The past three months have been… unexpected. And I guess that’s the reason I’m dusting off the laptop again. Not so much because I think anyone actually cares about my opinions enough to read this blog, let alone follow it. I just want a central place to document the journey and, most likely, dissect it in the months and years to come.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I won’t rehash past trauma when it comes to the Church. Chances are, if you’re reading this you either A) know our story, B) have experienced your own Church trauma, or C) the title of this blog has piqued your attention enough to land you on this particular entry. Either way, the story’s the same: As frustrated as our family is with the Americanized version of pseudo-Christianity, we still hold on to the teachings of Jesus and believe the Lord is still very much at work.
He just might not be using the Church as His primary vessel for that work.
But, right now, the big thing we’re wrestling through are the WAYS OF MAN…. and how the Church REALLY likes to use (hijack, exploit, profit from) them for their own benefit. (And PLEASE note that I said “for their own benefit” and not for the benefit of the Kingdom, or for the Lord.)
And at the risk of falling into the trap of sounding bitter, or resentful, like so many others… I want to push back against ALL systems, not just the ones being utilized by the Church. We live in a culture that primarily caters to affluence, thrives on nepotism, exploits the oppressed… all for the “benefit of the kingdom” or the bottom line. We see it ALL THE TIME.
Sydney and I can only laugh at this point.
As an example, we stopped counting how many times people have told us that our lives would be so much easier if we just focused on one thing when it comes to the non-profit. It would be easier to raise money, get more people involved, and promote our work. And if we were in the business of selling something, that would be great.
But we’re not.
A couple of years ago someone told us the best thing we could do was create a separation between who we are as people and what we’re building as an organization because we should want the non-proft to exist outside of us. It seemed like great advice at the time. But, it really wasn’t. If we’re REALLY honest. we don’t want the non-profit to exist after us.
We don’t want the non-proft to exist at all.
What we really want is for our communities to become so healthy that the non-profit has no need to exist. If we’re working from a mindset that our organization will be around in 20 years then we’re missing the point.
And there’s a parallel here for the Church.
Sometimes I think we’re SO FAR REMOVED from the tenants of the Christian faith that we’ve forgotten WHAT is being built and WHY it’s built. But, more importantly, we’ve forgotten that we’re NOT actually the ones building it.
I would strongly recommend doing a Google search for how much money the Church has spent in the past 10 years when it comes to the construction of buildings… for themselves. (This is also a great time to insert the statistic about how Americans spend more money of purchasing Halloween costumes for their pets than they do in reaching the lost.)
So, in the spirit of fairness and self-reflection, I thought it would be “great” to shine a spotlight on us and where we’ve been wrestling through these “discrepancies” in our own lives. Over the next few weeks (maybe months because there’s a lot) I’m going to address some things personally and professionally.
News Flash: There’s work to do. And we’re not interested in keeping up appearances or playing games when there’s so much at stake and so much work to do. Recently someone in our community accused me of being unprofessional and while there’s a lot I could say about this, here’s the most important: Under the paradigm from which she operates, I probably am.
But I don’t operate under that paradigm and I never will. And, truth be told, her remarks were more about who I am as a person. I am who I am… as a mom, a wife, a non-profit leader. I don’t take hats on and off. (Full disclosure, I offered a sincere apology. It was never my intention to offend her. There’s a REAL tension between not being responsible for how people receive things they don’t like and extending grace and compassion when the offense occurs.) But not living up to someone else’s expectations doesn’t make me unprofessional.
I honestly hold all of that in tension because if I had a dollar for every time someone called me unprofessional, problematic, subversive, non-conforming, unrelenting… or my personal favorite from the male dominated authoritarian (and spiritually abusive) church leadership circles… unwilling to submit… I would be rich. (My husband is quick to point out that being rich will never be our reality because I will just give the money away anyway.)
And he’s not wrong.