Part Two on the topic—Do I Even Need To Go There?
we love our parts. And subheadings.)
time last year, I read this book that opened with an explanation of
Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. It's a beautiful piece of art. I
have always loved its lines and swirls that make the sky into a
living thing whose breeze you can feel and light you can see. But
until I read the book (a great book on the church that I highly
recommend), I did not know any of the history of
Van Gogh or how much of his beliefs and experiences he poured into
could appreciate the work for my own personal enjoyment. But I could
not comprehend it. Not in a way that changed my appreciation from
“What a pretty painting” to “What a meaningful, soul-searing
piece of work.” Before I was pleasantly acquainted with the
painting. Now, I know and love it.
you are asking, has this got to do with going to church?
we certainly cant have a relationship with someone we don't know.
we choose to limit our comprehension of God to what we personally
feel and see, we choose not to truly know him. We choose to keep our
relationship with God on the level of “What a pretty painting”
when he begs us to let him put his mark on our souls.
that's what we really want anyway. To have a pretty belief but not
one that alters our lives and hearts.
the age of instant and abundant information, it's the common modern
belief that we don't need teachers anymore. We can know whatever we
need to know by googling it ourselves. Anything really necessary is
attainable with a click. Why go to church to hear someone tell us
what we can find out for ourselves?
You Have a Point
fact, God himself says “Now what I am
commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your
reach,” (Deuteronomy 30.11)
and “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out
for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us” Acts
commends the people in Berea for not trusting all they heard in
church and looking it up for themselves. “Now
the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in
Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and
examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
we have it on good authority that authority should sometimes be
questioned. God can be found by anyone. It's just that . . . what we
call searching is so often settling for pretty thoughts about God. We
are lazy searchers after God.[tweet this]
Church as a Portal
reality is, church is where we learn about the one we say we worship.
Maybe we learn imperfectly. Maybe we don't always agree. But it is
our portal, the best we have, for transforming our knowledge of God
from pretty thoughts to soul-searing truth.
is where the accumulation of history, experience, and Scripture
intersect. It is where generations before us found what they needed
for living. The experience of those generations should not be
discounted so lightly. What did they know about collective wisdom
that we have forgotten?
can worship anywhere. The Psalms certainly support that claim. But do
we know what we're worshiping? Are we relating to a God we've made in
our image? Where do we find our knowledge of the eternal?
we settling for a pretty God, when we could be searching for one that