Some changes have been happening in the Murray Family. Some small, some bigger. But all in all this past year has felt like wandering around in the desert. We are thankful for those who provided an oasis. And are even thankful for those who turned up the heat. It has only made us stronger….
I want to share a little about one of the changes we’ve gone through with you today but first I must make a disclaimer… We do not wish to lump all people in a group or point out individuals. And to be completely selfish, this is about our journey and reactions to what has been given us. Take it however you want… but know in the end despite the hurt, we love you. We strive only to serve Christ.
On August 4th I made the following statement on Facebook:
Ever wonder why people leave the church… well if it has any thing to do with the catty and condescending looks I received this week or the phone call from the “concerned church member” about my “not embracing my liberty as a believer” I completely understand!
What are we doing to each other people? What have you done today that makes someone want what you have? Or are you turning them away?
But that is kinda in the middle of the story so let’s go back a year or so… well actually let’s go back 5yrs…
In 2006 while reading through the Bible together Chris and I were convinced that I should wear a head covering according to the verses found in 1Corthinians 11. I forcefully fought this for 2yrs. And Chris graciously let me fight, knowing that I would have to work this out my self. My biggest reason for not wanting to wear on was that I would be different. I have worked my whole life to fit in with those around me. Often to my detriment. Even to the extent of training myself to have no accent because people made fun of my southern drawl. It’s still there… but I taught myself to turn it on and off depending who is around.
While in Kodiak I met a wonderful lady who basically told me that if I thought God was telling me to do something and I was refusing I was sinning… Of course I knew this but to have it put so plainly was a real eye opener. So I started wearing one… and after a few weeks of strange looks from the people at church and a few questions from the Jr High kiddos every thing was fine. People were genuinely happy that I was being obedient.. Some were confused. Most could really care less… it didnt affect them. I wasnt telling every woman they HAD to wear one. In fact Ive been pretty up front about the fact that it should be approached with much prayer. And that not everyone should wear one. But for me, I have to. I have to be obedient. I need the reminder that Chris is my leader… God is his… and that I dont call the shots.
* side note: I only wear a covering at church, Bible studies, during personal prayer time.. not all the time. Just in case your were wondering:) *
Then in 2010 we moved to Coos Bay OR. It took us a while to find a church. And when we finally did it was a struggle. Even after repeated assurances that I was not raised in a Brethren church people were still stand offish. They seemed worried that I might bring in “other doctrines” and one person put it. Granted only a very few actually approached me and Chris and really listened as we explained why I wear a covering, no we are not Brethren, Muslim or Jewish and that no, we don’t think every one should. And a favorite: no it is not a practice of Chris’ voodoo participating ancestors. (Ive done quite a bit of genealogical research on Chris’s family and have yet to come up with a witch doctor or some such… ) Most people were content just to give condescending looks and whisper behind our backs.
When we decided to join this particular church we thought these things would eventually stop as people got to know us. They didn’t. In fact other obstacles seemed to come up.
After a year of participating as AWANA leaders we wished to offer the JR High kids something different, youth group of sorts… something less formal. Something that did not resemble a lecture with tests at the end. They did not like the AWANA set up and we were losing them fast. We approached the leadership and were told a harsh no. Things must stay the way they are, the way they’ve always been.
As a requirement for children’s ministry we had to fill out some paper work… general info, references and a back ground check. All pretty common for children’s ministry these days. We listed several of you. Some have know us for 20yrs or more, some we have met more recently. But the children’s director told us you gave us glowing recommendations. So we were quiet surprised that out “motives” for trying to meet the kids where they are was questioned. Chris and I have been involved in JR High youth ministry for 10yrs. almost 11. 8 of those 10 as a couple and 2 a singles. Our MOTIVE is to see kids FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS!
There were many other incidents over the year we fellowshipped with this group. Most of them hurtful. The most hurtful happened on Aug 4th.
I received a phone call from a “concerned church member” who proceeded to berate me for wearing a head covering and to state that “we don’t want your kind in our church or teaching our young people.” * I wonder what our kind is? … *
This person chose to call at a time when Chris was at work. 10am on a Wednesday morning. Most men work at that time right? I was home alone. I had just taken Caleb to VBS. I was already feeling down after the harsh words spoken to my face and whispered behind me as I left.
I did not take the phone call very well. I was and still am quite hurt. Chris, as I said before, was at work. Later that day when I went to pick up Chris from work I told him what had happened. He was visibly upset for me and for our family. He knew it was time to leave…
So with that we have left the church. Left this particular church. Not The Church, which is made up of all believer in Christ. We fully recognize that it was individuals who made these comments and individuals who hurt us. But at this time we find it hard to know who is who. It is a sad reality that “Christians” are among the worst gossips and back bitters.
At this time we are conducting “home church”. Honestly I’ve always been a little weirded out by people who have home churches. But for me I love it. I am very scared to attend another “public” church. I hate it, but I am.
Currently we are working on a family vision/mission statement. ( we haven’t quiet figured out what to call it. vision or mission statement sounds like a plan for you business or organization.)
Heres what we have so far:
It is our desire to create a Godly heritage for the generations to come, so that the world might see Christ through us.
We commit to foster in our home and hearts the following attitudes and character traits
A strong work ethic/ thoroughness
A servant’s heart
A desire to be a man worthy of being called an elder or
A woman worth of teaching the younger women
To live the fruit of the Spirit
A wise manager of money
A lover of others
Develop a quite spirit
A person of integrity
That our children will court and not date
Not a user of idle words
We are half way through finding verses to back each of these up. Our premise has been: if we can’t find scripture that agrees with these points then they should not be desires we have for our family. We have yet to be disappointed.
They are not in any order of precedent. All are important to us and most importantly we believe are important to God. It’s not a 12 step program.. we actually find it funny that there are 12. We set out to have 7 or so.. but just kept adding.
We will share the verses with you once we are finished. Also when we are finished we are going to have a plaque made. Its our anniversary gift to each other!
I apologize that this has been so lengthy and no pictures either! (sorry mom) They will come soon!
I thank you for reading and for continuing to lift us up in prayer.