Posted: March 14, 2007 in Church, Perspective

Am I wasting my time?  How much do I care about people?

What have I done in the past week to prove that I do care?

Why do people, in the midst of seeing awesome things happen in people’s lives, inevitably dwell on the negative?

I’ve worked in a church in one way or another since 1993.  I think that makes me a religious freak, though most Christians would tell you that makes me a ‘good Christian.’  Does it?


In fact, in that time, I seem to have experienced all sorts of malfunctions that usually relate to personality conflicts among supposed brothers/sisters in Christ or some sort of my-hands-are-tied situation in a church where committees and long-standing members fear things like “change” or “reaching people.”

Some of my gripes:

1.  “We won’t fund the youth ministry because we’d rather fund our senior ministry.”  No, I’m not callous towards the elderly, but when a church dumps all its funds into senior ministry, it’s not focusing on the future.  Obviously.

2.  Telling someone they’re not a leader when your own perception of what a leader should be is nothing more than a caricature of one leadership type.  Don’t even get me started on how many people’s ethusiasm to make a difference was crushed when hearing this one, in site of their gifts and leadership.

3.  Thinking only you “get it.”  God didn’t only reveal his vision/mission/purpose and how to change the world to just you.

4.  Fear of change that keeps people tied to a system/structure that will never let them see their potential and never help them find real joy in serving God.

5.  Micro-management.  Do I even need to elaborate?

6.  Judgmentalism, legalism, traditionalism.

7.  Wounded people who choose not to heal.  Why?  I have no freakin’ idea.  But some people are just happier in misery.  They’re happier waiting for things to go wrong.  They’re more than happy to point out when they do.

8.  Intelligence does NOT equal wisdom.  I love smart people.  But I hate it when smart people become self-appointed oracles of truth and perspective.  Again – being smart does not make you wise.

I have reason to gripe.  I could dwell all day on what went wrong, when it happened, and who did it.  And I’d be in good company with many of the other people I’ve worked with who shared the same gripes and have been burned spiritually.  I’d be in good company with the thousands (or millions) of people in the world who choose to sit out of all things church-related because they can’t believe crap like this could happen in an institution supposedly devoted to God.

I could be a statistic.  I could be sitting at home on Sunday mornings, enjoying personal free time to get stuff done around my house or just goof off and play the Playstation or something.

I could hold a grudge.  I could never trust another so-called Christian again.  I could rethink all my beliefs, start a Buddha Jesus hybrid faith group, and laugh at the rest of the word because only I “get it.”

I could give up.  I could forget everything that’s important to me.  After all, people have failed me enough.  Who would blame me?

But I won’t.  I won’t hold a grudge.  I won’t throw out my faith because some things have gone wrong over the years.

You see, my faith is bigger than the people who share that faith with me.  My God is bigger than that.  People may make mistakes.  Peope hurt people.  Sin is real.  But my God is also real.  I think he weeps when people hurt people, like I do.  I think he weeps when the church forgets to care about people other than the small number (or large number) of people already contained in the walls on Sunday mornings.

I think God wants me to follow Him.  Period.  Love what he loves.  Feel what he feels.  Go where he leads.

Bad things will inevitably happen in churches because churches are made up of people.

Good things will inevitably happen in churches because churches are made up of people, and God loves people.

So the real questions for me (for you, for all of us) are these:  Who am I following?  Am I in this thing for Him or me?  Have I made a difference?  Do I embody grace or frustration?  Do I really believe God can heal my wounds?

Am I making a difference?  Or am I just griping about those who are not?

Yesterday I heard someone say they had a family member who was finally coming to grips that God’s love for them is more than religious cliche, but real.  Yesterday I heard someone else say they were drawing closer to God than they had been in over 10 years.

Yesterday, I heard someone gripe about someone else, too.

Which conversation would you choose?

  1. Heretic says:

    Good post. I was wondering if it was going to come around, but you’ve got a good perspective. 😉

    Our faith needs to be placed in God, not men – because only He is immovable and perfect!


  2. Loved hearing your story but we cannot give up on the youth to spend the money on the elderly the youth are coming thru the door into the world. They well be here longer . I talk alot on my own website about the people who help other people especially those who give of their time and talent to the youth of our country . I belive that love truly is the strongest force in the world and loving other people is the most important thing we ever do while we are alive

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