Having listened to a lot of your discussions about the fellowship dilemma, I'm coming to the conclusion that this is another reflection of idealism vs realism. In the IC an artificial idealism exists, & is 'slightly' accomplished in that IC functions are where people are on there best behavior, a 'taste' of heaven on earth. This is what our culture pushes in a lot of ways, & the IC makes a superficial version of possible. It's that escape from the blandness of reality they long for. I'm thinking when people say they miss fellowship they are often saying, I miss that experience of the earnest of the hope realized, no matter how superficial it is. As someone said in the Matrix, I'll get plugged back into the machine, knowing it's all fake. Because, after all, a fake steak still tastes great. It takes a lot more character and integrity than our culture supports to get into the greatness of reality. That's where the period of aloneness comes in, the decision: live at that level is grasped.
Great discussion. I can totally relate to what you said Darin about loneliness - its something I've experienced a great deal in my life and at times it's been devastating. I love what you said about the necessity of it all and the way it causes you to hunger for, and to value, real relationships. For me, there's almost nothing greater than genuine, heart-felt relationships. I really envy those people who have great personalities - they're full of life, confident, compassionate, genuine and attractive to others. If I could pray for just one thing in life - I think it would be that.
How true that so many 'church' words have no real meaning anymore, because of misuse. And yes, in my experience, IC is not the best place to go hoping to find real relationship. People are too busy trying to impress each other and avoid offending anyone (other people or God).
For what it's worth Paul, I don't have a conventionally 'great' personality, I'm a bit of an oddball, an introvert, not the most charismatic or attractive person around. That doesn't disqualify me, or you, from finding real relationships, though. I've met some of the best friends I've ever known through 'outside the box' ministries like this one.
Great discussion! I remember when I first emailed Darin about some of questions curious about this Free Believers stuff and one of my questions was something along the lines of fellowship. When your response came I remember reading it and my heart leaping inside saying yes! And yet there was this fear, this scary voice of teachings from past saying if you take a full leap, you risk being decieved and lost. But I could not deny the feeling in my heart as I read your words and thought, this is echoeing something in me that I know. I kept saying to people I want relationship, and people nicely ministered to me, but I wanted to know I was accepted for me not because of what I could offer. As Amy said I was tired of the people who said they saw the Lord using me for wonderful things, and yet none of those people "knew" me. I have discovered relationships with people now that I would have never known if I had not been willing to open my heart and step beyond the belief system and fear.
PS I just posted this on my fb page and for some reason the pic is of brettact2....sorry to share your pic.....but seems your out there! LOL!
Fixed it, just deleted and reposted.....
Loved the discussion, especially where you said fellowship is something God brings to you. I have found that you have to decide whether you are more interested in having meetings or really connecting heart to heart with someone God is knitting you together with. If you only ever talk to someone at a scheduled meeting, the relationship isn't real. Trusting God for real relationships while being friendly yourself can be lonely at times , but the real thing is worth waiting for. Loved the openness, keep it up!!!