Net Christianity

There’s a story told by my dad of a time he visited a church before I was born. Still a smoker back then, he was outside with a cigarette in hand prior to the start of the service. Later during the sermon, the preacher made the comment “poor cigarette, fire on one end and fool on the other”. Dad got up and walked out of the church, never to return to that particular congregation.

In the years that followed it was my mom who attended church on a semi-regular basis, with me and sometimes the youngest of my older brothers in tow. It was not until I was in elementary school that mom found a church she really loved and began to persuade dad to join her. They both began attending on a regular basis and dad was even being considered to be ordained as a deacon. It was then that a senior deacon disqualified my dad because my mom had been previously married. So for the second time, dad left the church deeply wounded.

Did dad ever come back? Yes, a very loving pastor with the true heart of a shepherd wooed my dad into coming back. Was that the last time dad was ever wounded by someone in the Church? No, but it was the last time he ever took the bait of Satan and allowed the offense to knock him out of loving his God with all of his heart.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because the way I grew up, in church, with parents who loved and served God together, was drastically different than how my four older brothers grew up – out of church and seeing only the offense the church had caused. Was I ever offended or hurt by someone in Church? Absolutely I was – and bet your bottom dollar I also offended others more than once.

What kept me in church was not the imperfect people like myself who attended, who often had a twisted view of who God was or is until the Holy Spirit gently corrects. No, it was God Himself who gave me the desire to be with His people and learn of Him in ways I might not have otherwise on my own. I had fallen in love with the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and everything in it, and I knew He loved me too.

What about my brothers? As much as mom and dad prayed and prayed often, not all of my brothers are yet walking in a close relationship with God. Do they believe in Jesus? Yes, I believe they do. Am I more perfect somehow than they are? No, no by far. So what gives? Why does it bother me? I am convinced there is not one of my brothers that God ever looked into the rear view mirror of their lives and was sorry that He had created them. At the same time, I know from personal experience there is so much more to Him than what they see, and it truly hurts my heart that they do not express any kind of desire to seek or follow after Him, and I know they will never realize the purpose and intent of why they were created by God until they do.

Should they die and stand before our Heavenly Father, I truly believe the cry of their heart will be for their families and loved ones, those within their sphere of influence every day, that they had the chance to impact with His love. That would crush me, too, knowing how many opportunities I may pass by myself.

This life is so incredibly short and there is nothing worth hanging onto outside of those things that are eternal. Everything else – all the cares of this world that choke the word of God out; all the fears that snatch God’s word away; all the offenses that kept us away from God’s chosen family; all of the hardships designed to make us believe somehow that God is not there or doesn’t care – none of that will matter.

What will matter in that moment? Did you love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? Did you love others as yourself? That’s it.

I wish I could show my brothers that the church I attend now is nothing like the ones we were familiar with as children, but they are not interested. My prayer is that church as we know it – especially the church here in America – will fully wake up and embrace this loving, good Father to the fullest extent, and walking by faith and not by works, will reform and embrace unity in ways like never before. That we will leave behind the church of days gone by full of standards and judgements, imposing fear, and show this starving for love world who God truly IS, in all of His glory and power. I would rather be found on the front lines for Him than somewhere hidden away, waiting in fear for His return.

Picking up the mantle from mom & dad as I continue to pray that all of my living brothers will experience the love God has for them this side of heaven, and desire to know His purpose and plans for them.

8 thoughts on “Net Christianity

  1. So very sad, but often so very true. It’s been said, “You are the only Bible some people will ever read”, and far too many read a Savior in ‘Christians’ they want no part of . . . “‘If it weren’t for Christians, I’d be a Christian.” – Gandhi

    Liked by 1 person

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