Prone to wander Lord I feel it; getting community apart from community

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above” ~ Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing


I am a wandering meandering thinking feeling soul. I am 29, but life and what it has presented to me, I have felt old in my younger years and finally the number of my age has caught up to that feeling. 29 years old, which isn’t that old I’m assured, but that’s kindness mingled with something else to suggest that I am not old but in fact still young. What ever it is, it’s not all that reassuring at times.

Anyway, apart from the diatribe of wandering which got me off wandering on my post about wandering… There are times in community that I do not function well; I don’t run to the church when I have problems, I don’t run to people who I know and love who know and love me, I keep to myself and do it myself…to some avail, but total successes, but still, I don’t go to the church as much as I’d like. I guess it stems from growing up in a church where I lived in one town and the church was in another town, and social-economics be damned! I didn’t “fit” into my church and so I was a loner for most of my early church experience.

I didn’t run to the church when my relationship collapsed upon itself and I was left with emotional shrapnel which (until recently) afflicted my body and soul. I didn’t run to the church when I found out my mother had breast cancer and she’d have to go through chemo treatments and her hair would fall out, I didn’t go to the church in the thick of my issues with my father in my younger years and no one ever probed into bruises on my body that weren’t mere “spanking” bruises…

***

In my life I considered nailing down a denomination that I’d align myself with, and that came from some help from a guy I met online who aligns himself with the Greek Orthodox denomination. One of the things I learned from studying Greek Orthodoxy under him was those who were the desert father and mothers; individuals who intentionally left for monastic life with God, and community with God alone. There is much to be learned from the desert fathers and mothers, and I kind of was jealous and slightly zealous to partake in leaving for “out there” apart from community, just God and myself.

But I realized in the 12 days I was camping, I not only need community but I was made for community. I didn’t keep to myself when I was camping, but there were times it was just like the desert fathers and mothers, God and myself in community together albeit in the woods (now if they were forest fathers and mothers…I may have to reconsider what I’m saying here ;-)). I did hang out with friends and new acquaintances while I was in Memphis as well as in Nashville, yet it was in my getting away from community in particular my community in Illinois that I got my needing of it and even desiring it.

The church is a construct of flawed people, and I think that is why I don’t run to the church. I also have a history where the church hasn’t helped me where I would like them to, despite it being tangible and reasonable. I also don’t want someone who’s in a worse place to come along and help me, but sometimes I forget that God is still among people and works through people despite their flawed ways. The Bible is chockful of examples of individuals God used despite their flaws, some of it happened prior to God using them but some of it happened during as well as after. A guy I admire for his writing and what he shared with my church community a few months ago made a very poignant and resounding statement to me, he told me “nothing is wasted” and despite where I’ve come from and where I’m at now, I believe it to the core of who I am.

I recognize that despite how flawed the church is and how badly followers of Christ don’t seem to get it sometimes, but then I genuflect and realize Hey! That’s myself included! I cannot rip on the church and followers of Christ because I am a part of that lot, not apart from it, and until I do what I can to make myself a better person…with God’s help, and certainly, life in community…I cannot degrade it as much as I sometimes do.

So I’m back in Illinois, all fired up and ready to go and be a part of community within my church but also going out from there and doing what I can to impact my roomies, my community, my state, and hopefully the world. I might not always be the best candidate to represent Christ, but I will do what I can to be the change I want to see and usher in the Kingdom of God here on earth. Perfect Shalom is on the horizon, and I know that so much of it begins with community.

~Nathanael~

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