As most of you know, I have deep wounds from the church.
My home, the congregation I was brought up in, chose, as the council of elders sat we me, my parents, and my rapist, to ask ME to leave the church I had called my own since I was four and allowed my rapist to stay because he was a "positive male influence in the youth group" and they didn't want to lose that. I was also told never to mention the rape again and not to report it to police.
I found out this week that my youth minister was never consulted or even told what happened to me, and he apologized and said something I'll never forget:
"I hope you find or have a church where you feel safe and valued. Jesus is good even the church is an ugly ass bride."
And MAN, isn't that the truth!
The church isn't a building, it's the people who congregate in that building and make up the body of Christ. I officially left the Church of Christ after this event happened, and I will never return. I've done research of the Greek and Hebrew translations into English on many, many different translations of the Bible, and I now understand and believe things that the CoC does not. In fact, they condemn people who I believe are not guilty of violating anything in the Word of God. The CoC shuts so many beautiful, incredible people out, and I want no part of it. I will not go back.
Many of you know that the enormous scandal broke earlier last week about the sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Church. Make no mistake, it happens in EVERY denomination, but the SBC took painstaking measures to hide it, as did the Catholic Church, and while I was never sexually assaulted by a minister, I can sympathize with those who were abused.
It is HARD to go back to something once it has torn your life apart.
I attended Lakepointe Church for awhile, mainly for their young adult group, MERGE, in 2008 and 2009, and it saved me from the jaded, impermeable mindset that would have kept me away from the church for the rest of my life.
I did not, however, attend church during college, despite attending a Church of Christ university. I didn't go in California, either.
This weekend, I'm taking the leap of a lifetime and SHOWING UP the way God has called me to and joining Bayou City Church here in Houston, with my beautiful, sweet friend Anna by my side. I am more than ready to worship again, and to hear a sermon. I want the Word to be spoken over me again, and I want to be an active part of a congregation again, because I know how vital that is to my relationship with God. If I truly want to follow Him and begin this journey towards my calling, I have to do as He asks:
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." Romans 10:17
" So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13
Each step like this is one based on faith; I have given up looking at the ground and checking the area my feet tread on. I'm lifting my eyes upward and trusting that He will provide the path I walk, even when it means something as scary as committing to church again.
(Many, MANY thanks to Anna for inviting me to come and worship with her a couple of months ago and beginning this road with me before either of us realized how important it would be!)