I love my church. I say this at the risk of turning away readers, because for some people, the word “church” is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard. Others find the word even more upsetting, because, unfortunately there are way too many people out there who have suffered spiritual abuse, and so they connect the word “God” with something unspeakable. I ask that you stick with me, though. Trust this stranger for just a few minutes and hear me out. Let me share with you my thoughts on why church-y people have become the enemy.
To offer an analogy, here are my thoughts on marriage. I tend to be somewhat anti-marriage, when in reality, the institution (love that word) isn’t always the problem; it’s often the spouses who have made it a dirty word for me. I know two, yes, exactly TWO happily married couples, out of the dozens of married friends I have. Depressing, isn’t it? I am trying to not eschew marriage completely (although it isn’t right for me at this time) and to stay open to its potential goodness. I think people see religion the same way. So many people have done so many ugly things in the name of the church, that just the mention of God is frightening.
I’ll be honest. I am a Jesus freak. Yet, I don’t think you need to love Jesus, or even know Him, to “get it.” or to get me. I really hope my pastor isn’t reading this. What I am trying to say is that I am a Christian because I believe in the essence of what Jesus is. I believe that selflessness, unconditional love, service, and yes, even miracles, are what make life worth living. I think they exist, and I think we all have the capacity to be loving without limits. I do personally have a relationship with a power I believe to be God/Jesus, but I recognize that maybe those guys really are named George and Jane. Who the heck knows? That’s why it is called “faith.”
I am saddened that so many monstrosities have been performed in the name of God. I’d be pretty pissed if someone went out and robbed a liquor store and spray painted my name on the door when he left. It might cause people to doubt me. It might cause people to judge me. It might cause people to feel hurt because they trusted me. Now Alinda is the bad guy. I know it’s simplifying things, but I think about weird stuff like that. I do know, however, that there is a power way bigger and way smarter than I, a power that isn’t destroyed by His name being sullied. He is bigger than that. I suspect Jesus loves it when someone spray paints his name on a door. It gets people talking.
I don’t have any answers, and I can’t convince you that God is good. But I hope that you might feel compelled to at least start thinking about it.
In Truth and Love,