Andyouinvitedmein’s Weblog

Archive for July 2009

Hasn’t the news been full of deaths lately? Some expected, some a shock, and most untimely. We just returned from a family reunion in Houston. It was great! We left with our souls over-flowing with love, both given and gotten. So how does this all weave together—other than the fact we were on our way to the family reunion when we heard about Michael Jackson?

People have a need for their family to ride out the bad times, but also be there to help restore lost souls. The Lord is the one who ultimately restores our souls, but He makes good use of our family in the process. When they’re there, who else do you need? What happens, then, to people without family (either blood or by religious bond)?

I heard Chuck Smith, Jr. once say that when a person isn’t allowed in church, or to come home it’s like a musical piece that abruptly stops without warning. Even the non-musical sorts can discern that something isn’t right. When we separate from our loved ones because of a matter we disagree with…whether it’s spiritual, personal, or because of an argument about dish washer detergent (it’s happened!)…it is a song that isn’t finished, and leaves all persons with a void.

Many conservative Christian communities embrace the concept of disfellowship. There’s scripture selected for this practice. I can remember 40 years ago I had a relative-in-law disfellowshipped from the church because he killed his wife…nothing was said about the wife’s many transgressions, or the fact the fatal bullet may not have come from his gun because it was like an Old West shootout; it was messy. However, I was 15 when this happened, and considered disfellowship a wrong practice for these reason:

  1. If he killed a person, wouldn’t it be good to have him in church? Just when you need to embrace the Savior, the people who know Him just don’t think you belong with them even though it says in the Bible that murder is a sin like gossip and lying and coveting…
  2. The concept of disfellowship goes against the grain of what Jesus taught. He embraced all the outcasts and seemed to have a distaste for those religious sorts who thought they were better than everyone else (i.e. see the church disfellowship voters in #1).
  3. And then, finally, if gay people don’t belong in church (I’ve heard this twice in the last few weeks from people outside my geographical region) because of their sin…hum…well, then how are they to know how much Jesus loves them? And what about sin in the church, I mean if we kick out people because they aren’t clean enough to come into the church…my, my, my…let me think about people who are dirty with gossip and lying and coveting, for starts.

We conservatives don’t have an exclusive club with a secret knock. We have a building of whosoevers who have joined because Jesus lives in their heart, OR they are seeking to find out more about Jesus. If we rip the final chord from the song, then we’re left without a song. If we don’t allow certain people in a church, then we’ve forced people to believe that God doesn’t love them. Their hearts are then broken and they may seek other things to heal that hurt, or to fill the void. When we don’t allow our family members to come home “until they repent,” then we shut a door.

We have been given a great salvation, and to whom much is given, much is required. Open the door and welcome in that lost child…extend grace….love beyond reason and God will change your heart!