Changa

February
22nd

Church


My wife asked a Facebook group for recommendations of a church to fit our needs. Rather than hearing from those who would welcome us, so far we've heard from those who would not. It's fine if we are not welcome in your church, but why do you need to tell us this?

A sticking point in small towns is always young-earth believers, adamant that all True Christians(TM) must accept that God created the earth in exactly 161 hours. They tell me now that Christian churches or "even Catholic" churches hold this as unassailable truth.

Catholic Christian churches do accept biology's evolutionary theory, because the Pope accepts it. They are a unified church, if you reject anything, you have rejected everything.

Which is why Protestantism exists, for those of us who still accept the sovereignty of Christ, but not of the Catholic Church leadership. Still, I hate to see people frame it as adversarial: it's not Catholic vs. Christian, but Catholic and Protestant Christians together, doing our best to understand this world.

My father is a biologist with a Ph.D. in parasitology, so I grew up with a strong understanding of how biological systems operate and I cannot ignore the facts that surround us simply because it makes others uncomfortable. I don't mind if people choose not to understand biology: there are plenty of fields I have not studied, but to challenge my faith over a matter of facts already in evidence seems simply to give offense without any positive outcome possible. A church that cannot accept God's creation without stuffing it into a tiny box is not a church where I can feel truly at home, much as I might wish to do so.

Then there's baptism, an area where I find myself at odds with most liberal churches because I believe the best example of how to baptize is the New Testament, where we see John asking for a declaration of faith and loyalty, followed by full immersion. I find myself puzzled by churches that call anything else baptism, when we are given such a vivid example in Jesus Himself.

Still, even while I disagree with sprinkling, I find myself willing to accept those who do accept it, because of their fruits. Such church families truly accept and welcome "the least of these," often putting me to shame with my tendency towards legalism, as I personally like firm rules with precise consequences. Grace is a virtue, as I often have to remind myself.

Then again, for a church to be a home, it must both be a place where I can serve and be served. There must be a need for what I offer, and an offering for what I need. In short: I need spiritual honesty, but I also need a strong children's program, because my kids are too young and too energetic for long quiet services.

Perhaps I am simply asking for too much, but perhaps asking is the only way to receive.