When it comes to Christianity, I am a denominational mutt.
I was baptized as an infant in an Episcopal church.
I was confirmed as a tween in a Presbyterian one.
I had my first experience of the power of the Spirit of God at Young Life camp, and I worked for FOCUS right out of college. (Young Life and FOCUS are both called para-church organizations because they work outside any particular church and are broadly Christian.)
I was married in a Congregational church.
As an adult, we’ve been members of an Episcopal church, a non-denominational church, and a Covenant Church. We’ve attended a Vineyard church in there as well.
So. I’m a mutt. And I’m really grateful for it.
From all these different traditions, I’ve learned that God doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about getting doctrine or behavior exactly right. God doesn’t seem worried about whether we sing hymns or praise music, what translation of the Bible we read from, or whether or not we baptize infants. God seems willing to show up wherever two or three are gathered. Each of these church spaces where I have participated through the years has held beauty and brokenness. The Spirit of God has been present in every one.
I know there’s all sorts of pain and church hurt out there. And I know God very is present outside church walls. Still, here’s a little encouragement to step towards a community of people who gather to pray and worship and wonder and care for one another and love their neighbors together. As we experience even a little bit of the width and breadth of this institution called the church, we might just begin to imagine the width and breadth and depth and height of the abundant love and grace of God.
More with Amy Julia:
- Communion: The Simplicity of Abundant and Generous Love
- The Blessings of a Small Church
- S6 E8 | Christmas, When Church Lets You Down with Bekah McNeel
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