Archive for September 10th, 2009

We’ve been talking about a number of important issues the last few days. I’m glad we have. It is important, no matter how much we disagree, to continue to dialogue with one another. Irony sharpens iron they say.

So we continue to talk and converse with folks from all corners of the haunted church because we recognize that it matters not where truth comes from if it is truth and, to be sure, we never know what sort of strange vessel the Lord may use to interrogate us, strip us naked, or beat us to a pulp. Lately, for one reason or another, the Lord has been using a class I am taking on Diversity in Educational Settings to strip me naked and expose my inherent, deliberate flaws.

It’s an uncomfortable feeling being the minority. Anyhow.

I’m reading a book that I recommended to a friend. I think some of my recent experiences with the church have left me not a little angry, hurt, and confused and the book is most helpful for exposing those things and working towards forgiveness and wholeness. I’m trying to get along with God right now even if it seems that he is rather content to get along without me. Churches are strange creatures. That book is Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey–a book I highly recommend if you have ever had issues with the church, with any church, or with the people who make up the church. Today’s thought comes from Yancey’s pen:

I have had to forgive the church, much as a person from a dysfunctional family forgives mistakes made by parents and siblings. An irrepressible optimist, G.K. Chesterton proved helpful in that process too. ‘The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried,’ he said.

[...]

For this reason, when people tell me their horror stories of growing up in a repressive church environment, I feel no need to defend the actions of the church. The church of my own childhood, as well as that of my present and my future, comprises deeply flawed human beings struggling toward an unattainable ideal. We admit that we will never reach our ideal in this life, a distinctive the church claims that most other human institutions try to deny. Along with Chesterton, I’ve had to take my place among those who acknowledge that we are what is wrong with the world. What is my snobbishness toward my childhood church, for instance, but an inverted form of the harsh judgment it showed me? Whenever faith seems an entitlement, or a measuring rod, we cast our lots with the Pharisees and grace softly slips away. (58, 58-59)

And so he says.

This is the lesson that I want (and need!) to continue learning every day if I am going to be a receiver and giver of grace. I also think this is one of those reasons why God continues to break us down, strip us naked, beat us up, tear us apart, and generally render us completely undone. God has no ability to work on people who are already put together, but those who are ripped to shreds–there is where the true miracle of Christianity is: He takes those shreds and weaves the tiny fibers back together until we are readable again.

You can’t make out a story when the book is torn asunder and the pages are scattered in mud. But when the pages are healed, put in order, and bound again to the spine–ah, then the complete story can be read.

And it makes sense.

Grace and peace.

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