“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.” J. R. Tolkien
Over the past year I have struggled with "institutional church."
I discovered this particular writing by Mark Berry on his blog at http://markjberry.blogs.com. I can relate to most of his thoughts.
Is Church" like living in a cold climate? Odd question to ask during the summer I suppose but the more time I spend outside of "Church" the more it looks like a bunch of people trying to survive in sub-zero temperatures... we huddle together for protection, we surround ourselves with layer upon layer of insulation from the climate (culture) around us and pray for Summer... we pull our lifeblood back from the extremities into the centre spending more and more time at this meeting or that, this group or gathering or that... I know many good Christians whose whole life is lived in "Church", whose diary is jammed with "Church" events (the workplace being the only exception) and whose social life is spent entirely with "Church" people (families often the only exception) trouble is it seems to me that living like this means sooner or later the extremities will die and ultimately it is not the way to survive... some Christians can't stand the waiting around and the self preoccupation and head off into the cold regardless of the outcome... some seem able to take the risk and acclimatise, adapt, so that they can survive and even flourish... though perhaps in a new way! I want to be hopeful, I really do, maybe I'm just the type who can't stand standing around in a huddle facing in with my back to the weather (like those penguins do on "March of the Penguins"!) I'm not saying I have the answer, not even saying I know how to survive just that I'm not sure "survival" is enough or worth it in it's own right... I guess I'm more of a "blaze (or freeze) of glory" type! My Rural Dean said at the interview for my post that the role should be "meeting light and relationship heavy" I guess that's part of the reason I'm here in Telford and why at this moment I'm more than happy being outside "Church".... with my face, not my back to the storm!