Friday, 15 August 2014

Why I Haven't "Given up on the Church"

This morning, I read an article entitled Why You Shouldn’t Give up on the Church.

The author is the son of a 'famous' christian. I am a 'nobody' in that particular world.

He thinks "church is messy by nature." I have found it not messy, but dangerous.

He says, "it’s where Jesus’ people are connected." I find I can connect with Jesus's people wherever I meet them.

He opines that, "To leave the Church is to hurt yourself and to hurt others." I left because it was the only way to stop the hurt.

His judgement: "leaving the Church... is escapism." My experience: leaving the institution was the only way to escape the abuse.

His words seem to equate 'church' with a building or institution. My understanding of the word 'church' is that it's a living body.

He talks of "doing church." I speak of being the church.

He concludes, "No matter your frustrations and hurts, it cannot be abandoned. You need it now whether you know it or not, and someday you will have a need nothing and no one else can meet. And the Church will be where Jesus shows Himself to you."

My response to him?

I rejoice in your experience, but it is not universal. Please don't present it as an incontrovertible reality. That hurts.

I not only can, but I have abandoned what you seem to call 'church'.

But I have not "given up on the church", which is the body of Christ. I have given up on an institution.

I do not "need it". I need to feel safe when I meet with my brothers and sisters.

'The church' is not my sufficiency. Jesus Christ is.

And he can show himself to me wherever and whenever he chooses.

So please don't put him (or me) in a box. I love him too, you know.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Toxic Church

Dear Institutional Church,

I am reminded again today how toxic you can be.

You see, my mother has just died and I'm stressing about the funeral.

Not for the reasons most people stress about funerals. You know, fears about saying the wrong thing, or not being able to control the emotions, or having to face saying goodbye.

No. I'm stressing about my brother and sister-in-law being there.

Because the last time my brother spoke to me was when he told me that I was a trouble maker and said I should leave the church.

He knew this because board member D had passed judgement against me, and D was a "godly man" so he must be right.

He also knew because he chose to listen to the poisoned words of elder J and his wife who were so intent on becoming the leaders of the church they didn't care who they hurt in the process.

The last time my sister-in-law spoke to me… well, let's just say that if looks could kill, I'd have been instantly laid out stone cold dead from the venom in her eyes. The time before that, she'd screamed at me in front of her children and mine.

Since then, they've refused to speak to me - completely cut off any contact.

You see, this is the fruit of toxic churchianity.

Shattered relationships - friends and families torn apart.

People thrown under the bus. Real people. People who do forgive and heal and 'move on'.

But the bus doesn't stop. It keeps coming back and running us over again.

Because we have to live with the ongoing judgement and shunning and rejection. We cannot avoid the bitter fruit from the seeds you plant, or escape the consequences of the actions you chose to take.

I just can't understand how you can possibly think this is ok.

And I'm sorry if it offends you, but it makes me wonder what sort of a god you serve...