It’s been a long and winding journey…
After multiple entries into and exits from Christian organizations, church congregations included, I’ve wound up here – finally, a resting place for the burnt and downtrodden, a place of healing and restoration. And I am thankful. Once again, Abba has provided.
The series of events that led me to this spot has got me thinking and reflecting quite a lot recently. In my anguish and at times angst, I’ve wondered inwardly and aloud at the failure of Christian organizations to be what Christ would desire his body to be. What went wrong?
I don’t pretend my perspective is unique or revelatory in any way. It is simply the conclusions I have drawn from one person’s vantage point, with all the pros and cons of the unique perspective that I have, and the myopic vision I might possess given my flawed state of being.
My conclusion is that it nearly almost always begins with the sacrifice of people for the system. We think that it’s okay to drop that one person ‘for the greater good’. It’s okay to injure that one person because – ‘oh, they’ll deal with it and God will heal them and help them to rise above it after some rounds of forgiveness’. We forget that people were at the very center of Jesus’ ministry, and that he cares much more deeply for every single human being than organized Christianity has given consideration towards sufficiently. I say this not only as a victim of systems, but also as a perpetuator, who have, in my own selfish moments, blazed people out of my path because:
it was inconvenient, I was too fixated on some task or goal, or pride got the better of me and I scrunged up my nose (inwardly – I’m pretty good at hiding these things) as my ego received a good dose of self-inflation of my supposed high worth. I forget that before God, we are all equal.
What gives us the audacity to treat another human being like that? As though he or she isn’t a priceless, highly treasured and beloved being whom the Highest and Almightiest laid down His very own dignity and life for? We have trampled upon sacred lives and human dignity in our hasty bids to rush to places of religious worship, like the priest and Levite in the well known parable. God forgive us.
We turn up our noses because we perceive the other to be many rungs below us in social standing. In my observation, Christian community is ruined whenever we practice the same worldly practice of erecting social ladders for people to climb. It’s even worse when the steps in the upward climb are achieved by religious credits from our ‘achievements for God’. The only antidote, is an increase in humility with each advancement made for God’s Kingdom under our names.
What would it be like, if people and relationships were truly at the center of all our endeavours? Perhaps there will be a lot less injured saints, a lot less disillusioned ex-congregation members, and authentic Christian communities gathered for whatever high calling and purpose God may have envisioned for them.
I dream of one day when congregations/Christian communities will be places where every societal outcast finds themselves welcomed, known, accepted, cherished, and yes, loved.
I believe that’s God’s dream too.