Let the Church say amen
When I began thinking about writing again I knew that this was something I was going to write about. It was a situation that taught me a lot and I really hope that I am able to do it justice with my writing.
I can recall being made to feel like I wasn’t Holy enough to have a prayer group in my home. To some it may sound crazy but that is a very real experience. I can remember having somebody pray with me about lust (and that was totally NOT what I went up for prayer about). I have had some terrible church experiences. These experiences were perpetuated by a lack of taking scripture in context and handed down by prideful people. There is no way I could verbalize every little experience but hopefully at the end of this I can encourage someone who has felt ostracized by the church.
A large purpose of the church is relational. Since it is made up of people, some good some really messed up, the church can often be really messed up. The issue lies in the fact that the church has a responsibility to do better, we can’t just shrug off the messed-up parts. If it seems like I am coming from a place of hurt, I’m sorry but I’m not. I am not hurt by this organization. I think I could have been, but God blocked it. I am just tired of seeing the damage that has been done by prideful leaders who have clung to doctrine and tradition that they think is correct. I could take the time to go through scripture about love, grace, and letting God transform people rather than people transforming people. We could do that, but since I have seen the church use scripture out of context to abuse people I would rather not. Instead let us talk about real world situations that I have witnessed.
I remember crying on my bathroom sink because I was being taught that wearing pants and jewelry was wrong, but it wouldn’t settle in my spirit. I remember crying out like “God if this is true just let me accept it”.
I can remember a pastor using his pulpit to admonish people, rather than going to them privately in love.
I can remember ugliness being hid behind “A spirit of perfection” and that being something we all mimicked like brainwashed drones.
I can remember told I couldn’t be a greeter anymore because I was wearing make-up.
I can remember the ostracization of the single mothers, of anyone really who questioned any of these things… and please don’t question it because “rebelliousness is of witchcraft”, another phrase they all mimicked.
I can remember right before I left, crying to a friend of mine because I had been told by the first lady that a young single mother I know could not have her baby shower at the church. HA! It’s laughable now but at the time I cried. I cried because I cannot imagine that this is what Jesus had in mind. I have seen people destroyed, their faith destroyed. I have seen scandal covered up BY THE SAME LEADERS WHO TEACH TRANSPARENCY. It’s sad. It is. I consider myself blessed. For all my wanting to fit in, for all the agonizing over fitting in, God kept me. I thought I was discarded but actually I was being protected.
When I left there were no hard-good byes. I was able to just chuck the deuces and move on. I found another wonderful church but for all the hidden things at the other I was unable to move there as I could have. I attended but I wasn’t really involved. I couldn’t open up to the people really because I had been snubbed before. Old issues from my old place of fellowship carried over but THAT never caused me to question God. (there have been other things I will put those on other blogs). I never questioned church either. I have been blessed to see great churches.
It is a hard thing to continue to believe in God when the people that were supposed to be his leaders treat you wrong. It is hard when the place that you should go to feel loved, rejects you. I thank God there were enough genuine Christians around me that my relationship with God wasn’t strained forever. As much as I had great memories from churches it wasn’t my everything. The rejection allowed me space to make my own relationship with God and that is why I can stand so assured in what I believe. However, that shouldn’t be our story as Christians. We have a responsibility and I heard it best that “you can’t antagonize and evangelize”. We wonder why people are rejecting the church left and right? It’s because the church rejected them. The crazy thing about it is people are clinging to every other form of spirituality. EVERYTHING. Good vibes, energies, crystals, horoscopes, EVERYTHING and ANYTHING because there is something in our soul that knows it doesn’t come from this earth. ‘If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”-C.S. Lewis. Everybody isn’t going to come, everyone isn’t going to want to hear it, but we can do a helluva lot better loving on those that are actually in our doors. We should be a light in the world but how can we when we aren’t even a light in our own buildings.
People usually approach me one or two ways. A- “I know you’re a Christian so I won’t do …. around you” or B- shock at the dedication I have to this life and the Bible. It’s something I just don’t get… well I do. They expect me to judge them, make them uncomfortable or treat them harshly OR because I am absolutely nothing like that they question it. It’s crazy because the Jesus who we claim to love was BARELY around the “church people” back in the day, actually they wanted to kill him. How can we witness to a world that think we’re unapproachable OR EVEN WORSE that we think are untouchable?
I am sorry to anyone the church hurt. I am sorry to the people who I have seen be hurt. Not that I perpetuated it, I was hurt too, but we must start somewhere… Amen? Amen.