can anymore tell me what is this thing we want so much, yet refuse to accept? what makes being honest so "right" and so "wrong" at the same time? why does the church demand that we be honest, yet they have a hard time dealing with the honesty they desire? why does the church ask for honesty, and yet condemn the person when they are honest? mostly, i would like to know why the church can not connected honesty with grace and forgiveness, why is the church so hurtful of peoples past?

over time, these questions have burned a deep hole in my spirit; and to be "honest" with you a even deeper disgust for the church and people who claim to be "christian." i have seen churches use the "honesty" card as a way of "cleaning house." i have seen "christians" use the honesty card to "trap" others and treat them as if they were human garbage. i have seen churches use honesty as a weapon against those who are being honest. i have seen churches use honesty to hold people back from positions of leadership - and to be honest, it sicken' me greatly. yet, i know that in my heart i must be honest and open. one "church leader" once told me to "not be so honest" with my history, with my life story. his suggestion was that i "make-up" a story and stand with it, so that i can "get in the door" of some churches as the pastor. but that is just not my style, and if being honest means i am never allowed into the modern evangelical church, so be it. let me share with you on a "more" personal note (being that i am known for being very open and honest this topic is very dear to me) of what i am speaking about.

it is not secret that i am looking for a new position. the church i currently serve as the "pastor of family ministries" is going to a "solo pastor" way of doing ministry - which is cool, and very community building for the people in this church - they truly need that way of doing church - it will help them grow and count on each other. so, while i am leaving, i am prayerful that this ministry will develop into the ministry God desires of it - and i love each and every person. it is also no secret that i was not "raised" in a christian home - and there, in fact, lies the problem for most of the "holier then thou" churches i seem to be directed to :) it seems that they are focused more on my past (one church search team said that even though i was forgiven by God, it still was something they could not get past) then on who i am in today.

here is the problem. when i am asked about my past, i am very willing to share my walk - my pains, my life, my hurts, my blood with those who i believe will be in service with me - i am open, honest and not afraid of past hurts. i see my past life as a way of building my faith, and helping others see that pains do not always destroy, but can be used to rebuild. my thinking has always been that if christ takes me and calls me to ministry, then all others are more then welcome. but i have found that while many churches are proclaiming that they desire an honest and open pastor - they are truly not wanting that to happen at all. they fear the "what-others-will-say-about-them-and-their-church" gossip.

to me, honesty is a great part of the christian faith and a very needed thing in a community of faith - i have been hurt in my life - as a senior pastor i desire to let you know that pain - and in turn, i want to know your pain - if we only share the good stuff, we never build a closeness that is required of us in our faith walk - if my pass mess-ups make you uncomfortable, for whatever reason, good, i am glad. you need to be in that zone - you need to feel uncomfortable - life is uncomfortable - and in that life we need to be honest with each other - but being honest means that we love each other, help each other and walk in the light of christ - then that is what we do. too many churches us past hurts to exclude people, judge people and most of all - cause people to feel the pains even deeper, because they now know that the people who are called to love them don't.

i know that the modern evangelical community uses the "fall of humanity" as an excuse for this, and to be honest, to me, that is a lame excuse. as a follower of christ i have been redeemed by the blood he spilt for me - by his love for me (the same love we are told we must have for each other) and by that blood i have been lifted above and called to be different then "the fallen humanity." as a follower i am told that i am to rid myself of all that is wrong and judgmental - and that i am to walk in the light of christ and to be christ-like in all i do, say and act upon. i am called to be honest, and i am called to hold the honesty of others deep in my spirit - i am not called to judge others for their hurts, i am not called to exclude others because of their hurts - but i am called to welcome them, love them and hold them deep in my arms. if being a pastor in a church means i can never do that, then i desire never to be a pastor in a church. if because i am that, i am excluded from ever talking to a pastor search committee - then i never desire to speak to a pastor search committee. if a person comes to me and expresses pain, and with an honest heart, expresses there sin it is not my place to judge that, extort that, or pass any consequences upon that - it is my place to love them, accept them and hold them in my arms.

if this is something hard for you to understand, may i suggest that you search deep in your spirit, your past and see the pains you have - then try to find a place in your church where you can express those hurts, sins and expressions in an honest way - without being judged by others. if you can not think of such a place in your church community - then you will find that healing is impossible and the pain of life is unforgivable in your church.


1 comment:

Rick said...

life is nuts. the church should be different, but too often it's worse. keep preachin' - somebody's bound to listen. and if you don't preach... who'll tell 'em?