Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Unintended Consequences

Vacation time is slowly coming to a close, and so I'm trying to squeeze in as much family and friend time as possible. Tonight, my sister and I went to my brother James' house to play Settlers of Catan with him and his two kids, Kai and Raj. At first, my sister Dianne didn't want to play, but the game caught her attention as she watched us play and she finally jumped in. Needless to say, we all had a really great time.

While we were playing, we somehow got onto the topic of church. I noticed this happens quite frequently around me, go figure. My brother mentioned that he's been getting further and further away from the church, and now that this thing happened to me, it only justifies his belief that the church is full of bigots. I tried to explain to him that everyone has flaws and that it's human nature to be divisive, but he had a point. I didn't have a lot of firm ground to stand on, especially in light of what did in fact happen to me because of the church.

I love God and have pretty much always loved God. For most of my life, I have equated this love with loving and caring for and being a part of the church. Is this incorrect? Obviously, I still want to be part of the church: I haven't dropped out of school and fully intend to graduate and become the senior pastor at a cafe church someday, but it is becoming increasingly hard to tell people that attending church is a good thing. A lot of the people there just aren't giving me very much to work with.

So, how do you explain to people that church is a good thing? Do you in fact believe that going to church is a good thing?

I think church is good for us, because as human beings, we are designed to worship God. It's kind of like how cars are designed to run on gas. This "argument" works for me, but I can see how it might not work when looked at from the other side.

How do you tell someone to hang out with a bunch of hypocritical bigots who have relegated someone you love to a level of second class citizenship?


  1. Great questions Charles. I think every church tries to be the body and presence of Christ in the world as best as they can/understand how. Not every congregation will fit every individual. On the one hand, I want to say: "Not all churches are bigoted and cruel," and I think this is true. On the other hand, the PCUSA (Church, with a big "c") has and continues to systematically discriminate against GLBT individuals whose earnest desire is to serve God and God's people with joy, intelligence and love. Has your brother considered looking for a different congregation in which he feels more at home and more embodies the Gospel to him?

    Thanks for your post. Peace.

  2. I know not all churches are bigoted, but it seems like it's getting harder and harder to find one that isn't, but at the same time moves your soul. We're used to a more praise oriented service, but it seems like the kinds of churches that offer those lean towards the "conservative." He's been drifting away from the church for a while; maybe he's using this latest episode in our lives to justify it.