Friday, June 12, 2009

Can We Choose Family?

At some point, I am sure, we have all heard the expression, “You don’t choose your family.” It’s meant to imply that you might as well learn to live with them, learn to love them, and regardless of how it all works out – they’re still your family.

Often we refer to the Church as a body or a family but somehow we rarely seem to apply this idea of not choosing your family. As Nolana and I move to a new city we hope to enter into a new faith community and I am struck with the dilemma of how to “choose” a church for our family. Often people look for good programs, welcoming people, lively worship, a dynamic speaker, convenient location or times, etc, etc.... And I am struck by the way we often shop around to choose a church that seems to fit us. This isn’t how I got stuck with my family!

I think most people find, that like with family, when you become active and involved in a church – when you give of yourself sacrificially – this is when you feel connected and rewarded by community. Before I left I had a good chat about this with a friend whose challenged heart I admire and we discussed in great length what it is that church should be about. Often, when we look for a church, we look for something that fits us and that fits what we define as church. We want to worship with like-minded people who like drums or calls to worship or liturgical prayers. We want what is safe and what we know.

So as we go about figuring out where to call home I am struck by the question: should we just show up one Sunday morning to our local place of worship and, as long as they’re grounded in biblical truth, call it home, choose to make it family, and then stick with it regardless of worship styles or if they have lots of little kids for Daija to play with?

This seems to be along the lines of family. And yet, there seems to be things that I value that I want in a faith community: missional focus, community and social justice minded, built in the scripture, etc... I wonder if some of these are merely selfish desires and if I should be working as an advocate for these things in whatever family I land in? Sometimes it’s hard to separate our wishes, even when they sometimes seem so spiritual, from those of the Father.

Pictures taken from the hilarious site:


Gillian said...

Good thoughts. I've spent a fair bit of time thinking about that too. When I came back to Victoria after Offshore I struggled with the idea of where to go to church - there are about 5 Anglican churches closer to me than the one I go to right now, but I had already made some connections at the one I am going to so I went there. I am happy even though there are others with more young people my age, a later service allowing more sleep-in, and more "upbeat, modern" music but, as it turns out, this is now my family and I wouldn't go anywhere else. For now anyway.

Gillian said...

PS - I'm praying for you guys as you make this huge transition.