Ahhhh, Church .
The reverberations of the post reached as far as the land-down-unda....
I received a comment this afternoon from a friend I first met twenty years ago... (Whaaaaaaat?!) during a particularily churchy experience. After attending Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre on Thetis Island, B.C., a group of tra-la-laa-ing young, fresh-faced students spent a few weeks one summer doing a bit of a stint across Canada, visiting our churches of origin and wow-ing them with our music and drama. In a dusty van, part way past Silberfeld church (our first stop) and somewhere before Vancouver, I met an irreverent, reverent, fiesty woman. Our sarcasm and love for laughter made us an instant value combo pack. What began as a shared experience on the "Whole Heart Tour", evolved into a friendship that found us sharing home, car, job,clothes, family, tears, laughs, and sometimes trading identities, just to see if we could convince people that it was actually I who was visiting from Australia, and Donna who was born and bred Manitoban. (the guys always found the Australian more fascinating. That was my incentive, I'll never know what Donna's was...)
There is likely enough to say for a few more posts, but it may entertain only me, and Donna (to honnah) and I'll spare you the agony. Suffice to say, that Donna's comment from far away in geography, and in lifetimes (we've not communicated for about 15 years....) is the impetus I needed to revisit the church theme.
There was something about the responses to that post which revived my nemesis: Fear of success, and Fear of failure. I suddenly felt as though I was wearing a lapel mic and had my car parked in the "guest speaker" spot in the parking lot. I felt self-conscious. It wasn't in a bad way, but awkward like the first time you sing into a microphone and recognize that you've shamelessly amplified your voice into an audience.
But the audience in this case sang back. And I've not re-joined the harmony until now.
And so, for all of you in the choir loft, here's what I mean to say. We are the church. We all have our parts, and they may or may not fit into an existing program. If we've been wounded by the very place that should offer healing, then let these be the gashes which God bleeds through. Let's not be cynical, nor naive. Let's not presume to have the answers. Let us always entertain the notion that we too, may be wrong, may be hurtful. Be gentle with those filled to capacity with idealisms, perfectly constructed boxes, impatient with shades of grey.
We've much to learn, as always. And the teacher, the Holy Spirit, has ways of teaching that are refreshingly unusual and unconventional. He doesn't run on standard time, but that doesn't equate unreliability. He can redeem time anyway, so all you've really got to do is be honest about your disappointments and questions.
And now, in closing...(shuffle, shuffle,) because I can't resist yanking your girdle just a little.... I can't believe its God's idea to put giant lighted billboards outside of church establishments and embellish them with cheesey quips. Bring back the "seeker service" if you must, but please, PLEASE, rearrange the letters that spell out disastrous nonsense like what I had to drive past all last summer on the way to my brother's hospital room:
So, you think this is HOT?