These thoughts have been swirling through my mind for the better part of a year. I don’t want to share them on social media because well, people don’t like these sort of things. But at the same time I don’t know how much longer I can keep it in. And I know that writing is therapy. I haven’t written the last 2-3 weeks because this was the closest thing to the surface in my heart and being brave was just not on the top five things to do. I don’t know if I will actually post this. Because honestly. I’m scared of you. If I do get the nerve up to post, remember, I did give you permission to keep your children away from me. I suppose a truly secure person wouldn’t write an introduction like this. So there’s my secret all exposed and stuff. I am not truly secure. I am a terrified little girl with building frustration and discouragement at what she watched happen over the years. Terrified because I have watched what has happened over the years to people like me.
There seems to be a growing ‘crisis’ across the churches in the United States. I am going to be speaking from a/ to a Mennonite perspective because that’s the culture I know and grew up in. It’s a culture I have wanted to leave lots of times because of all the things I have seen and heard come from it’s people. It’s a culture I don’t want to leave because I believe in so many of it’s core teachings/principles. It’s a culture I have wanted to leave because of all the legalism and the lack of relevance to the people we are supposed to be reaching out to. It’s a culture I don’t want to leave because I love it’s people so much and I feel there is such great potential to once again turn the world upside down.
I am sad because what started out as a turning the world upside down Biblical teaching and faith, has become steeped in legalism and criticism. What started out as belief in TRUTH has become a clinging to traditions that are no longer relevant and the use of FEAR to keep people from doing anything else or even questioning those traditions. We are far from the teachings of the Anabaptist forefathers we claim, they were extremely vigilant in pursuing the Word of God so I shudder to think what that means for us in relation to Biblical principles.
People are leaving our culture left and right. For years we have sat back and said, ‘Well they’re just carnal and can’t handle being different’. Or come up with some other terms to make them look bad and make us look super spiritual. I think it’s time that comes to a sudden, forceful halt and we take a look into our churches and our lives to see if what we have made “Christianity” into is something worth staying for. Maybe it’s time we start examining ourselves with the razor sharp vision we turn on those leaving. As I say that I realize that that could come across as a blame pushing situation. I don’t mean we start looking around for someone else to blame. The church is only as good as the people who make it up. I can’t help but think we are in need of a revival. Revival on a personal level. Nothing can remain the same if people in church are being revived, transformed by the Spirit and the Word of God. Because we the people, make up the church.
This is ending on a completely different note than I thought it would. It’s interesting to me how when I start writing I never know what will come out and it often looks far different then I thought it was going to. I also know that some of you will not be able to hear me over the noise of your defenses. That’s ok.
To those of you who can hear me:
I am pleading with you to lay down your arms, opinions, ideas, and cry out to God for revival not only for our churches, but for yourself, you personally and be willing to change. I believe that and that alone is the only hope for our churches.
God take us back, the place we began
The simple pursuit of nothing but You
The innocence of a heart in Your hands
God take us back, oh God, take us back
To an unswerving faith in the power of Your name
A heart beating for Your kingdom to reign
A church that is known for Your presence again
God take us back
Nothing and no one comes close to You
Nothing could ever come close
Nothing and no one; it’s You, and You only live
Nothing could ever come close
-Matt Redman, Ben Cantelon, Nick Herbert, Sam Bailey