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…
I just spent part of the week with an old friend. We’ve known each other since we both attended a Christian college over twenty years ago. Deep rivers of relationship run between us … one of those friends you can talk to about anything.
Or at least that’s the way it use to be. Since I’ve been “coming out” of organized religion, I find I have to be very careful who I talk to about what. It’s kind of like “reverse judgment.” For many years, I was judged on the “bad” things I did or said. Now, I’m judged on the “good” things I say or do, simply because it disagrees with the “established system.” Go figure.
Anyway, after a couple of days, this friend finally asked (very loving and not judgmental- just in an earnest way), “What has brought about this ‘hating’ of the church?”
She stopped me in my tracks because I guess I never viewed it as a hatred of the church. Quite the contrary, it’s my respect of this institution and the people I love there that has kept me from totally walking out…
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my spiritual journey. See, I’m one of the masses in this generation who have kind of “woken up” to the fact that organized religion, in many ways, has done God a great disservice. Still, because of my relational connections and the needs of my family, I cannot totally walk out of “church” (a.k.a. organized religion) and never look back.
So I live in flux. I stand on the edge of westernized religion, and “see” how it has often been perverted and used for personal gain. Like so many other movements, something that I believe started out pure quickly became a tool for control and influence. A friend of mine recently commented to me that “they took Jesus, raped him, and then used his broken body to their own ends.” Strong language, but pretty accurate.