*I'll tell you now. This is something I thought about today and I haven't exactly honed it down to my usual style of weblog post.*
Several years ago, a friend called me to see if I wanted to "hang out after everyone got out of church." I wasn't going to church at the time. Or rather, I was attending a church, but a church of several thousand where I could burrow in the back seats, unseen and undisturbed.
When I told him I wanted to stay in that night, I admitted to what I was doing instead: sitting in the basement, soaking my feet, watching the Gilmore Girls, and drinking gin (with a splash of cranberry juice, you know, for color). One of the biggest reasons I drank alone back then was because, well, I didn't want to be around people when I got shiker.
Around that time, I read Proverbs 18:1 and began to feel uncomfortable. "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment." Even if I went out, I could put on the Isaiah Kallman act and never let anyone into the messier parts of my life. Even if I went to church, it was about as intimate and connected as any game at Comerica Park. Even if I talked to people sitting next to me, we would just share commentary.
It took long while for me to realize I lived like this because I was selfish. I didn't want to admit my problems and look weak or foolish. Worse, I didn't know if I really wanted to change. This last point shook me because I was smart enough to recognize my imminent destruction.
The problem went beyond my tendency to hole-up in my parents' basement and drink. My life needed something besides more people and less booze. I needed something else. Other sections of Proverbs spoke to this need. Like 11:14, "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Or 19:20, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future."
I needed to let people into my life, yeah. I needed to let wise people into my life. And I needed to apply their advice.
I'm glad God sent me to Lifehouse Church here in Nashville. Not only do I love the people and the mission, I appreciate how I couldn't casually attend. The people there challenged me. They gave me advice when I needed it. I learned how to grow in humility, although I'm still working on that one. Before you ask, I do drink considerably less, even if I make more of my own beer.
Proverbs clearly says God is the source of wisdom, so I don't want to give the people in the church too much credit. But I'm certain God used the church to help me become the relatively healthy adult I am today.
What's your church experience? Have you seen a good change in your life? Or has it been terrible? Boring? I'd like to know.