A Lesson From the Deep South

Ace is once again our guest blogger today. Read this below and be challenged…

Two summers ago I was in Suffolk, Virginia with my then-fiancĂ©, visiting some of her extended family. Even though I spent my childhood in a part of West Virginia which even someone from Suffolk would find empty, I don’t feel that Suffolk could ever be home to me, not even with all that Southern sweet tea. On this particular visit to the “upper deep-south”, I was listening to some of the older folks have a conversation about their church. But, whenever they would reference the activity of going to church, they would instead say, “goin’ to preachin’.”

Now, if you have relatives who speak with that kind of southern twang, first of all, no need to cringe. I admit, I found my own diction in utter chaos after our visit, but it recovered. Since that time, I’ve come to notice a big contrast in the mentality between a place like Suffolk, and a College town such as our own. We, of course, do not typically use the phrase “goin’ to preachin'”, but rather, “going to church.” Seems like the more appropriate thing to say, doesn’t it? But may I submit to you that I think there’s a lesson to be learned from this simple difference in lingo.

Think about this question: What is the church? If you’ve spent much time around Aletheia, or in the Discipleship Course, you know that the church is not a structure. The word refers to those who are called out for a special purpose. Its substance is not in concrete and steel; it’s in flesh and bone. We, you and I, are the church, and it goes wherever we go. So in reality, whose description of what we do on Sunday mornings is more accurate? It’s those good-ole folks in Suffolk. We do not go to church on Sunday mornings; the church gathers to worship her bridegroom, and to hear his Word.

What would it look like if we really applied this mentality? It would mean taking our moments with other believers, outside the walls of our warehouse, more seriously, as times of worship even. It would mean dissolution of those social groups that inevitably form (churches made up of cliques and politics are dead). It would mean not giving new visitors the “slow head-to-toe” when they come through the door. Most importantly, it would mean living out Philippians 2 every day of our lives. The same spirit that envelops us at Aletheia on Sunday mornings can be accessed at any moment. Four walls, a sound system, and a lot of fellow believers, are not prerequisites for an experience of worship and learning. Aletheia Church is not a building; it is you and I.

 

One Comment

  • Mike Burtner says:

    “Goin’ to Preachin'”. I’ve heard it said just like that among Church-going people in Rockingham County. (Honestly, I’ve probably said it myself). I think what they really mean to say is “Going to the Worship Service”. Most churches have a Sunday School either preceded by or followed by a Worship Service. My guess is these “older folks” were skipping Sunday School and “Goin’ to Preachin'”. The point remains the same though. By saying that they are ‘Goin’ to Preachin’, it sounds like they have removed themselves from being an active participant in the worship service.

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