Saturday, July 24, 2010


I do not have horror stories about my church experience, as some people do. ...Nobody ever made me grovel for penance. All the while, though a subliminal message was being communicated that I don't think was healthy: Come to church, but come cleaned-up, with your best clothes, your best posture, your best face, and keep your secrets and your sadness at home, where they belong.

I don't think the early church was like that. I think it was a place where people came as they were, slaves and freemen, sitting side by side, laying down their burdens; Greek and Jew, elbow to elbow, sharing their heartaches; male and female, revealing not only the dark secrets of how they went astray, but also the luminous secrets of how Jesus pursued them, found them , and carried them home.

The people of the early church were desperate people, for the most part, living in desperate times. They were less likely to be pillars of the community and more likely to be prostitutes; less likely to be aristocrats and more likely to be adulterers; less likely to come from the cities social register and more likely to come from the ranks of the diseased, the demon-possessed, and the down-and-out. Imagine the stories they had to tell. And imagine how the freedom to tell their stories brought freedom to so many who heard them.

Room was made in the service of the early church both for the Holy spirit and for the holiness of their own stories. And in the dim light and dirty mess of such a stable, divine things were given birth.


Marsha's Mpressions said...

So true. So many times we put the wrong emphasis on preparation for worship, don't we?

sarah said...

this is beautiful. It's not the outside...but the inside that He sees...Have a great Sunday

Cindy Adkins said...

Hi Clif,
Thanks so much for coming over to visit...Oh, I love the love story about you and is amazing!
Hmm, my favorite books--there are so many because I just finished my Master's Degree a few years ago...but for fun (and spiritual revival) I love Max Lucado...his work is very up-lifting...I'm sure that you and Charlotte read his books too!

Have a beautiful Sunday!
and all my best to you and Charlotte,

Daughter of the KING said...

"Imagine the stories they had to tell. And imagine how the freedom to tell their stories brought freedom to so many who heard them."

Stories of true freedom (Salvation) are my favorite to tell and to hear... We as Christians need to tell our stories more often, don't we?

Linda J

Dianne said...

I want to recognize my desperation for Him. Thank you, Clif--this was a good Word!

Loren said...

You know I have to say this is one of the many reasons why I LOVE house church ~ the intimacy is so that people share who they are.....the truth! The good, the bad and the ugly. We have seen sooo much more authenticity and soooo many lives changed, set free and forever touched! It has been such a gift!

Thank you Clif for sharing this post! May we all grow more desperate for HIM for without HIM ~ we are absolutely nothing!

Joan said...

It's sad that many people think they need to "clean themselves up" before coming to Christ. I'm so glad He takes us just as we are. Unfortunately, many churches today tend to look down on those who have committed certain sins, thinking they are worse off. Sin is sin in God's eyes.

Thanks for sharing this, Clif.


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Mevely317 said...

Authenticity ... didn't Loren just say it all?
Mr. Gire's last line is so powerful!
I love this post .. thank you!


Virginia said...

Amen! So true. Being a Christian is reaching for the unlovable and accepting them in the house of our Lord. Just like they are. He didn’t said come to me all that are perfect and clean, The scribes and Pharisees complained when they saw Jesus with sinners; they didn’t understand that everyone is a sinner who needs Jesus, the great physician, to heal them.
Sweet Blessings,

angelonwheels said...

Thank you for this post! Would you be willing to have a corspondence of spirtual discussion over e-mail, I would love yours and your wife's input on a couple things,

Haelie said...

Such a great, true excerpt! Thank you so much for sharing it!

Dayle said...

I wish we could experience just one day of what it was like in Bible times. I think we'd be surprised at how far off most of us are from that first church.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

Sometimes I will be looking around at all the peole in our church thinking to myself that I have seen them here every week for 15 years, but I don't know them. This seems like another great book you have read.

Whidbey Woman said...

Hi Clif, We never think much about the early church and how their experience/insight can translate into modern times. That book sounds like an interesting read!
Have a great week.

Saleslady371 said...

Very informative, Clif. I feel like the Holy Spirit is telling me to pay attention and take note!

Lisa said...

Great post, Clif and so true I'm afraid.