The articles that I have written in the past that have left me the most fulfilled have been my Christian articles. Whether politics, the Church, or biblical truths, all have tapped into topics, I felt called to talk about on my platform. When I was challenged to write a column, one on Christians was the right choice.
Some of you want to explore religion but don’t feel welcome at Church. Some people have had super negative experiences with Christians. Some were told that you have to be perfect to be a Christian.
I am here to tell you that no matter your past, your present, or how you feel about Christians, you are welcome here.
That being said, this will be a recurring staple of my tenure as an opinion editor. Bi-weekly I will be publishing this column talking about biblical truths, Christian politics, and commenting on culture through a biblical worldview.
If you have any issues, questions, or anything else under that umbrella that you would like me to address, you can email me at email@example.com. Please enjoy.
This summer, I completed a goal I have wanted to accomplish since middle school. I read the bible cover to cover. I felt a little conviction that I write this column, teach others about him, and have all these opinions about the Lord, but I had never even finished reading the whole thing.
This sparked a desire in me to read the whole thing. Since I was in rural Alaska all summer, I had time that I simply didn’t do during the school year, and I dedicated about an hour a day to the good book.
It came with a trade-off, though. I didn’t get to go to Church. When you’re only accessible by bush plane three times a week, getting to Church on Sunday comes with unique challenges.
Even though I was spending more time with the Lord than ever, I knew I was still missing something, that’s Church.
I heard the pastor in Church this Sunday talk about this phenomenon of “I love Jesus, but I hate the Church.” I think, at first, it’s a very romantic and alluring sentiment. People at Church can be mean-spirited and exclusive. They can be unwelcoming and judgmental. But this worldview has one main problem; as the pastor also said on Sunday, “It’s not biblical.”
When the Church is described with a capital C, it’s not about a place or an institution; it’s about a people. Christians, people who believe in God, are the Church. Guess what if you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins? We are both a part of the Church regardless of how you feel about the institution.
I am of the opinion that to believe in the Bible, you can’t pick and choose what parts of it you believe to be true. Jesus either died, or he didn’t. He either redeemed you and made you white as snow, or he didn’t. I allow for many gray areas in my life, but not when it comes to biblical truth.
This by no means is to be understood as an I am a perfect Christian with a perfect church attendance record and knowing all the Bible’s secrets.
In fact, it’s just the opposite. I have a less than stellar church attendance record, and I understand little of life’s great mysteries, and that’s why I need the Church.
However, the Church does more than just provide good sermons and some good ol’ book learning. The Church is also about finding community. Sadly, one of the consequences of the pandemic is that community is a lot more difficult to find. Being in Church over zoom or through a live stream doesn’t have the same intimacy as being in Church as a Church family.
My current closest friends are people in my life I have met through the Church. They are other women who share my values but stay by me when times are hard and when times are extraordinary. I found that community through church functions, and the Lord added these women into my life when I needed them the most.
They are my rock, and I am grateful for them every day. To my NDSU family and my sisters in Texas, Ohio, and California, I love you and think of you every day.
Finally, even though the Church is a people and not a place, that doesn’t mean we should hold each other accountable and hold the institutions accountable. It just means that before we point out someone else’s flaws, we do a heart check to make sure we aren’t being hypocritical.
Churchs are deeply important for the health of communities. They can act as food banks, provide financial assistance, and offer counseling, among other practical functions. That doesn’t mean that pastors can’t be corrupt or that elders are free of accountability.
For example, the Catholic Church is rife with allegations of abuse, and I won’t get into the specifics because A, I think you know exactly what I mean, and B, that is not the focus of this particular article.
Other churches have been accused of financial misdeeds, false teachings, and sexual abuse, among other terrible things. We should hold these individuals accountable, and we should not be complicit in the violence and abuse happening in our communities, or anywhere for that matter.
Essentially, Church is a valuable and underrated part of the Christian experience. If the Church isn’t meeting your needs, or you see corruption in your Church, then the solution is not to extricate yourself from the body.
The solution is the make your feelings known and advocate for the changes you want to see. Finally, brothers and sisters, be kind to one another. You don’t attend Church because you are righteous; you attend because we desperately need each other and are all sinners.
Many of the Church’s problems are societal; they are in the church cultures we foster. Take a good hard look and ask yourself what you contribute to the body.
Romans 12 says, “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
As a Christian, we are called to serve. Not for the Church to serve us. Find your gift and put it to good use by loving one another. If you have had a bad friendship experience, be the friend you wish you had. Everyone is different and has different gifts; love yourself for who you are. Don’t compare yourself to others wishing you had their gifts. Your talents are just as important and perfectly suited to the kind of person you are.
As a church body, we are not perfect, but we need one another. So go out into the world and continue to be the light it needs. We would be much better off if we didn’t waste time bickering amongst ourselves.