I grew up in church. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, I was there. Sunday school, choir practice, youth group, sermons, lots and lots of sermons. It’s where my best friends were, and it was the lense I learned to see the world through.
Throughout our years together, Cowboy and I have attended quite the menagerie of churches. We’ve seen the beauty and, unfortunately, some of the really ugly. We’ve been members, participants, told we couldn’t be members, or worse only one of us could join. (If you know us at all, you know we’re a packaged deal. For better or worse, you get both of us.) We’ve taught Sunday school, volunteered, and attended Bible studies.
And right now, we are officially on a break. There, I said it out loud. We are churchless. Without a church. Without a denomination.
But what does that mean? Does it mean our faith in God is diminished? Does it mean we love less? Does it mean we are no longer Christians? Nope, absolutely, 100 percent no. In fact, for us, I would even dare to say that our faith in God, our love, and commitment to what it really means to be a Christ follower is stronger than ever before.
When it comes to church, we have not found the right fit for us, a place that speaks to us, a group where our core values line up. It doesn’t mean it’s not out there, it just means we haven’t found it, and so instead of continuing the exhausting search, we are taking a break.
So what do you do on a break? You have church on the porch. We are intentionally taking time to sit on the porch and soak in the awe and wonder of God’s creation that surrounds us.
Watching the horses laze around the pasture, while dogs nap in the yard. Watching bees and dragonflies buzz through the air, as hummingbirds hover at the feeders. Marveling that a single Basil plant growing out of an old horse trough can smell so fragrant and get so huge. Feeling the breezes on skin warmed by the sun. And being grateful, oh so grateful. Not because everything is perfect, because that will never be the case, but because we’ve let go of the perfect in return for finding peace and joy in the moment.
Observing our surroundings is just one part of church on the porch. There is reading, discussing, listening to music, inspiration of all kinds. For me, church on the porch brings clarity to my crazy thoughts, a deep rooted grace of sorts. The conversations are special, personal, and helpful. Oh, and most importantly judging is banned from the porch. Curiousity is welcomed.
Sometimes church on the porch happens on a random Thursday evening. Sometimes it’s a glorious Sunday morning. Sometimes once a week and sometimes more often. Sometimes for 15 minutes and other times for hours. There are no rules. Just time to revel, to meditate, to laugh. (Laughing is totally okay during church on the porch, in fact it’s encouraged.)
So if you are struggling right now to find the place you fit, don’t be afraid to do what is best to nurture your soul and explore your faith. It may not look very traditional, but what you may find is oh so spiritual.
P.S. I absolutely love to read. Right now I’m working through a series of Rob Bell books, including: What Is the Bible?, Velvet Elvis, Love Wins, and How to Be Here. If you need a little inspiration and are looking for a more expansive, inclusive view of God, I highly recommend these as a great place to start.
P.P.S. Please don’t take this as encouragement to leave your church if it is working for you. We think that is a beautiful thing. This a personal story of finding a new way to express our own faith, while struggling to fit within the traditional boundaries and options present for us.