Angry at Church and Christianity!

I hear that more and more.  Nearly every time I speak somewhere, I have a handful of people who come to me and share some painful experience they've had with the church or Christianity (whatever they might think that means).  What it really means is that they've been hurt by someone. People. Those darn people.  Thankfully, I'm not one of them.  :)  

There are several responses I see these days from the people who have been hurt by people:

1.  They leave the "church" altogether hoping that will help.

2.  They stay in the church but guard their hearts.  

3.   They go to a new church or start a "home church."

Guess what the problem is with each of these responses. Did you guess it?  It's obvious. There are still people wherever they go.  "People" is one thing you can't get away from.  Even you (reading this) might be one of "them."  A "people."  Not one of "those" types, but possibly some type.  

A wise man told me once that whenever I'm hurt or confused I should go back to the last thing that I think God said, and keep doing that.  Another way to say this is - stay put.  When in doubt, don't leave.  

Even a wiser man said (I think it may have been a Palestinian Jew a couple thousand years ago, but I think he may still be right) - that we should work things out. Go to those "people" who are being jerks and make it right. Even if it's not your fault (and is it ever my fault)?        :)

Stay.  Work it out.  You can't escape people.  And it might just be God's plan that we make the world  a better place through the pain and joys of relationships. Good old fashioned, sloppy, hard relationships.  Maybe.


Cheri' said...

I love your theology Carl! It would appear the Epistles agree with you -- or you agree with them.

God is a relational God -- Father, Son & Holy Spirit in right relationship with one another. Unity! If we, as His "people" can work through our differences, "stay put", and let Him change us in the midst of our pain, perhaps we can reflect Him more accurately to the world around us. I think it might be a great witness!

Evidently so did He ... and I quote Jesus when He said ..."By this will all men KNOW that you are MY DISCIPLES, if you have LOVE, one for another."

steven hamilton said...

great stuff makes me wonder what happened to having fortitude to face adversity, and where grace and the power of forgiveness went?

it also reminds of what i read recently from henri nouwen:

"home is not always comfortable and community is not easy. In every community the healing of acceptance haapens and deep betrayal takes place. Our humanity with all its splendor the the hurt of pain emerges...Jesus identifies his community...including "Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor"...There is always someone in the community who betrays your trust or hands you over to something painful or unwanted."

just like you, this isn't to obscure or ignore people's pain, but to point to something obvious: we have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.