“Ball of Confusion”

“Ball of Confusion”: That was the title of a hit song by the Temptations back in 1970. And the composer had it right: “that’s what the world is today – hey hey.”

Now I expect the World at large to be pretty confused. After all, if you have no true north to orient your compass by, no fixed point of reference for navigation, travel of any sort is confused randomness. And when that is the case morally and spiritually, the results are truly disastrous.

Those were the thoughts I had upon reading the linked article in the Town Hall today: https://townhall.com/columnists/myrakahnadams/2020/01/12/how-to-get-closer-to-god-if-you-dont-attend-church-n2559327  “How to get close to God if you don’t attend Church.” We might as well ask: “How do you go swimming if you don’t get into the water?” For that, is actually easier than the question the article posed.

Now don’t get me wrong – I understand the reality that some are infirm or otherwise prevented from attending some sort of public and gathered worship. God certainly provides grace for extraordinary circumstances. We need not try to justify neglect of Biblical norms by arguing from extreme conditions. We understand the foolishness of making such cases. But let me cite where the author of the article is coming from:

“Now, let’s get real. Any talk of “God” can be threatening, especially if you are not a churchgoer — and part of a growing trend. According to the Pew Research Center, church attendance and Christianity is on the decline in the U.S — especially among the largest population group known as Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996.

Alternatively, instead of participating in any traditional Judeo/Christian religion, characterizing oneself as “spiritual” is popular, non-threatening, and culturally acceptable. Subsequently, if “spiritual” means that you believe in a universal power greater than yourself — or not sure exactly what you believe, but like the moniker — you are cordially invited to begin “exercising.”

And their suggestions? 1. Find God in Mother Nature. 2. Thanking Him in general. 3. Seeking Him/Asking Him. 4. Praising and glorifying Him. Now what would possibly be wrong with those things? And basically – nothing. Except that in the article, they are juxtaposed to or posited as a substitution for “going to Church.”

The problem? This: The Church, the People of God, IS the dwelling place of God on earth. It is where He intends us to meet Him. Where He sets the date. Where His presence is purposely made manifest. Is God in nature? Sure. He’s omnipresent. But He chooses to manifest Himself in and through – His Church in a way He decidedly does not in nature – or anywhere else. Ephesians 2:19–22 (ESV) — 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

We might as well be saying to Christ: “Look, I love you, but I don’t like going over to your house to meet, and I really don’t like your family. So I’ll have a relationship with you as long as it is on those terms – and that I don’t have to be where you are.

Methinks there’s something askew.

Ball of Confusion for sure.

4 thoughts on ““Ball of Confusion”

  1. Dare I be the devils advocate, but …beneficial ? Sure. Recommended? Highly.
    I find my best connection with God is when alone. Church is more of a community, social event. Am I way off base here?

  2. Hey Sarge – good to hear from you. “Way off base”? No. Relationships have more than one dimension. And a good relationship enters into all. There are indeed sweet times alone with the Lord which ought to be a daily staple. But He has chosen to manifest Himself to us most fully through the medium of the greater body of the saints. It is why the “body” metaphor is so prominent in the New Testament. We are not meant to be private Christians, but those who recognize how it is Christ meets us in the ministrations of others. The ear cannot scratch itself when it itches. It needs the hand to do that. The foot cannot see to prevent itself from slamming into furniture – it depends upon the eyes for that. The rest of the body cannot hear the fire alarm to flee the building, it requires the ears for that. And so on and so on. We are complete in Him – but “Him” is expressed in the whole of the Believers. So Jesus says to Paul on the road to Damascus “why are you persecuting me?” He wasn’t. Jesus was resurrected and gone. But in that Paul was persecuting the Church, He was persecuting Christ Himself. They are inseparable. He has chosen to bestow His gifts to us “severally”. If I separate myself from His Body, I cannot have Him in full at all. We are made to receive aspects of His grace and person as they come to us in others. Church, is a pretty big thing. Blessings brother.

  3. Reid….I appreciate your response, and although I only met you once, it was easy to see that you have some wisdom to share. I’ve read, and will re-read. It’s not that I frown upon attendance, as I go every week. Here’s what I will do….I’ll attend tomorrow with your post and follow up in mind. …grateful.

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