I preached a sermon couple weeks ago entitled, “Church sucks…but so do you.” The brief explanation: I really do believe that most of us grow up needing and wanting to be angry at something or someone. God and the Church is not excluded. The institution of the Church has done much to warrant some of this anger. So, yes…church sucks.
Church is community or family. And there’s one certainty about community: it has the ability to expose us – all of us. It exposes both our beauty and depravity which is the reason why community is so hard. It is the reason why we are so drawn to it and simultaneously, we are so fearful of it. Why it is so fragrant and yet, so repulsive.
It’s too easy to be angry at others. At some point, we need to examine ourselves. And if we’re honest and real…we suck too.
What’s the good news here? You suck. I suck. The world sucks. Church sucks. Where’s the gospel in the midst of all this suckiness?
God is able to redeem beauty out of our depravity. He is able to restore our brokenness and give us glimpses anew about our true identity. We are created in the eikon [image] of God. Grace is such a beautiful thing.
After couple really discouraging weeks, I enjoyed and felt hopeful reading this recent email. [I edited couple minor things for the sake of anonymity.]
I know that you have been crazy busy with all the work that goes along with a transition of a church. I would just like to take a second to tell you a few revelations that I had from Sunday’s service (23rd).
My wife and I have been going to Quest off and on for about a year or so. Life becomes so busy and both of us have not taken the steps to really get involved at Quest. The truth is that I have been burned by the church in the past and I didn’t want to let my guard down and really believe that I could get involved in a church again. I was waiting for this perfect church with perfect views and perfect people. People that fit my own views on Politics and God. I wanted to get so far away from the [removed] church that I had experienced growing up and all the flaws that I saw in that place. I have been telling myself for two years now that I don’t want to be ‘angry’ with the church, but it is so hard when I see the “American style” of church.
You see I worked for a Christian record company [removed name] last summer and I traveled from Christian Festival to Christian Festival and it made me sick some of the things that I saw. I wanted to get closer to God but it just turned into more things that I found with the church. Every time my wife and I watch CNN we come across some mega church pastor talking about how if we pray for that promotion or new car that God will grant our prayer request like some sort of genie in a bottle. You see none of this is really the point. I wanted you to know that I don’t want to be angry any more and I want to thank you (or really God speaking though you) for letting me know that the church is flawed because people are flawed. I had heard this point before but it never really stuck in my head until yesterday.
I think I was waiting for Quest to do something for me and for it to bless my marriage, and me but the truth is I never took the steps to fully get involved. I love when you said about the new church renovation, “welcome to your home, walk around and get familiar with it”. This almost brought me to tears because of the fact that until that instant I had really missed the point of what church can be. Yeah organized religion is flawed because people are flawed and broken, but I never really let my guard down to realize that I (who was so mad at the church) am also flawed. I have issues just like everyone else and that’s what really stuck “just like everyone else”. As Christians we try to put on this perfect persona, perfect job, perfect friends, perfect morality, perfect marriages, and that is not the point. The point is that God loves us so much even in our brokenness, Christians or not. For the first time I want to spend some time at my home. I want to volunteer and get involved with other people in my family. I want to help serve and not be served. It will not be perfect and I love that!!
Thanks for listening and God bless.