Bear with me here, I am of two minds, living large in the paradox of faith once again. First off let me say, I love my Christian Bubble. It is just beautiful here and I like it very much. I nurture this Bubble as much as possible. My Bubble is heavenly minded, there’s no cursing here, people say “please” and “thank you,” and I am truly blessed. I clearly have the Lord’s favor.
On the flip side, I am actually a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who knows the world’s darkness, perhaps better than anyone really should. That used to be a real sticky point between God and I. Like, “Lord why do you show me this ugly stuff over and over again when I am completely powerless to do anything about it??”
I didn’t understand for a number of years. I was hurt and angry and sometimes just accusing God of being mean. He is kind however, infinitely patient, and He walked me through all that and taught me that love hurts, that it is painful, that it costs us something. In order to empathize, in order to come alongside people who are lost and broken, you have to walk in their shoes, you have to feel what they feel, you have to see what they see. You have to understand, so you can love them as they need to be loved.
The Bible speaks of this truth in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Come alongside people right where they are at. Jesus Himself actually wept, He grieved with those who grieved, and if you read His words carefully you can see He really understood what was dark in the world, the nature of people’s suffering, and precisely what ailed them.
I love my own Christian Bubble, but sometimes I hate it in others, sometimes I get angry, sometimes I call Christians “the Beautiful People” and it’s not a compliment, it’s mockery, it’s resentment towards the clean and shiny churchians with their self righteous pearl clutching and feigned innocence.
Just being honest. If you think I’m being needlessly harsh, you should go read what Jesus called some who were consumed by forever wiping the outside of the cup.
I get my knickers in a twist over this matter because I truly believe it is our job to try to understand the nature of the world around us, the darkness that exists for real, and the suffering that people experience, so we can come alongside people as they walk through life. Like every time somebody asks for prayers for Aunt Ida’s corn removal surgery, I just want to slap people. Every time somebody tries to tell me about the evils of Magic cards, but seem to have no awareness the actual practicing satanists right in front of them, I just want to scream.
When elders, pastors, and churchians say things like, “Fortunately we don’t have to deal with any of those things in our church,” something inside of me just writhes around in agony. I think it’s the struggle I experience not being able to just wrap my hands around your neck and give you good shaking.
Those “things” are things like suicide, addiction, depression, addiction, divorce, sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction, child abuse, addiction, and codependency. Did I mention the addiction? Any church that claims to have no knowledge, no awareness of addiction issues, is a negligent church.
If I have to know about this stuff, then you do too.
Like maybe some of those “things” you claim your church doesn’t have to deal with, ought to be sent in for a paternity test? Yeah, much of the world’s darkness, much of the world’s sin, has Beautiful People’s DNA stamped all over it. I know, I have bags under my eyes from always trying to deal with it ALONE. If your church “doesn’t have those issues,” your church is simply being negligent and avoidant.
If I have to know about this stuff, than you do too.
Flat out, if you are a pastor and you know nothing of what the real world is like for real people, if you know nothing of the darkness people face, you need to go get yourself informed, because all you are is a fresh faced Instagram model who will soon be deconstructing his faith, leaving the church, and posting long rambling screeds about “ideologies.” Seriously, I bear witness to this silliness everyday. I’ll spare you all the links.
Somebody smart coined a meme, a quote. “The only difference between Illness and Wellness, is that one word starts with an ‘I’ and the other with a ‘We.’ ” We heal in community, we heal in unity, we heal at the foot of the cross. We were designed for relationship with Jesus, but relationship with one another too.
I get cranky, I get angry, when I look at what the church should be versus what it is. True, I should probably develop more grace, more patience for people in general, but conversely, I think we just settle, I think we just grow attached to our comfort zones, and afraid to rock the boat. I think some people just really need a good kick in the pants.
If we believe souls are at stake, but the most important thing to us is denouncing the communion dippers and the baptismal sprinklers, the mega churches and the Trump supporters, the heretics and cultians, the twitter and the facebook, then something has gone all awry with our mission statement.
We people, we Christians, can just be unbelievably hypocritical. Like if we believe that souls are at stake and yet we’ve never even tried to invite anyone to church, never even spoken to our friends, neighbors, coworkers about the Lord, what is wrong with us??