someone plants a church, he/she is just planting a preference? Really think about this. I understand that people who plant churches really believe it's out of love and desire to see a great community. And that some communities might really need a more active Body of Christ. I'm just throwing out some of the things that have come up when Benji and I have talked.
Disclaimer: I am not in seminary and neither is Benji. We are merely prayerfully seeking to the best of our ability.