Saturday, 6 September 2014

Not Another Driscoll Post!

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Thousands of words have been thrown around the Internet in recent months about Mark Driscoll and the bodies under his bus. And so many of those words have resonated with me because they sound so much like the things I experienced. Which started me thinking…

With all the differences between that situation and mine, why did it sound so much the same?

This post is part of my answer:

1 Samuel 8:6-22 (emphasis added) 
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” 
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyardsand olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”  
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” 
When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” 
Do you hear what the people were saying to Samuel? "We don't want to listen to God - what would he know!? We want what we want."

How many times have we read stories about the Israelites and rolled our eyes and pronounced judgement on their stupidity? How many times have we prided ourselves on our superior ways?

Thank God we're not so full of sin and pride as to go against God's best for us! Not like those dreadful Israelites - they were always complaining and refusing to listen to God.

No, we christians are far wiser and godlier.

Really?

Well, it looks to me that we are EXACTLY like those stupid, stiff-necked people.

We, too, keep asking for kings. And they keep "claiming their rights."

We want to be like "other nations". And they keep "claiming their rights."

We refuse to listen to "Samuel". And they keep "claiming their rights."

God warned us! They take our sons and daughters. They take the best of… the tenth of… We become their slaves.

And the 'church' is no longer safe, because the 'kings' play their power games, and abuse, and shun, and cover up, and throw people under the bus.

And the people just keep asking for another king…

(Written in loving support of all the victims of a 'king'.)






Friday, 15 August 2014

Why I Haven't "Given up on the Church"



This morning, I read an article entitled Why You Shouldn’t Give up on the Church.

The author is the son of a 'famous' christian. I am a 'nobody' in that particular world.

He thinks "church is messy by nature." I have found it not messy, but dangerous.

He says, "it’s where Jesus’ people are connected." I find I can connect with Jesus's people wherever I meet them.

He opines that, "To leave the Church is to hurt yourself and to hurt others." I left because it was the only way to stop the hurt.

His judgement: "leaving the Church... is escapism." My experience: leaving the institution was the only way to escape the abuse.

His words seem to equate 'church' with a building or institution. My understanding of the word 'church' is that it's a living body.

He talks of "doing church." I speak of being the church.

He concludes, "No matter your frustrations and hurts, it cannot be abandoned. You need it now whether you know it or not, and someday you will have a need nothing and no one else can meet. And the Church will be where Jesus shows Himself to you."

My response to him?

I rejoice in your experience, but it is not universal. Please don't present it as an incontrovertible reality. That hurts.

I not only can, but I have abandoned what you seem to call 'church'.

But I have not "given up on the church", which is the body of Christ. I have given up on an institution.

I do not "need it". I need to feel safe when I meet with my brothers and sisters.

'The church' is not my sufficiency. Jesus Christ is.

And he can show himself to me wherever and whenever he chooses.

So please don't put him (or me) in a box. I love him too, you know.



Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Toxic Church



Dear Institutional Church,

I am reminded again today how toxic you can be.

You see, my mother has just died and I'm stressing about the funeral.

Not for the reasons most people stress about funerals. You know, fears about saying the wrong thing, or not being able to control the emotions, or having to face saying goodbye.

No. I'm stressing about my brother and sister-in-law being there.

Because the last time my brother spoke to me was when he told me that I was a trouble maker and said I should leave the church.

He knew this because board member D had passed judgement against me, and D was a "godly man" so he must be right.

He also knew because he chose to listen to the poisoned words of elder J and his wife who were so intent on becoming the leaders of the church they didn't care who they hurt in the process.

The last time my sister-in-law spoke to me… well, let's just say that if looks could kill, I'd have been instantly laid out stone cold dead from the venom in her eyes. The time before that, she'd screamed at me in front of her children and mine.

Since then, they've refused to speak to me - completely cut off any contact.

You see, this is the fruit of toxic churchianity.

Shattered relationships - friends and families torn apart.

People thrown under the bus. Real people. People who do forgive and heal and 'move on'.

But the bus doesn't stop. It keeps coming back and running us over again.

Because we have to live with the ongoing judgement and shunning and rejection. We cannot avoid the bitter fruit from the seeds you plant, or escape the consequences of the actions you chose to take.

I just can't understand how you can possibly think this is ok.

And I'm sorry if it offends you, but it makes me wonder what sort of a god you serve...