Driving a Wedge

August 28, 2007 at 11:18 am 8 comments

girl-shrugging-shoulders.jpg Since I posted last time, a friend of mine has gotten “fired” from the church. Supposedly, it’s nothing more than a business decision … finances being what they are, and all.

But how can an organization that claims to follow the God that owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” ever claim financial problems as a reason for letting go someone that two years ago would move “the structure” forward in the ways of God … or the ways of God as perceived by the leadership?

The truth of the matter is that this guy was pushing for integrity in the leadership. He was asking tough questions, and after a while, started to infringe on what the current leadership was “comfortable” with dealing with. Under fear and self-preservation (because you know, people who question rock the boat and might get the people around them a little wet), I believe the “powers that be” came up with a convenient way of dealing with their “problem.”

So those of us “on the outside,” who appreciated the stuff this guy was championing, are reeling again. But see, we “at the church” are use to living with this kind of bullshit. People come and go in this profession as the hierarchy determines who will best meet their current needs. People are fodder, to make the machine go. And while we dress it up all nicely, each time something like this happens, it proves to me that “the structure” really isn’t very interested in the God they say they serve at all.

Now, all my friend who are atheists reading this are smiling, saying, “Yep. We’re right about God and the church and all things spiritual.” And sad to say, you are dead-on about the structure commonly known as “the church”. But I want to put a disclaimer in here: We as humans have barely a clue as to what God intended for us here. That is an on-going journey of discovery … something very personal and meant to be reflected in the way we live our lives, treat those in need, share our possessions, etc. I can’t imagine living life without being a spiritual person. Personally, I will not let anything wrapped in the stupidity of man raise doubts in me about God.

However, here’s how I see “organized” religion (an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one!) The structure took a few vague feelings, some well-written stories, sprinkled a healthy dose of control and power over it all, tossed it in a bowl called money, and said, “Ta-da! Here’s the church.” And for years, good people have blindly given themselves over to it. Some, with the hopes of doing good for their fellow man. Hoping somehow this institution would do what it said. Silly us.

Some have given themselves over because that’s all they know. Or looking for relief from this thing we call life. Or because that’s what their family did. Or … a million other reasons. But somewhere along the line, many give up their God-given ability to think for themselves.

My Christian friends out there are saying, “Oh, poor dear. She’s reacting to the hurt caused by this situation to her friend and his family and she’s just venting angrily.” No, you’re wrong. See, I’ve seen this scenario way too many times for it just to be a personal, knee-jerk reaction. Yeah, there’s hurt. But think about your own lives; your own situations. Isn’t it time we stop talking and begin doing something? I know there are exceptions — I see it right here, in the structure I am chained to. But overall, you gotta admit that most things that happen in “church” are self-propagating, and about maintaining the way things are done. Because if we convince ourselves long enough that “we” are right and “they” are wrong, if we yell it loud enough and long enough, we have a vested interest in making sure “they” damn well become convinced, too.

This thing that happened yesterday really isn’t a surprise for me. But it definitely has driven a wedge deeper into my heart and the “thing” called church. I begged my husband (who is a part of this organization) to show me I was wrong. To give me hope.

I’m still waiting.

- lostgirlfound

[read other posts by lostgirlfound]

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God may have created you to be an apostate! On what basis do Christians reject other gods?

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike  |  August 28, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Some of your comments kinda reminded me about when the Psychic Friends Network went bankrupt, everyone said “Gee, you think they would have seen that one coming.”

    You are right, too often the thing we call “church” just isnt willing to deal with the mess it creates. Too often people prefer to avoid the minor uncomfortableness of a confrontation with someone today, so that in a week the dang thing has snowballed into a huge deal and now we have to take sides.

    It all comes down to humility, the thing that I hear you crying out for which I wholeheartedly agree with.

