Usually my monday mornings are my time to relax. I get an entire 15 minutes to sit down and drink my coffee while everyone is sleeping, because not even Brinley wakes up for Mondays. Since quitting smoking two years ago, facebook and coffee now go hand-in-hand as a substitute. It's my time to catch up on the weekends latest and greatest gossip or see what has happened in the past 2 days. Today, instead of carelessly reading, I came across a very opinionated conversation about The Crossing Church in Elk River and it inspired me to write an entire blog about it.
For those who may not know, The Crossing is a church in Minnesota that isn't like any other church you have gone to. In fact, it's called "the church for people who don't do church." It's very rocker-type from the band's singer with dreads to the modern decor that fills the walls. I'm not going to spoil the ending and tell you a play by play of services, you just need to check it out yourself. What I will tell you is I would take a wild guess and say that at LEAST 75% of the members are tatted up, have piercings, show up in mis-matched clothes, and would get the "what the heck are you doing in a church looking like THAT" look. That's because they are normal people. They aren't the prim and proper people that flock to church on Sunday morning just because the Bible says that's right to do. They walked through the church doors for two reasons. 1: They are broken. They have real life problems with real life pains and are looking for a way out of a jacked up life. 2: They used to be that person desperately looking for their way out of #1, and are thanking their saving grace.
We are not a cult. We do not go to The Crossing to see Pastor Eric. We do not worship Pastor Eric and follow every thing he tells us we should do. The Church itself won't save us, Eric won't save us, nothing on this Earth will save us, and we know that. Jesus is the only One who has promised to save us, and we never lose sight of that. The service starts out with Pastor Eric thanking everyone who rolled out of bed and got their butt to church. He welcomes everyone despite denomination, the broken, the healed, the atheists.. because afterall, this is God's house and EVERYONE is loved and welcomed. He lets us know that whatever he teaches today is just how he feels about religion and he encourages everyone to question it and take in at their own pace.
What hooked me was my very first service I attended on Easter two years ago. Pastor Eric had me in tears. From his sermon I still remember a few things he said that no other church on earth would dare say. First he said, and I quote almost word for word, that it doesn't matter what you did before. It doesn't matter how many beds you slept in, the joint you smoked last night or what junk you have in the trunk. What matters is you want to make it right with Jesus and that you change your ways. That it's never too late to apologize and start over with Jesus. He will take you in with a smile, and despite how jacked up you think you are, He will pat you on the back and completely FORGET that person you were. That is the only TRUE second chance you will get from someone without judgement. He also said that Religion is a big crock. What kind of Pastor says that? He said that all Religion is, is a theory that makes people think if they jump through the hoops (church on sunday, baptism, offering.. blah blah blah) then they will automatically be saved. None of that matters if you don't feel it. What matters is YOUR relationship with Jesus - if YOU decide you want to be baptised. I'm not going to preach about it, you get the point. And regardless of if you feel like that or not, you are welcome at our church to seek some answers. The series they're doing right now is 20 questions that he thinks Christains have. He said too many people ask questions (like they should) about Jesus and Faith and they get a "because the Bible said so." He hates that approach, and if you do too then check it out. It's online or at many campuses.
The last thing that won me over was when it was offering time and Kelly (pastors wife) told the crowd that if they are hurting for money this week either write them a note, or take a few loose bills from the bucket. But she reminds to use it for gas or groceries, not drugs or dates. This isn't a church that wants your money. This is a church that will help you in any way they possibly can, all you have to do is ask.
Long blog short, I couldn't thank The Crossing enough for relating to me, a real person. A girl who thought she had sinned too much to even start to think about forgiveness. They - being the variety of pastors, members, friends.. - accepted me and showed me ways to build my life with Jesus. Not a life with that specific church, not a life with that group. 13 hours away living in Columbus, I'm still closer than I ever have been with Jesus and I'm living a very blessed life. That's not the way cults operate and people especially shouldn't judge it before attending a service.
And to end this painfully long blog, if someone is so passionate about their church and what the church has done for them, let them be happy. If they don't invade your space and try to shove Jesus down your throat, then don't put them down by adding in your negative comments about cults and "stupid religion." One warning you should know about someone who has handed their life over to Jesus is that they are finally at peace. So don't think were trying to be a smart ass when we tell you we will pray for you. That just means we love everyone regardless and care about you. And when you tell me "Religion" is just a crutch for me, don't expect me to be offended and get a reaction. Jesus in fact is my crutch because afterall, I once was broken.