Do you have a Church of Christ background?
Awesome! So do I!
I was raised attending a small country Church of Christ (COC) congregation in central Alabama. When I got married, at the young age of 18, my wife and I moved to Montgomery, where we attended a COC for 12 years before starting a (title-free) assembly that meets in our home.
I'm thankful for my COC background and upbringing, which has been a tremendous blessing.
And yet, as I'm sure you would agree, no congregation or fellowship this side of eternity is faultless or perfect. The COC is no exception.
Over the years, as I continue to study and grow, I've learned some lessons that have transformed my thinking.
On occasion, I interact with Christians who:
- Also have a COC background,
- Are diligently seeking GOD and trying to grow, and ...
- Struggle with various frustrations related to COC doctrine or viewpoints.
When this happens, my heart goes out to them. I want to help.
In these situations, I face a challenge, one that is growing over time. Let me explain ...
(Brief aside: I hesitate to continue this train of thought here because I fear I may sound ... condescending, proud, haughty or arrogant. I feel none of those emotions. Instead, I aim to project humility. I have much to learn and continue to wrestle with my imperfections, just as you do. Despite my hesitations, I'm going to say these things because they need to be said. I can't help if I don't say this. And I want to help.)
Whenever 2 people converse about any subject, the conversation begins with us knowing nothing about what the other person thinks regarding the topic being discussed. We can assume but we don't know.
Consider the following illustration.
Imagine you are having a conversation with a friend about, let's say, how to interpret the Scriptures.
You know where you stand on the subject, but until you ask, you don't know what the other person thinks about the topic.
Your thinking is represented by the left-hand circle. The other person's thinking is represented by the right-hand circle. The difference in your collective thinking is represented by the line between the circles. If you think similarly, the line is shorter—perhaps the circles even partially overlap. If you strongly disagree, the line may be longer.
Now let's consider how time impacts the illustration.
GOD's purpose for us is to grow so that we become more like Jesus. Growth implies change over time. We have to change our thinking, speech and behavior to more closely align with Jesus'.
Show me a person who has not changed their mind about something from the Scriptures and I will show you a person who is not growing.
Therefore, if we are growing, we are changing. If we are changing, then our perspective (our circle) is moving.
I believe I've grown a lot, especially since I began the studies in 2009 that led me to leave our COC congregation and start a new assembly meeting in our home.
In fact, my circle has moved a lot ... in a good way. I understand many aspects of the Scriptures far differently (and, I think, more accurately) today than I did then. And, LORD-willing, the same will be true 10 years from now as compared to today. That's not to my glory; it's GOD's glory. He's the one who produces the fruit in our lives. We just surrender ourselves as the vessel. He deserves the praise.
The result, as it relates to my COC friends, is that the perspective gap is large and widening between myself and those currently "in" the COC system (i.e., those whose thinking and perspective closely aligns with COC doctrine).
As we study and grow, our thinking evolves. We chase after Jesus (thus the site's name) as He leads us down an unknown path. We can't see far ahead, we just trust our Leader. Faith!
Along the journey, we have these milestone "revelations"—a ha! realizations where we see that what we used to think was partially, or sometimes totally inaccurate. In these moments, we face a choice: stay where we are or go where we believe He's leading. We choose the path of faith. When the Scriptures convince us, we drop our past beliefs and embrace our new understanding.
These moments are often painful and can take significant time to get completely used to the new way of thinking. Even months or years later, you can catch yourself "slipping up" and reverting to your past view because it is so deeply ingrained.
These changes form milestone markers in life's journey. We press on, ever hungry to discover what else GOD is going to show us needs to change, what else we've misunderstood. The hunger is insatiable. Not because we feel the need to be "right" or learn all that there is to know or earn salvation or any such nonsense, but because we simply want to be like Jesus and with Jesus. And when we see Him leading, pressing onward and upward, we follow.
Imagine yourself running this jungle pathway chasing the Lion of Judah ... for 10 years! Or 20!
Now, stop running!
Somebody is calling you! They need your help! Where are they?!?
Your love compels you. You must go back. You must help them.
It's your turn to show them the way. How do you lead them down the path to show them where you are and point ahead to where you are going?
After breathing a deep sigh and gathering your courage, you turn around.
You head back where you were. Your milestones now become breadcrumbs leading you back to the one in need.
Finally, you get back to the starting point. You find them and grab them by the hand and turn around to once again travel the path you've previously traversed.
It's an exercise of love. You can do it, it is worth it, but it's painful.
Eventually you arrive back where you were. Now there's two of you. It was worth the effort, but now you're exhausted.
Now, imagine you run another 5 years only to have to do it all over again. And again. And again.
The reality is that shifting your mind back into the "COC mindset" is hard and gets harder the farther ahead you've gone. (I'm not saying it's inherently worse; it's just a different way of thinking—a different way of looking at GOD, His will and His Word.)
That's where I'm at. And that's why I created the following resources: to help other COC seekers and to do the best possible job of "traveling the path" that I can this one time.
(Don't misunderstand me here. I'm not putting anyone down or improperly elevating myself. Nor are all COC seekers at the same place. It's a general illustration to explain how I feel, my motives and the struggle.)
So, this page is my attempt to traverse the path. To show you key lessons that I've discovered where I had to change my thinking. Places where I realized I was wrong and how shifts in thinking have paid huge dividends for me.
Let's start with this:
5 lessons that transformed my view of Scripture
This is the first of a 2-part video. Watch part 1 below. When you're ready for part 2, enter your email address below and it'll be auto-emailed to you.
If I can help you, reach out (tiharr at gmail.com). I care. I want to help.
Want to watch part 2?
Enter your email below and I'll send you part 2 of this video.