Shortly after moving here, we started to call Reality LA our home church. It was accidental, really. I had been "church shopping" around the area and wasn't finding anywhere that suited us. I wanted a church that was led by the Spirit, grounded in the Word, with a passion for the lost outside and inside it's doors, a heart for the broken, culturally relevant in how it communicated God's love, and community focused. The search was becoming dreary and when a few different people mentioned a great church down in West Hollywood I thought, "what the hay" and decided to check it out if only to get a reprieve from week after week of dryness. I was by myself as we didn't want to put our kids through the process. I recall vividly the over-whelming since of "home" within the walk from the parking garage to the auditorium. By the end of the service I was torn-I could tell this church was everything that church should be, and be about and I knew I wanted me and my family to be apart of something like that. However, I wasn't all to keen on LA at that time let alone driving the 30 minutes into it's belly. But the Spirit of God was there, and the people there were genuinely seeking to know Him and making Him known in profound and real ways, and if Jon was on board than I was eager to be on too.
Jon was in the thick of finishing up his degree online at that time so for the first few months just the boys and me went while Jon stayed back utilizing the quiet time in the house to write papers and read. During that period my heart changed towards LA and Hollywood. Where before I was appalled by it's vanity, it's aggressiveness, it's grit and grime, through the work of the Holy Spirit I fell in love with it not because of it but despite all of it. I found myself praying earnestly for LA-for all those self-absorbed, easily agitated, and consumerist driven people, and lo and behold, the drive there became a non-issue for me. I was happy to do it. Still, driving in on a Sunday morning versus a Monday afternoon is a totally different beast. 30 minutes become 2 hours and as such mid-week opportunities to serve and have community with our church family was almost impossible.
Jon first joined us on Easter service that year, and he agreed Reality was a great church but the drive...oh, that drive. The issue was never fully resolved. I knew something had to change one Sunday when Jon said the boys and I could go without him: he wasn't in the mood to drive into LA. I prayed for God to change his heart for LA and Hollywood like He had done to mine, but weeks passed and the drive to Sunset Blvd was becoming a bigger and bigger issue for him. He said it wasn't just about Sunday mornings but about the lack of community we had with our church family during the week. This had been troubling me too, and so of course I started to pray that God would move us to Pasadena. Nothing changed. As much as I wanted there to be a solution, I knew it wasn't likely. We share one car, we live a few miles away from where Jon works, and we're strapped enough living in an apartment in the suburbs. I don't want to assume it, but I can only assume the solution is to find a church near our home. And this is something i'm quite hesitant to assume. I know human logic is not a substitute for His will, let alone His wisdom. Still, I also know something here is amiss.
A few weeks ago we began the "church shopping" process again. It's been difficult for me. I have issues with the church. I don't like most. I don't like how they misrepresent the heart of Christ, the purpose of the church. I don't like how they've turned church into a christian club, or a political party. I don't like how they've turned it into a non-profit, watered it down, trampled the urgency of the message with complacency. I don't like how they've used it to sell books and audio cassettes and shirts and mugs and fish decals and figurines and prayer shawls. I don't like how they've replaced reverence with casualness, awe-inspiring truth with feel good, make your own messages. I don't like how they don't seem to truly care about those outside of their doors. I don't like how they've chosen indignation and turned up noses over agape love and open arms. I don't like it one bit. However, I do love what the church could be and should be about; I whole heartily want us to be part of the solution, not the problem.
To know Him and make Him known.
There really is no beginning, middle and end to this post. I don't know anything other than I know something needs to change and I want God to be director of that change. More or less, I am processing.