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Ginning the comments

January 22, 2007

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Today was in some ways a day of accusations.

You may be convinced that you attend a church that is not exclusivist.  That the people there don’t really believe they are the only ones right in the eyes of God.  But if you care to test that, tell them that you are going to attend another church for a few months.

I don’t know anything really about wheat and chaff other than they get separated and you know which is which. Before EPA guidelines the local cotton gin would fill my memories of fall.  The sound of the seeds being shot in across the road as we drove under the duct that carried them and the smell of the husk burning are two things I will never forget.  The separation of what is useful and what is not, what is good and what is bad, will one day happen in a way that none can argue against.  But for now we are left to discern. I hope I can forget the pain of accusing words.

Some accuzations are veiled in statements that remind or encouage to “just compare what you find with God’s word”, meaning that you will see that we are right they are wrong.  Some are far more blunt.   That my children will spend eternity in Hell because they will be so far from what  the Bible teaches.  That we “lack conviction”.  We are “unwilling to be different”.

I can promise that leaving what is familiar to follow what you understand to be God’s word and his will, takes conviction.   It IS being willing to be different.

On the positive side, one very unexpected phone call last week was from an old friend, who I have had my differences with, he simply wanted to say they missed us.  (head nodding) that’s right, we miss you too.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Terri permalink
    January 22, 2007 5:50 pm

    We will be known by our love

  2. January 22, 2007 6:05 pm

    Ouch. I have felt the sting a couple of times too. It’s so strange that even though I have been convicted by my Father God through the Holy Spirit’s working in my life to travel a particular path, it was still upsetting to feel chastised or even pitied by friends or people who I know care about me and mean well.

    I have not had to deal with anything outright… only those veiled statements and concerns about me getting away from THE church. Unfortunately, I can read between the lines and know what I meant when I used to say those very words to people… I sure don’t miss having to try to word things delicately and tiptoe around what I’m trying *not* to say!

    God is certainly doing a work on my heart on this path! No doubt He is molding you with the same gentle care.

    Grace and Peace to you and your sweet family!

  3. January 22, 2007 7:18 pm

    Praying for you, friend. I wish it were easier.

  4. January 23, 2007 8:21 am

    Maybe God’s just helping out by making it very clear that you’re moving in the right direction! (But it still sucks to hear all that!!!)

  5. January 23, 2007 8:34 am

    In all the ways we have discovered we are alike it amazes me that we are going through this at the same time too….trust me when I say that I know exactly what you mean!

  6. January 23, 2007 11:46 am

    Tommy –

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Wish I could take away the hurt. I may be in the same position myself very soon because I have (for some good reasons and some more excuses) not been “to church” at “the” church in the past several weeks. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop!

    I deliberately did not (and will not now or ever again) “place membership” with the church when we got to Picayune for very good reason from long ago. I was about your age when I learned the hard lesson that some people would rather throw stones than examine their own lives as Jesus told them they needed to do.

    I’ll be praying for you and lifting you up before our Father asking that He will comfort and guide you and Kim and the boys (and Rachel) through all and keep you safe in Him, where we all know you already ARE!

    Be of good cheer, my brother. God be with you.

    We all love you, T, and God does, too.

  7. January 23, 2007 1:35 pm

    There is nothing better than being free to move about the kingdom. I learned it from an Australian couple in Africa – they were the most thoroughly Christian people I had met up to that point, and yet so remarkably free from brand loyalty. They showed me how to be committed to Christ and wander lovingly through every earthly manifestation of the Body.

  8. January 23, 2007 3:44 pm

    Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in Heaven…tough to do, but oh so true.

  9. January 23, 2007 9:08 pm

    I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about why we judge a brother instead of encouraging them to just follow where God leads. I don’t have it figured out. But I know you have to go where He calls you.

  10. January 24, 2007 4:39 pm

    I understand the experience. Close friends wouldn’t even allow us in the door of their home.

  11. johndobbs permalink
    January 26, 2007 8:58 am

    Tommy, this may be hard to hear, but we also must give grace to those who have hurt us with their words. I don’t know the people involved, so I’m speaking generally. I do know that when people from our church decide to worship elsewhere, it hurts me. I would never try to talk them out of it on the basis you describe above … but just that we are family and we love you and we will miss you terribly. Sometimes when people are hurt they do not respond in the best ways. No excuses for rudeness or spiritual arrogance … but at the same time there’s no way to leave a church without sending the message “you’re not good enough for me”… even if that is not the message you intend to send. That’s how it feels on the other side. Over the years we have lost several families … most leaving for more traditional waters … and almost all of them left without a word … just leaving us with empty hands and no chance to even have a conversation. Well anyway this is not a criticism of you at all … but there are some pretty raw feelings on the other end of this situation. Not everyone can handle this with grace. If your brothers have failed you in their response, it may be that they are ill equipped to respond any better through their defensiveness and pain. What do you think about that perspective?

  12. January 26, 2007 4:21 pm

    I wanted to respond to John’s question about the perspective that if failed maybe people are ill equipped to respond any better…and that they should be given grace.

    First, absoultely, grace should be extended.
    My point was that people, some who would claim that they don’t see themselves as the
    stereotypical Church of Christ goer with the “we are the only ones going to heaven” bumper sticker. Do in fact believe that. It comes out in their comments when you go somewhere else.

    Others are out front with their view
    that yes everyone else is doomed. Anyway, the point is, I don’t believe they are right either in saying it or believing it. But it will all come
    out some day. I have to separate the good from the bad. Both good and bad comments and the good in them from their bad comments.

    The “we are not good enough for you” I believe has way more to do with the person that feels that way than the one who has left.
    People should have the ability to follow their convictions. It also has to do with a view of self as the whole.

  13. January 26, 2007 5:51 pm

    Interesting thoughts. I know in my experience is was less about extending grace and more about figuring out what you would do next. When former friends now consider you an enemy when the only thing that changed was the address of a building you enter on Sunday it can be hard to figure out.

    I will say that last year we sold the house we owned in that community and to make a long story short, many came from that fellowship to help us get the house ready. We worshiped there on Sunday and even though we new some wouldn’t talk to us, and they didn’t, many others surprised us with their warm welcome.

    Maybe some of it was the shock of us moving and beginning a work with a different brand. Maybe it just takes time? I had never really thought about it.

  14. March 3, 2007 3:02 pm

    Eternity in hell? Is man mortal or immortal?

    Paul says that we seek it, Ro. 2:7
    also that mortal man puts it on in Christ, I Cor. 15:53,54
    also that immortality comes by Christ and Christ alone, II Ti. 1:10

    This article sheds much light on it: http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/9290.htm

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