The Church is Messy

Broken Glass & Shattered Memories

Yelling, Screaming, Anguish

The scene?

A church meeting about six years ago.

I cannot tell you the heartbreak I endured as Christian men and women, whose children I had grown up with, whose leadership in the church was greatly admired and respected, did battle with each other.

Feeling Alone

Sharing Deeply

Met with Stares and Ambivalence

I was seeking safe people within a small group Bible study.

To my surprise, these women, with whom I’d “done life with” were unreceptive, shallow, & curt in their responses.

These situations lead me to falsely believe that Christians are DISINGENUOUS people who will always let you down.

Always.

When I teach the skill of fact and opinion to my third graders, we look out for black and white words like ALWAYS, NEVER,  & EVERYBODY.

But somehow …

In my thinking …

I overlooked what I teach on a regular basis.

It’s like that taking the yoga off the mat idea.

It doesn’t always happen.

Oops there’s that always again.

Messy-Christianity-Web-Focus_000

The fact is that Christians are Messy. The fact is that some Christians are authentic, and some are not. Some want to be, but don’t know how because that was never modeled for them.

The fact is that Christians have passionate disagreements that cause them not to want to worship together anymore.

For some reason after that church meeting, a part of my perfect childhood dream in my head died.  The dream of: I had the perfect church experience. The dream of: all of my childhood heroes would worship together here on Earth indefinitely together.

Did the lies keep me hidden? Or did the lies cause me to hide?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I believe that God came to save the Messy. But what I mean by messy is: the poor, the addicted, the handicapped. Not: the mean-spirited, the cheaters, & the liars.

But, He came to save everyone.

Part of Christianity is accepting that you will never be perfect this side of heaven. I really have no issue with that. I’m with myself 24:7, so I completely understand that while I strive to my like Christ, I’m not actually going to be LIKE him until I am with Him.

But…

What about accepting that OTHERS (even faith giants) will never be made perfect this side of heaven?

The church is made up of other messies just like me.

Writers Note: This post was partially inspired by Mike Yaconelli’s Messy Spirituality, which I read a number of years ago.

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4 Responses to The Church is Messy

  1. deborah says:

    Your writing is so beautifully expressed and I am grateful for your honest and open spirit. I was raised Catholic and have many good memories. I also have some really upsetting memories. I am hesitant (but have gone) to a new Christian Church near my home. I am a bit afraid of the unknown, the expectations I wish I did not have but do and the fear of not being accepted. This will be a growth opportunity for me and I am willing to check it out. Bless you my friend.
    Deb

  2. Monique says:

    Hi
    People are people. The church is filled with people. I think we will always have disappointment if we look to people. God will never change his love for us.

  3. Hi! I, too, have read Yaconelli’s Messy Spirituality and found it really thought-provoking…and comforting! I am a “pastor’s kid” and, as such, thought very highly of the Church until I became a young adult and saw the derisiveness and division and mean-spiritedness. I walked away from the Church for a long time until I felt called to start searching again. I finally recognized several things: 1) I am my own mess — made beautiful through Christ; 2) the Church is made up of messy humans striving (but not always succeeding) to be Christ-like; and 3) through organized religion I can learn more about helping others who are a mess like me. So, thanks for sharing with us your thoughts about Messy Christians!

  4. Pingback: The Church is Messy | Predatory Lies

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