Sarah McCarten


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When I tell what I believed about church.

churchSome time during 2006 I wrote this and then I said it at a talk I gave at the home group I was part of:

‘I don’t want to be part of a church that is renowned for building good venues, or for doing good services. I don’t want the church of my generation to be remembered for the great music we have produced or the talented worship leaders we’ve have.

I don’t want to be part of a church where everyone is lovely and I don’t want to be part of a church where I’m friends with everyone.

The church I want to be part of is in love with and in awe of Jesus.  Where the most important part of everything we do together is whether or not Jesus shows up. A church that is totally sold out for Him, where nothing else matters.  A church that will do anything to connect with their God, even if that means late nights and early mornings everyday, we will do what it takes.  Because the truth is if we seek His Kingdom first, everything else will fall into place.

If we are the church and we do it right, this will become so attractive to people who don’t yet belong to us, that they will want to come in and we will take them in, us connecting with each other and with our God will be our outreach and our mission.

I want to be part of a church that’s raw and that’s real.  A church that is searching for meaning.

I want to be part of real support network where we can call upon each other whenever and wherever we need to.  It’s safe to be honest and vulnerable.  It’s not meant to be fun all the time, but it’s not meant to be hard all the time either. We will see and know the joy that surpasses all understanding, daily.

The church is accountable, and responsible for each other.

The Church I want to be part of is a place where there is an opportunity for collective worship, through song and by other means.

The church I want to be a part of understands that people are different, and that one congregation doesn’t fit all but ultimately we all fit together.

The community in which the church is, is not necessarily the place where they live but the group of people whom they are a part of, that could be the people who they work with or their social group or their family’s, but these are the people who they reach out to.

I want to be part of a church that lives in the reality of the cross.

I want to believe that there is a place for everyone in the church and that if I’m in my right place that when I’m not there I’ll be missed, not in an arrogant way but just in a where’s Sarah, it’s not the same without her, no one can fulfil my role the way I do.  Everyone’s contribution is valid and valuable.  The church aught to be a place where people are changed and where transformations occur – we shouldn’t be the same person who arrived.

We need to make disciples of each other and make ourselves vulnerable enough for others to make disciples of us.

I read it again and I cried a little.

During the time I wrote this the house group I was a part of was working out whether or not to go it alone as a house church. Ultimately, we decided we’d be better off on our own. I left the group about 18 months after it’s formation moving London to study theology and about a year after that the group stopped meeting altogether. I tell you this to give you some of my back-story, not because I think our church failed, but because I think it was brilliant, it was just what a lot of needed for that time.

The reason that I cried was because I was such and idealist young person. I wasn’t satisfied with where I was, for sure, but I had aspirations about where I wanted to be. So often these days I’m cynical but I produce no alternative. I say that things are bad, but that’s just how things are.

I’m not saying that I was right in all the things I wrote, but at least I had purpose; If I wrote it now I’d certainly be more articulate and my theology better.

Someone once said that we should be the change we want to see. I’ve not been that I’ve been that and for that I am sorry.

Thanks so much for reading, it really does mean the world to me, I tweet here, you should take a look I’m pretty entertaining.

 

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Twenty-Nine Lessons I’ve Learned in Twenty-Nine Years.

This week I had my twenty-ninth birthday. I’ve spent a lot of time with my good friends, both old and new; it’s actually been one of the best birthdays of my life. If I’ve spent time with you this week, thank you! I’ve had a lovely time.

I decided to write a blog about some of the many lessons I’ve learned in life. I do hope you enjoy it.

1 – God is good.

2 – It doesn’t always feel like God is good.

3 – Your parents have more influence than you think.

4 – If you’re in a relationship that has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it at all.

5 – There’s more to enjoying your job than the money you make.

6 – Always tell the truth.

7 – There’s a different between being right and being wise.

8 – People who aren’t Christians have good lives. I mean morally good as well as materially blessed.

9 – Old friends are not necessarily the best friends.

10 – Old friends are fabulous.

11 – You don’t always get what you want.

12 – Your trust is the best thing you can give to someone.

13 – God is faithful.

14 – God knows what we want and need better than we do.

15 – Good skin is important. Cleanse, tone and moisturise twice a day.

16 – If your life doesn’t work out according to your plan, things will probably turn out better.

17 – Emotionally brave men are hotter than physically strong ones.

18 – Although wise men are hotter. Much hotter. (not the wise men, and not smart men)

19 – You can’t buy a skill; it takes hard work. I know a lot of people with expensive cameras and masses of mediocre photographs.

20 – Good friends are the family that you choose for yourself. Choose wisely, they’re sometimes more difficult to disown than actual family.

21 – You are more influenced and affected by other people than you will ever realise.

22 – ‘Everything is worth trying at least once’ is not a good proverb. I’m not talking about eating frogs legs or snails, or even bungee jumping (although, I shan’t be trying that one). I’m talking about recreation heroin use, or extra marital affairs, you know, stuff like that!

23 – The more you read the bible the more confusing it gets.

24 – You cannot force someone to learn something.

25 – Knowledge is power.

26 – Usually, the things that will make you most happy are already part of your life.

27 – Kind people are the best kind of people.

28 – It’s okay to be wrong sometimes.

29 – Monkeys are not bears.