Part of the Problem (the way I see it, anyway)
“Christian churches in Europe and North America were deeply involved in colonialism and, until the nineteenth century, deeply involved in slavery. When the church is that complicit in a lot of injustice in this world, I think it becomes harder for them to really face the call of the gospel on them for how they behave in this world. It’s very tempting just to focus on the gospel as something out of this world and after this life.” — Brian McClaren
As you guys know, I’m still coming to terms with it all. Since I’m married to a man I love deeply — and he happens to be a pastor — I have a vested interest in coming to terms with an organization I think is corrupt, in most cases, beyond redemption (please note: not all). In addition, as all my close friends remind me frequently, there’s little they can do to help. Most of them have had the opportunity to walk away. Me? Yeah, that would cause a little disturbance at home …
So I read the things McClaren says, and I think, “Wow. Here’s ‘one of them’ saying the same things that echo through my heart. Because, whether you believe in the Divine or not, it seems to make sense to want to help people who need help — the poor, the oppressed, the enslaved, the screwed-over ones. Since most of us fall into one or the other of those categories, I think we have an innate empathy that draws us to do “something.”
I bet, if I took an informal poll of the folks that frequent this site, I’d see people who actually “help” more than many of my “good church people.” Now, don’t misread this: many folks in the church have helped our family time and time and time again. And I deeply appreciate this. But I also know that, for an organization founded by a drifting anarchist who spoke of loving others as ourselves, and spent more time talking about how we are to treat one another than ignoring the world’s problems and preparing for the “great by and by,” organized, westernized, capitalized Christianity has failed greatly. And I think McClaren hit it on the head when he suggested it is the church’s investment in the injustices that benefit them is a big part of the problem.
So, what’s a girl to do? I’ve come to terms with the fact that whatever I do, I’m not going to “change the system.” Using their own terminology, I don’t think “the organized structure” people know as the church is even biblical, so changing it becomes a mute point for me. I try to rest in just “being,” continuing my own journey, helping people where I can, loving unconditionally, etc. But still, my heart wrestles with itself.
I’ve come to trust many people in this blogging community. How have those of you who live in a “world divided” come to terms with things? Do you still struggle — one minute wanting to run, the next wanting to stand on a soapbox and intellectually dismantle those who see themselves as superior to you, the next minute feeling pity on those caught in the system?
I don’t want to be part of the problem … but rather part of the solution that makes life here on earth a little less hellish for whoever I can help.
Looking for your feedback …