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Thursday, May 03, 2007

What I said 5 years ago and how I understand it today.

For no particular reason I pulled up my old LiveJournal, don't ask because you won't get the link :-), and started reading through it. Check out the first part of a post from April 19, 2002

I've thought about this quite a bit lately....and it really bothers me how people are all about how you should go to one church and not another....and how they can be so critical about it I think as long as you are going to worship God it shouldn't matter what church it is. baptist, catholic, methodist, non-denominational...whatever C.

This was during my junior year of college and a few months after going to my first Mass and by that time I'd probably been to Mass three times. It was also at a very low point in my life when I was looking for some sort of affirmation anywhere I could find it. Well actually not "anywhere". Even though I was thinking about church and God I really wasn't looking to God. Even though I knew he was calling me somewhere and I gave in and went to church a few times I think I was for the most part trying to hide from Him.
It took another year or more before I reached a real turning point and really asked God for his mercy and guidance. It was at that point that I at first slowly, and finally enthusiastically, set out on the path He had been calling me down all along. That path led me home to the Catholic Church.

I read those words from 5 years ago now and realize that my thoughts were very "me-centered". "As long as it's somewhere that you feel comfortable and you are able to worship and have fellowship with God", how much more self-centered can you get? Even though I used words like worship and fellowship the "you feel comfortable" is obviously the operative phrase. At the time I didn't feel comfortable at the Southern Baptist church I had been to in town but did feel comfortable at the Catholic Church. At the same time I felt pretty comfortable at the Southern Baptist church that I had spent my teenage years in whenever I went home from college. I remember thinking that whenever I moved again I would just have to shop around for a church that I felt comfortable in.

Sometime after this things started happening at my old church back home that made me start to feel uncomfortable with it and over the course of time led to my ultimate disenfranchisement with Protestantism. I guess while I was spending all that time trying to find something that made me feel good, God was slowly guiding me to where he wanted me. Even though I was almost completely focused on myself God used whatever bit of true desire that I had for Him to draw me to Himself.

I think this is a pretty good example of God's grace working in our lives. Even though I was very self-centered and looking out for myself alone, some part of me still had a desire for God. This small part was there because it had to be. God created man for Himself. God implants on the heart of every person a desire for Himself. It is by God's grace that no matter how loud we shout or how far we run we can never completely drown out or get away from this inherent desire for God by which he calls all mankind to Himself.


Anonymous said...

YAY; an old Livejournal hand...

Re Church being a comfortable thing. I agree with your present analysis. Though the body of Christ, the Church is made up of imperfect, frail human beings--often it's far from comfortable! But God's grace wins through.

Annabel said...

Amen, brother! I can identify with you wholeheartedly.