There’s room in the front… October 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2038)

I pick my battles.church attendance

After all, it’s a free country.

I do believe these two statements are doing more to deter progress and the growth of human beings than any I’ve ever encountered. They are so frequently spoken that I wonder if those piping the notions might want to just have it tattooed on their chests.

Recently, it was shared with me by a pastor at a church, who was explaining why his congregation sat in the rear instead of moving up to the front of the church. In the most gentle way possible, I told him that I found this annoying.

He replied, “Well, what’cha gonna do? I pick my battles, and after all, it’s a free country.”

But here’s the problem: faith is not a worship service. It is not a eulogy of a once-great idea. It is about burgeoning relationships among human beings which need to be nurtured, fostered and even corrected, to assure that it moves forward instead of sliding back into tradition.

Case in point: at the first sign of a member of our family becoming ill, we step into the situation to get them treatment, right? Likewise, it is really sick to go to a church and see people gathered in the rear, spread all over the place, separated from each other, and to pawn that off as a “rightful choice of American citizens.” For when you isolate the reasons for such dispersion, the conclusions are a bit telling:

1. “I sit in the rear because I don’t want to be close.”

Fellowship is not defined as “friendly disconnection” or “surface amiability.” The Good Book says, “draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.” So what do you get when you sit in the back? Less God.

2. “I sit in the back because I have always sat here.”

The back seats of a church should be reserved for those who timidly arrive in need, looking for a home, or the infirm. It is not for those souls who supposedly have been redeemed, set free and are there to celebrate abundant life.

3. “I sit in the back because I don’t want to be forced into participation.”

I’m sure they continue to pursue this practice when going to the stadium to watch the football team or huddling at the local amusement park on fifty percent off day.

4. “I sit in the back because I want to watch.”

With our society immersed in technology, we feel we have the privilege of standing at a distance and gazing at the horror of the lives of others without feeling any empathy whatsoever. But that’s not church.

A relationship with God is not a spectator sport. It cannot be downloaded. It must be infused.

5. “I sit in the back because I want to leave quickly. I’m willing to be here but anxious to get out the door.”

Wham-bam, thank you, God. This is not a very good advertisement for a contented lover of spirituality.

One minister recently told me that he “didn’t want to be a dictator.” I feel sorry for a generation of potentially good stewards who do not know the difference between being a dictator and a leader. A dictator makes everything a battle–true.

But if you take too long to pick your battles, the war will be over, and one thing will be certain:

You lost.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Perpetual problem! A battle worth fighting for. My hubby is no. 5 —

    Like


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