Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When Did I Stop Believing?

When did this happen?

When was it, exactly, that I woke up and realized I could no longer defend "The Church"?

I was raised in a family that went to church every single weekend and at least once during the week. Mom played the piano and Dad operated the soundboard (when he wasn't napping during the sermon). My siblings and I sang, read scripture, and even served as greeters.

As I grew, I began to see and recognize The Church had its flaws. My childhood minister had an affair with the head deacon's wife and they eventually married. Come to think of it - most of my early spiritual leaders were a bit more randy then my naive pre-teen self could ever have imagined. The Church was not immune to scandal and gossip.

Even with its faults, I saw the good and gave grace to the bad. I bought into the bumper sticker mentality that said, Not Perfect, Just Forgiven. I praised the virtues of an almighty God who was powerful enough to create the entire world and everything in it, yet gentle and personal enough to love little ol' me and live in my imperfect heart.

And then - and I don't know exactly when it was - I stopped making excuses for The Church. We are messed up. We don't need to put stickers on the shiny bumper of our brand new SUVs. The whole universe knows we're not perfect. They also believe us to be Pharisaical hypocrites, judgmental bigots, critical homophobes, and crazy loons. 

Do they have a case? Are we those things?

I love The Father. He has rescued my family and me from unimaginable chaos. He delivered us from the prison of a gravely dysfunctional church body.

We've been called to be salt and light. But too much salt kills the flavor and drowns the uniqueness of the very food it's supposed to enhance. So often, I think that's what we think our job is - to smother anyone who believes differently and who acts in opposition to our haughty perceived perfection. 

We've got to knock that crap off!

I'll keep searching for the good, and speaking out against the bad. The Church is broken and I'm not gonna fix it all by myself. I can, however, be salt and light to a world searching and to a church hurting.

Today I choose to get off the pew!

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