Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Eye of the Beholder...?

How many observe Christ's birthday! How few his precepts!

O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.

~Benjamin Franklin

I grew up in the church; Dearest didn't.  Dearest is conservative in his thinking; I'm not.  I appreciate the liturgy; no~one else in this house does.  Our children have been raised non~denominational yet 4 out of 5 were baptised as Presbyterians.  Not Star, as it so happens.  Star chose to be baptised when she was 8 in our little non~denom Island church.

Denomalisation sits uncomfortably with Dearest ~ & with our children. They have been taught the word of God combined with the Spirit of God is the final authority ~ not some man~made creed or theological doctrine because they grew up here.  Here, where more often than not they were the only children, then the only  teenagers, in church.  They learnt early you pay a price for being a Christian. They have been part of our struggle to be in the world yet not of the world.  They have struggled.  We have struggled. They have watched churches over here rise & fall.  They have witnessed God rebuke the sin amongst His people ~ & they have been disgusted by the poor witness of those who profess to belong to the Living God.  They have learnt some hard lessons.

So I have been fascinated as I have listened to my household discuss last Sunday's service.  Star, who from her earliest years has had a ministry, was plain & simply bored out of her brain.  Dino was envious that these kids had grown up surrounded by adults & children who shared the same beliefs.  He has stated openly he wished he'd grown up like that. Liddy, who has made this her home church, is  a little protective despite refusing to take out membership.  Membership would require full immersion dunking & my very non~denom child, who has been both baptised & confirmed in  2 other denominations, fails to see the point. Dearest was like an arid desert suddenly drenched with water.  I hate it: too noisy, too distracting, too lacking in reverence for me ~ but then I'm the oddest of the odd so pay no attention to me.  And then, as my children circled warily they put an unerring finger on the deepest problem, & one that is not confined to this particular church.  Many, if not most western churches suffer from this particular illness: they are soft.

It is a wealthy church where most parents each hold a job, own multiple cars & even multiple houses & can afford the toys but they are not spiritually strong.  So many who should be mature & ready for strong meat are still supping on baby's milk.  For me this is both disturbing & deeply troubling.  As the Lord begins to shake the very foundations of the earth Christendom should be readying for battle.  We are the ones who will be persecuted.  We are the ones the Lord will send out to gather in His harvest.  We are the ones called to stand in the gap & plead for an unrighteous people.

I have been surprised by how many Christians have been surprised by our willingness to let Liddy go to the mission field.  Willing does not equal easy but one of the stats that has shocked me profoundly is the one that states the biggest impediment to missionary outreach is Christian parents!  Christian parents do not want their children on the mission field.  Let others go, but they want theirs safe at home.  Even with Liddy stating unequivocally she is called to missions, even with our willingness to back her up, we still have Christians, Christians, telling us this is wrong; she should not go.

Paul uses some very strong language when discussing who we are in Christ.  Amongst other things he says we are not our own, we have been bought with a price; he calls us slaves.  A slave is owned body & soul by their master.  They go where they are told, when they are told, to do what they are told.  They work until they drop from exhaustion ~ & that is only their rightful duty.  The concept of slavery is foreign to us.  It disgusts us ~ as in a worldly sense it should.  No man can rightfully own another human being.  This is not so in a spiritual sense.  We are already God's for He made us & every breath we take is a gift from Him.  I do know there is no room for compromise in the Kingdom to come.  It is all or nothing & so my prayer for me, for my family, is that the Holy Spirit would be a consuming fire in our bones.  As Job discovered when he had nothing but God, he needed nothing but God.

As Liddy admits, it was hard spiritually growing up here but she is immensly grateful for the lessons learnt.  She is spiritually stronger for it & she has learnt survival lessons that can be learned no other way. 


Happy Elf Mom said...

...baptized Presbyterians? I guess I thought you were always Quaker.

You know honestly, some of the selfishness you describe is EXACTLY why I don't want my son joining the military. It would have to take something way bigger than a nebulous "your country needs you" for me.

seekingmyLord said...

I have had Christians tell me I should or should not be doing something (even ones I have looked up to) but when I ask them if they prayed specifically about it and had received that message from God, a few usually admit they have not but most just drop it. The problem is that too many Christians--and I must admit to having catch myself doing this also--tend to give opinions before they pray and listen to God on the matter...another problem, though, is so many Christians do not know how to listen God. It reminds me of Jesus with Peter and "get behind me Satan."

Ganeida said...

HEM: I have had Quaker leanings since I was a child but it's never been for Dearest & like the good little helpmeet I am I went where Dearest led. We had a very good Presie church in Toowoomba but when we moved we were bullied so badly Dearest refused to set foot in a church again for years. I attended what I could get to locally but my nearest Meeting is nearly 2 hours away & really difficult for me to get to so the kids were baptised Presbyterian, confirmed Anglican ~ except, as I said Star.

I know exactly what you mean about the military ~ with the added bonus it completely violates the Peace Testimony & I just cannot come to terms with having a son in the military. ♥

Seeking: I'm never brave enough to ask what God has said; I just think it. ☺ Besides that is one of those questions that seems pretty pointless after you've been told the gifts of the Holy Spirit ended 2000 years ago! lol

Jan Lyn said...

It is no small task that we are called to put Christ first. I'm inspired by your family, Liddy's calling to Chile and your faithfulness to let go. Hard part of being a parent, though in a way, so exciting as you will continue to watch the good grow in all of them.
Really happy to read this and get a fuller picture of your family's spiritual home background. Thank you, dear one.

Bonnie said...

Wait the gifts of the Spirit ended 2000 years ago? What? Wow--Christians do say the darndest things. There is nothing worse than being told you are wrong by another Christian, especially when you aren't. As hard as it is, if it is God's will than Liddy will be as safe there as she is at home. And God will provide you what you need to cope with her absence. I really believe that. I asked a missionary friend that once. He and his family live in the slums of Mexico City--they are White Europeans. I asked him if he was afraid, etc. He said "No. God has called us to this mission field and we are as safe here as we are anywhere. Safer even, because God has called us here." That was an eye opening moment for me.

Ganeida said...

n Lyn: yes, ir is very exciting in lots & lots of ways. Looking back & seeing how God has prepared Liddy, watching how He is dealing with problems now, anticipating the future ~ all hugely exciting. Anticipating her departure & how long she will be gone ~ not so much fun. ☺

Bonnie: You know that statment about the gifts of the Holy Spirit was made to me over 10 years ago by African missionaries & I have never forgotten it & I have heard it since. It deeply shocks me every time. I had all sorts of comments after the big Chile quake. People thought we would stop it but I remember telling people Liddy would have been perfectly safe & we heard later OM had almost no damage. I do not worry about Liddy's safety as such because she is in God's hands but I'm her mama & selfishly both want my cake & to eat it. Completely illogical. She needs a

joyfulmum said...

Great post Ganeida - you are a straight shooter:)
Good on you for letting Liddy go! I have the reverse here with my parents as missionaries:)