From a humanly perspective the only reason I went back to
the youth group was girls. There were
several who were kind and gave me attention.
They were reaching out to welcome the newcomer and their efforts paid
off. One young lady in particular caught
my eye and my heart. In the process of
pursing her I became close with her family.
They “adopted” me as a new believer, and through their example of
familial love I began to understand how faith played an important role in family
They weren’t perfect by any means. The mother was single, her husband left her
for another woman, the children fought, siblings can be vicious, but at the end
of the day what held them together was a grounded faith in Jesus. It was this faith, which permeated their
entire lives, that captured my heart more than anything else. And though the heart of the young lady I
pursued would always be elusive, I became life long friends with the family.
As a young believer it was important to connect with the
larger body of Christ as a family, and I found that I spent more time with them
then I did with my own. That connection
began to ground me in the things that were truly important, and yet as I
struggled to allow God to forge a new person in me I experienced the difficulty
in my changing values.
Before, relationships were about me, my desires, my
feelings, and how they could satisfy my flesh.
As I explored relationships within the context of this new moral
framework the harsh reality of my flesh became evident. And because the person of my romantic
interest held herself aloof I dated half the girls in the youth group, trying
to fill a need that could only could be found in Christ.
The tug of war between what God was doing in me, and what
my sinful flesh desired was a battle too great for a young man to endure. Why would I give up on my hearts desire by
denying that which I thought was what I wanted?
I had seen this turmoil play out in the lives of others. I remember one young man who I looked up to
as an example of Christian living only to find that when the girl of his
affection broke it off he abandoned any semblance of faith.
The church is a harsh bedfellow because in its promise of
safety and security lays a chamber of horrors where the world of the flesh is
peeled away. However, what lies beneath
is the image of God in Christ, and what better place for it to be revealed than
in the safety of people who love and care for you.
Last night my family sat on the porch as the wind blew
hard and the rain fell. In a large tree
in front of the house a squirrel built a nest in the crux of two branches. We saw her sitting just outside the nest when
the wind began to blow. She disappeared
and we marveled how she must be snuggled safely amidst the storm.
I find it interesting how we fight for what we think is
the best for our lives only to find the striving to be fruitless. There came a time when my heart’s attraction
finally gave me the attention I had longed for, only to find, in that brief
moment of time, that our hearts were meant for others more subtle in the hand
“But you have received a
spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
Being adopted into a new family takes adjustment that can
be painful, but if the pain is endured the outcome is glorious. Of course that isn’t why I Hate Church. I’m just saying… (Continued).