Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sacred vs. Secular

I was having a conversation at the Pod Coffee House today with a woman who lives in one of the apartments upstairs. In the two months since we have been open she has become one of our regulars. She loves our chili and sandwiches, but more importantly, she admittedly enjoys the company and conversations. As I've gotten to know her she has begun opening up and sharing her life with me. She has since learned that in addition to running a coffee shop I am also a pastor/church planter. Now, just about every conversation I have with her has a spiritual tone. Today she was sharing some of her problems with me when she stated that she prays alot to God, but she rarely goes to church because she feels no connection with a room full of strangers. She was attending a nearby church for awhile but they kept telling her to change her lifestyle and get right with God. She stated that she believed what they were telling her was right, yet she didn't see a lot of people in that church changing their lives and felt that they were "doing a lot of talking and not much walking." She went on to give me an example of one woman who is a leader in the church, yet curses frequently and spends untold amounts of money on lottery tickets every week. She also, admittedly, has a problem with people who act one way on Sunday in church and then another way the rest of the week in "the real world" as she put it.

I got to thinking about her comments and how often as "Christians" we sometimes separate our sacred life from our secular life; that is, when we're in church or around other believers we act one way, and then in the community and work place, we act another way. I have to admit, I'm guilty of this myself from time to time. So, I have to wonder, is Jesus Lord of all of me, or just the churchy, spiritual parts? Do I separate or compartmentalize my life, giving God access to some parts, while other parts are all mine? Jesus said if I want to pursue Him, I must deny myself, take up my cross and follow after Him.

Another thought occured to me. In my previous post I asked the question, "When and where is church?" Can church take place in a coffee shop between two people talking about life, over a cup of coffee and searching, together, for God's answers? Jesus said, "wherever two or more are gathered in My name, there my Spirit is in their midst." So, whether huddled in a church building or relaxing over a cup of coffee at the Pod, do both qualify as "Church"?