  • 2. Michael  |  August 28, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    WoW!!!
    Just came across you blog. After I read more and learn more of you background. I will look forward to your dialoge. I do understand what you are talking about but use it as an excuse to down grade who God is…?

  • 3. karen  |  August 28, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I’m so sorry this happened, lostgirl. I had similar “duh!” moments when I was involved in churches.

    Strangely enough, it wasn’t anything negative that happened in church that started me on the journey to being an atheist. It was much more a curiosity and then an openness and then a commitment to following what I saw as truth wherever it led – including non-belief.

    You wrote:
    I can’t imagine living life without being a spiritual person. Personally, I will not let anything wrapped in the stupidity of man raise doubts in me about God.

    Can you write a little more about this? I’m curious what the thought of living life without supernatural belief dredges up in you – fear? sadness? worry about the afterlife or missing out on it?

    I think it’s interesting how different people move away from faith at different rates and stop at different places.

  • 4. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Lostgirlfound: I’m sorry to hear about what’s happening at your church. What a mess. As a pastor myself, I understand “the back room” of the church … and it’s often quite ugly. In my experience I have found far too many pastors, elders, and deacons who think it’s their job to “run the church” rather than function as the lead servants. The result is churches treated like secular corporations where egos, power plays and politics rule the day. Try not to narrow your blame upon what Scripture calls “the church” … the concept of “the church” has divine origins … it’s the people who mess it up (what else is new?). I agree with Mike above … greater humility is required in the church. We must continue to reform the church from within (semper reformanda!). Hang tough and be a part of the solution!

    Know this: your faith is being tested and it will produce endurance … and this trial will lead to greater maturity. So rejoice! (James 1:2-4). God is still on His throne and He’s at work … in spite of us!

    Peace.

  • 5. HeIsSailing  |  August 28, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    lostgirlfound – I have never been involved with church politics or leadership. My home bible studies and street missions are about the extent of it for me.

    So those of us “on the outside,” who appreciated the stuff this guy was championing, are reeling again.

    But with that said, do you think that ultimately this might be a good thing? I am not sure what this guy is championing, or if you think his issues, questions or causes are good, but do you think good things really only come from rocking the boat a little? Even if there is initial pain and confusion, maybe ultimate good for you, in whatever form that may take, will come out of it.

  • 6. lostgirlfound  |  August 29, 2007 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for the dialogue …
    HelsSailing … yes, I definately think this is a good thing. After talking to my friends, I believe they are excited about whatever might come next! I’m hoping they continue to “champion” these causes outside the building, but we’ll see …
    pj11 … I’m a part of what I consider “the church” outside the structure. So sorry for the misunderstanding. No, I think the Body that we are a part of (the living, breathing community that we share) is definately the intended use of the word “church”. My railings are aimed at “the structure” known as organized religion. And while I believe the first is instituted by what we call “the Bible,” I don’t see a lot of evidence for the second — regardless of what people “in the system” say.
    Karen … I’m going to think about that. I love question that make me dig deeper, so thanks!
    Michael … how did I downgrade God? I thought I actual made a pretty clear distinction between “the structure” and God. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your question …
    Mike… Yeah, I’ve been accused of “duh” more than once! Chalk it up to a naive (“innocent”?) nature and a hope somewhere deep inside of me that someone will prove my cynacism wrong.

  • 7. societyvs  |  August 30, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Lostgirlfoud – if you have a blog I will be linking to it – awesome story! I think it reveals a lot fo the same things I have been saying for years about the structure of the church – it’s such a shallow institution in a lot of ways (and has left all us Christians who left to find a place to learn more about the actual teachings of Christ – and not those of a denomination). I think your friend did the right thing – got booted – now he can speak directly to the congregation on their level and not be of the ‘superiors’ – watch – he will get way more done this way!

  • 8. The de-Convert  |  August 30, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    svs,

    Here’s info. on lostgirlfound with a link to her blog:

    http://de-conversion.com/contributors/#lostgirlfound

    Paul

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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