12 August 2007
finding a community
dear mrs renita j. weems, whose words move my heart and ignite my soul and cause me to live out more of what is stewing and brewing and moving inside of me! I am writing you today as I have recently been presented a struggle: finding a church, a community of faith. I am writing you because I cannot think of another woman whose faith has led and motivated my own more than yourself. Of course, you have done this without knowing you were doing this; you planted in me the courageous seeds that called to life all that I thought rebellious within me. I was accustomed to thinking everything that made me different was actually that which separated me from this incredible God who had created me, rather than believe deeply and truly that it is God who has planted these things and nourished them in the time appointed. I found myself this morning going to church with a friend, a dear friend, whose heart is also for the Lord, who calls on Jesus as her Rock, who lives and breathes a life of faith----but her church strangled me. It choked my soul, and I am forced to yet again leave those double doors with turmoil in my head, this small self saying "well it must just be you, Stephanie," rather than Christ rising within me and shouting in my pain, "keep seeking my face, you will find me." I love Jesus, but I struggle with the language and the harsh circumstances presented in most churches. The church is full of sin, I know this well, and I don't expect to stumble upon heaven on earth early one Sunday morning. But isn't there a faith community, full of people who have progressive ideas about what it means to follow Christ, to stand for the true meaning of the practice of Christianity? I don't ask this question assuming their is one answers, no, i know better than that. But I ask it knowing what this community looks like for me. That is: loving Jesus and loving the people who are marginalized and considered worthless and walking alongside others to advance the reign of God. Sending forth the good news that people are LOVED despite the conditions of their hearts and calling them to "Come to the fountain," and have their thirst quenched by a God who knows them and loves them despite their downfalls. That is my heart's worship, that is the news I want to share, that is the basis of the community I want to be a part of----and still, I left this morning thinking, "well, what if it exists? Where is it? I have yet to find it and I am still seeking..." but you, as a leader of community, a pastor, a woman who leads the church, do you know of any communities that participate in this type of spiritual life in my corner of the world? i am not far from you, I live in Louisville, KY. And this email has taken a generous amount of courage to write, but my question is this: where do i find my foothold in my faith is there is no place of worship that meets my heart's desires? how do i withstand continual disappointment in the church and still find a faith community?