For a variety of reasons, it doesn't feel "right" to be there on Sundays lately. Between Emerson's morning schedule, my uncertainty and discomfort about a nursery environment (especially during flu season), & our desire for...more...in the way of stimulating and relevant spiritual discussions, going to church has become somewhat of a chore, one that has left us feeling far more discouraged than motivated.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
This isn't a situation we take lightly, or one that we are comfortable with. It's difficult, especially when we consider the incredible fellowship that we enjoy at church, and the connection we experience being among fellow believers each week.
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body,
being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12
This may be a 'black and white' decision for some.
"If the church isn't helping your spiritual development, go somewhere else."
"Stay where you are for the positive Christian fellowship."
But, this is the church that Bobby and I attended together as we dated.
It's the church we were married in.
This is a church full of friends who celebrated our pregnancy and helped us eagerly anticipate Emerson's arrival.
It's a church made of dear people who love us & love our families & surround us with support and kindness.
I am confident that there are good things happening there, and that there are many people who are growing in their faith by the efforts being done. More than anything, I know that it is certainly a congregation with good people who love the Lord.
So, for us, it is a situation that is very, very 'gray'.
We could likely make a decision more easily if it were just the two of us. It would be a choice that we would have to reconcile with ourselves and the Lord.
But, Emerson changes things. We are increasingly mindful of the job we have as her parents to train her up in the way she should go. Her spiritual development is paramount, and we have an overwhelming responsibility to make choices with her in mind.
Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Since January, we have chosen to worship each Sunday from our living room. (A new "home" church, if you will.) We stream a live service from The Crossing using our Apple TV, and it has been exactly what we've needed. (How fun that the technology that provides us with entertainment is also providing the opportunity for us to worship in such a meaningful way?)
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.
The environment is just right for Emerson. She plays on the couch and makes as much noise as she pleases & her regular morning schedule is uninterrupted. We still worship together; I cuddle her while we sing with the worship team on-screen, and bounce her to sleep during the sermon. More significantly, Bobby and I are being challenged, motivated, and excited by our worship.
It feels "right".
I don't know what our long-term solution will be, and I wonder what "church" will look like for Emerson as she grows. There are lots of questions in the Phillips household these days, and there are no clear answers.
What I am quite sure of, though, is that for Bobby and me to effectively teach Emerson foundational Biblical truths & to effectively and wisely parent her...we need to be growing in our own faith and understanding. What is best for her is for our choice to be based on our own Christian development...which, for now, seems to be found right in our own living room.