Let’s Have Church

Where is the house of the Lord? All my life I thought it was the church; a building where people hear about God, learn to love and respect one another, listen to and pray for one another, encourage and uplift one another.

I might have it all wrong, but to me the house of the Lord is my heart. Going to church doesn’t make my heart right, especially when people gossip, form their own little cliques, hide behind their holier-than-thou masks, and judge, condemn, and convict people before they even hear their cases.

So, I’ve built a sanctuary in my heart. It’s not perfect. I goof up . . . a lot. Some days I can’t stand being in my own skin. But I don’t have to dress up all fancy, paste a smile on my face, and be around people I don’t like.

Maybe I’m just cynical. Maybe I’m too intolerant. Maybe I’m too set in my ways. Or maybe I’m just tired of the games church-people play. Tired of dishonesty and greed. Tired of not knowing who to trust. And tired of trying to keep my eyes open during preaching.

So, I’ve made a decision. My church-going days are over. I no longer wear it as a shrine around my neck. I no longer see it as the only place I can worship God. Maybe I should feel guilty. Maybe I should hang my head in shame. But, for a thousand and one reasons and a million hurts and disappointments, I feel free. And for the first time in a long, long time, I’m having church.

Author: Sandi Staton

So, I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to describe myself to you, and these are the words jumping up and down in my heart: I'm just a simple human being living in a complicated, messed-up world. I speak my mind. I love hard. My feelings run deep. When push comes to shove, I stand my ground. Sometimes I push back. Sometimes I walk away. I've surfed the crashing waves of life that threatened to destroy me only to make me stronger. I bear the scars of emotional rape, sadness, and depression. I've walked the golden streets of churches and religion only to be disappointed time and time again. And as a result, it's taken me seventy-five years to get where I'm sitting today; a sinner saved by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. I fell at the cross. I repented of my sins, and Jesus saved and washed me clean. I still fall flat on my face. I still get dirty as a pig in a mudhole. And Jesus still picks me up, dries my tears, forgives me again and again, and continues walking close beside me. No one has ever loved me like that. And no one ever will.

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