Friday, September 3, 2010

Okay, let's just get this over with...

I am mad. I am seriously ticked, peeved, and cussedly cuss myself. I'm also doubting the wisdom of even having a blog, since I obviously lack discretion and judgment and don't know when to just Keep My Mouth Shut!

In my most recent post I mentioned that we had left our church and offered more details via email to anyone who wanted them. When I typed that, I was envisioning hearing from far-away relatives and friends who had only heard me rave about how wonderful the church was and would be wondering if I'd suddenly gone loony.

In retrospect I should have just sat on my hands and left that part out. Apparently that one line, probably combined with what I said about not feeling free to blog, gave some of my readers the idea that there was some Big Scandal, some Juicy Gossip, some Major Heresy that I was being coy about and would divulge via email.

No, no, no...a thousand times NO! Those of you who have contacted me about this, let me just say it again: I should NOT have said things that way. There is NO scandal, NO gossip, NO heresy, and there will be NO juicy details forthcoming.

I'm just going to spell it out as quickly and succinctly as I can right here and right now. Full public disclosure and I won't be sending any emails. Please forgive me for saying I would, it was a stupid thing to promise.

Here's the deal: God has been working on Tom and me in a lot of areas, showing us some things about our convictions and life choices that didn't match up with the Bible. We believe that it was in His sovereign will and provision that we were at Pilgrim in the first place, and in His sovereign will and provision that we have left.

Basically, we have, over the years confused being likeminded with being identical. We have sought to surround ourselves with Christians who make lifestyle choices and have family rules as similar to ours as possible. We have shut ourselves off from the conviction, the sharpening, the refining that comes from fellowship with Christians who are very different from us. We were comfortable being with our "own kind", and we realize now that God didn't want us to be so comfortable.

Even as we were teaching our children the difference between "family rules" and "God's rules" we were bent on keeping them in an environment where they could not see that God allows so much diversity and variation in "family rules". (For anyone wondering about the terminology...God's rules are the specific commands He has given Christians to follow. Family rules are the preferences and choices each family makes in how they serve God and train their children. As an example: God's rule is that Christians are to train up their children to serve Him. A family's rule might be that that training includes family Bible reading every night after supper. Other family rules might govern what kind of media children are exposed to, what sort of education they receive, where the family shops, etc.)

The decision to leave was not something we made lightly or in a hurry. There were some precipitating factors and situations that God used to open our eyes to our error. Those situations that involved other people are not blog fodder, and have been dealt with to the best of our abilities through the proper channels of authority in the church.

When I said that I suddenly felt very free to blog, it was not because I had been censored or censured by anyone or anything involved with Pilgrim Bible Church. I was, however, afraid of what people (from Pilgrim and elsewhere) would think of me if I posted the things I was wrestling with. God also used that fear of disapproval, that need for approval, to convict me of not seeking His approval first and foremost. So, yes, I do now feel free to blog...but I still need to learn discretion. Discretion rather than fear...

So, that's it. That's pretty much the whole story. We are still searching for a church to attend. There are 3 or 4 churches that are very good possibilities, but we don't intend to make a decision quickly or lightly. If you feel led to pray for us, pray that we will make our decision based on the right priorities and not give in to our human desire to retreat to a place that feels "safe" and "likeminded" but instead to go where He wants us to be.

Now, I'm going to go clean my bathroom and put away a big stack of books that is cluttering up the kitchen. I'm going to fold laundry, and I am going to get ready for a big weekend of non-stop part-ay. :) Natalie's birthday is tomorrow and our new family rule is that 21st birthdays take a whole weekend to celebrate. Tonight: company, pizza, and Star Wars!


Rachel said...

In a Bible study that I am doing at our church (Entrusted with a Child's Heart)we learned about Biblical convictions and personal convictions and know exactly what you are talking about. I will be praying for you all and I'm glad that there wasn't some sort of scandal. You had me wondering :)

Vickie said...

Sorry, Beth! I didn't mean to take advantage of you and get you upset, but it was an open offer, and having been there, I wanted to see what made you leave, too.

We kind of felt like the "diversity" there, but when there is no one else likeminded, and you are the only ones who are different, that is really not diversity, but a lack of balance. So, rather than put more time into a place where we felt so different, we felt it was time to move on. We did it quietly, unexpectedly and were glad we did. :)

May God give you the wisdom to know where you and your family ought to be! :):)

Beth said...

You didn't upset me, Vickie, I upset myself. :)

Lanette said...

I only pop in to your blog once in a while, but just saying everything doesn't have to be a "big" scandal. Sometimes churches change or we change and moving on can be good. The other church may not be bad, just not the right fit anymore and perhaps God can use your family somewhere else. Much of what you said...yeah been there and thought that and totally understand. Praying you find the right place. That part can be hard.

Jim said...

I notice you didn't answer the most obvious question.


I mean...

Do you dance in the aisles, scream out loud, or just weakly raise one hand (whilst clutching your half-caff, no foam, soy latte in the other) during the worship service at the new church?

Some of us simply have to know.