I recently received and email from a woman that I had contact with several years ago when I was seeking to connect with others in Kentucky exploring simple/house/organic church. She was trying to host a house church in her rural Kentucky home. I thought this “update” was very interesting… not the least for the fact that she was no longer “officially hosting a house church anymore.”
You know, I am not officially hosting a house church anymore. I really enjoyed that season of my life, but several of our families moved away and it just seemed like the season was over..I now host a weekly potluck with a group of friends who are for the most part not Christians. It is an interesting assortment of people—a couple who have recently left the Jehovah’s Witnesses and are now atheists, a Buddhist, an agnostic, someone who practices Judaism, several people who are indifferent, a couple New Agers, a few very devout Christians, and most recently, our local Episcopalian priest. Nothing about what we do is “church”… we do not pray or read the Bible, for instance. We simply share food and talk about our lives. For me, it has been incredibly enlightening because it feels like church. I feel deeply connected to these people, I appreciate the wide swatch of varying beliefs, and I have felt incredibly supported by them through difficult times. In short, they have become my family. I also feel that for really the first time in my life, I get to be a witness of God’s light to people who do not believe in Him…. when for most of my life I have just always been surrounding by those who accept religion without question..Will these people ever decide to follow God because of our interaction? I have no idea, really. Increasingly, I feel that it is not my responsibility to convince them of something that they don’t want to be convinced of. It is not my goal for being a part of this potluck. In truth, I sometimes wonder if these amazing people have more to offer me than I have to offer them with the depth of their friendship and kindness. My job is to love them deeply and openly without reservation. But I do feel very strongly that my experiences have further proven that church is something that can happen anywhere, with anyone, at anytime. I think it also shows that breaking bread with a group of people on an ongoing basis really is an amazing way to build meaningful connections and community..So that is where I am. Thank you for your support over the years. Much appreciated!
Sometimes it is scary and messy and way outside of the comfort zone of the church that I grew up in and am familiar with. Sometimes I don’t have the right words to say when unbelievers say things like, “Why does God allow _______ to happen?” or “How can you associate yourself with Christians who do things like ___________?” It is often easier to just be surrounded by a bunch of people who agree with you, but expanding my circle of influence has both challenged and strengthened my faith.