There are somethings I don't understand ...
As with the early years of our lives, there is an imprint that crafts the matrix for the rest of our decisions down here. Meryl and her Therapy Practice strongly connect our love styles to the shaping, fashioning and forming of those first years.
For me, my parents put in some really good stuff (and of course some very broken pieces). You know the verses "God helps them who help themselves" and "Cowboys don't cry"; with "stand up for what you believe no matter what the consequence" with "team matters, be loyal", "run at danger" with "the world does not owe you a living, you have to get out there and take it"...of course they aren't in the Bible, but they were drilled into us as kids.
Most of them are great pieces of advice for sure.
So when I came to faith, so much needed to be redeemed, restored and reconciled.
But I knew intuitively about doing life with friends, scrumming down with others over the long haul, brought delight to the heavenly Father's heart.
Over the last decade or so, I have been amazed, even living in disbelief by the deconstructing voices that have permeated the church. These voices have driven a narrative that we do not have to be in a community to live out our faith. Their cry has undone the value, beauty, riveting strength that has kept the church going for over 2000 years.
For some, their anger at the hurt they endured, has lashed out at the 'institutionalized church'. I do feel your pain - we all carry the scars that others have walked us through (and maybe we have caused). For others 'rampant individualism', as the prevailing western cultural idol and trumpet call, has echoed the description of yesteryear "each does as they see fit". They just do their own thing, when they want, how they want, as this is their 'right'. For others again, they are inadvertently creating a surrogate community with endless ministries that demand the time, effort, energy and resources of our "sheep" by keeping them busy elsewhere - they could be Christian Universities, ministries, activities. (One of the couples in our community said to me on Sunday, when they were at a Christian university, they were told and modeled that that was their community, so for 4 years they never had a church community- this glorious, beautiful, bible, 4 generational, multi-ethnic people . They just did life with others like them).
Please read me right. I am not bagging on all of these people, nor painting them with the same brush. However call me old fashioned (or is it biblical) but Jesus lived and died and rose for his beautiful bride - both global (all believers everywhere) and local (every spiritual family that he puts together, under leaders, on mission)
I love the local church as I do my family. Meryl, Nasia, Daena, Tiaan and I have loved being a family unit. Of course we have loved connecting with others , but we have a unique story the Father has given us. We loved our dining room table. We loved our TV nights, playing nerf ball around the home or miniature golf from room to room, jamming to crazy home made music, sitting in the pool on vacation at Palm Springs for hours talking dreaming, sometimes even crying together.
You see, that is why I love the local community. Do I love the big moments of fun translocal stuff? Of course! But I love us doing life around the table. I love talking marriage, healing broken hearts (well the Holy Spirit really does it), celebrating babies being born, limping through the grief of departed loved ones....and so I can go on. The local church community is what Jesus is building not just endless, busy, ministry stuff.
I am told there are over 2 million Christians in Southern California, not in a raw honest, real Jesus loving community, just floating out there, doing their own thing. Is that just not a huge tragedy? I think so. The Bible still says "forsake not the gathering of the brethren as is the case of some..."