if you’ve known me for any length of time, you know i have church angst. I was raised in a diverse cluster of churches that would make Brian McLaren proud–and me feel schizophrenic. i joke (with the right people) that my family is the circulatory system in the body of Christ. Here is a brief list of churches I’ve attended for 3 months or more:

  • Missionary (Baptist-ish)
  • Vineyard
  • United Methodist megachurch ala WillowCreek
  • Messianic Jewish
  • Reformed Episcopal
  • Charismatic Non-Denom
  • Baptist
  • Anglican
  • Presbyterian

in a crazy turn of events, i’m currently working with someone who aligns herself with the charismatic tradition and simultaneously joining a PCA church. the juxtaposition is striking and funny.

it’s really interesting: i vacillate between great pride and great shame for my own personal church history. i went to a huge missions conference a few years ago and the leadership tried to make the worship time as inclusive as possible and i knew most of the songs and prayers and readings: black gospel, old hymns, 80’s worship choruses, new passion stuff, etc. i know the 1928 Book of Common Prayer communion service, but i can also dance the hora and sing the sh’ma in hebrew and jump around with the charismatics. *wry smile*

however, i don’t have any denominational loyalty and my theology on the less-important issues is really confused. What do we do with Israel–are they still God’s chosen people in any sense? Can I stay a pan-millenialist and not think about end times?   Does God still do miraculous healings, or was that just for a specific time and place?  How many sacraments are there?  Is baptism a symbol of joining a covenant or a sign of becoming a believer?  What about baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues–is that for everyone, or just a few people?  What about the rest of the gifts: for some, for heretics, for the faithful?  How much does my faith impact my quality of life?  What does suffering mean–is it discipline, God refining me, God punishing me?  What is communion–snacktime or the very body and blood of Christ?

And besides these theological questions, I have odd worship preferences: What if I’d like to raise my hands and say the nicene creed?  What if I like all the earmarks of the emergent church with a little more stable theology?  Can I ditch the movie clips and still take a culturally-relevant sermon?  Am I allowed to cheer about most of the reformation and still want my worship space to be beautiful and speak of transcendence?  I know that no church is perfect and that I’ll probably never feel truly at home worshipping til I get to heaven.  (I also realize this all sounds terribly arrogant)  Anyway, that’s a little window into my church angst. I’m excited to join the PCA in three days.  It’s all a little crazy, though.

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