Friday, December 14, 2012

Where the Church Fits in My Relationship with God

There's really only so far the Church can take us with regard to our personal relationship with God. To put it a different way, the Church can teach about how to love God, but it can't do it for us. We have to do it ourselves.

That is what the Church actually teaches. The leadership even goes as far as to say that the Church is secondary to the family. Individual leaders often say and do things that seem to be at odds with that principle, but the core message ever since the beginning has been that we are responsible personally for what we ultimately become (if we reach our ultimate potential) - and that is one of the core principles that is different than many Protestant theologies. It's one of my favorites aspects of the Restored Gospel.

I look at the primacy of relationship importance as an ever-expanding group of circles. I, as an individual, am at the center; once I am married, my wife and I, as two-made-one, are at the same point in the center; my immediate family is next; my extended family is next; my universal extended family is next. "The Church" is a subset of my extended family and provides the organization within which I can learn to be united with contemporary others when I "naturally" wouldn't become united with them and the theology by which I can show my commitment to be united with past others. It's the structure within which I can show symbolically that I recognize I am no better than anyone else who ever has lived - that I want to be united with all God's creations.

Since "perfect" is defined as "complete, whole, fully developed", I can't be "made perfect without them" - but the beginning of that eternal unity is my own relationship with and to God - and, again, being part of "me", my relationship with my wife. Take me (and my wife) out of that series of circles, and the rest shatters. Thus, my relationship with God and my wife is the most important relationship in my life; my relationship with "The Church", while extremely important to me, is less important than my relationship with God, my wife and our children. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow.I'll be thinking about this for a while.It seems to me if we were clearer about this a lot of the break ups and dysfunctional families within the church that I have experienced over the years could have been avoided. I think it's this perception, unarticulated that has kept us safe thus far. What matters ultimately is what goes on within the walls of our home, the extent to which we practice what we preach with our spouses, children, and family members.I reflect on my in laws, non-members, and how we treated them. Whilst their behaviour was rude and unaccepting, we did in fact combat that with our church 'busyness'. If I had my time again I would spend more of it serving them and less on knocking on strangers doors in order to share the gospel. They were there for me to love. I'm hoping they can forgive me for my misreading of the situation- that what we needed to do was to be more active in order to convince them that we would not be shaken from the truth. Sigh.