Northwest Christian Church: Disciples of Christ
Today I attended church with my wonderful, beautiful cousin, Mallory. We attended Northwest Christian Church: Disciples of Christ on Fishinger Rd. I chose Disciples of Christ because I knew Mallory would be in town, and the church she had grown up in had been a Disciples of Christ Church. The few times I had been to church as a child were when I went with Mallory and the rest of her family. They were very involved in their church. They went multiple times per week, they were involved in the choir and the band, the youth group, the mission trips, everything. Mallory (my mom's sister's daughter) and her family went to Providence Christian Church in Nicholasville, Kentucky. It was everything you might want a church to be: small, beautiful, loving and open. Even though I felt awkward at church, I did like their church. Whenever we were driving to my aunt’s house and we saw the church, we knew we were close to reaching their house, and my brother and I would get HYPED.
A picture of the original church is below, where I attended many Easter Egg hunts:
The church evolved, though. Eventually the smaller church was demolished and a new church was built. I only went to the new one a few times, and it was nice, but it felt different. Probably because I was older, “decided” on my atheism, and because my cousins were also aging out of attending church. My cousins’ don’t regularly attend anymore, having some similar reservations as I do to faith. But they remember their time with their church with fondness.
That being said, the service at Northwest Christian Church was one of my favorites so far this year. It felt very familiar, the set up was similar to the few church services I had attended as a child. Mallory already knew the hymns and most of the call and response type rituals of the church. The communion was passed around instead of something you have to come up and get served to you, which I appreciated. When you have to come up and get communion, it becomes very obvious I am not taking communion, and then I feel more out of place.
The reason I loved this service, apart from it being familiar to me and something I attended with Mallory, was because the message addressed one of my hang ups with religion: the application of biblical stories to modern life.
The preacher started by saying many sermons make an effort to apply biblical scripture to our modern lives, but a lot of scripture is inherently not applicable. The Bible ancient and talks about things we simply don’t experience anymore. For example, the reading for the day was Mark 9:2-9, where God literally speaks from the clouds. “Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’” [Mark 9:7]
So, typically, people don’t have God’s voice speaking to them directly. People aren’t on mountaintops with Jesus nowadays. How do we apply this very specific reading?
Well, the preacher said, we can’t really. We are inherently finite, fallible, and sinful. When we try to think about what God wants or would mean today, we literally can’t.
So what can we do? We can listen.
As I said two weeks ago, I am a listener by nature, so I was like “I’ve so got this.” The preacher said we have to try to listen for God at every moment in our lives. No human can tell us what He wants, even the humans that penned the Bible. We can’t manipulate His word to our wants. We need to have an open mind and heart, be listening at all times, and pray the veil between heaven and earth be lifted so we can connect with God, because He will appear in inexplicable moments.
The cynical half of my brain is thinking well isn’t that convenient? We can’t apply biblical verse to our lives because we aren’t meant to, and supposedly that solves all of the issues with the Bible. It can’t be that easy.
But the opening, accepting part of my brain knows there are things I can’t explain in this world. I know the Bible is inherently problematic, like people. Maybe someday God will speak to me in some inexplicable way, and wouldn’t that be wonderful?
I would absolutely return to this church, for a multitude of reasons. It felt familiar, it was pretty (not St. John’s pretty, but still) and it seemed accepting. Also, the preacher had an incredible voice. Like, had he not gone into the ministry, he should have been a radio DJ. Also, the service was short. It came in right under an hour. It moved along at a great speed, had a few hymns, but nothing too long. I was all about it.
Also, you might have noticed I didn’t post a second post this week. I didn’t have time, but! I plan to this week. Thanks for reading, and especially to those of you that have told your friends, family, and bible groups about this blog. I’ve had some people reach out to me and offer to take me to church with them, and I absolutely love that. If you have a church or religious event you want me to experience, use the contact button on my “about” page, I’d love to come with you!