Thursday, March 13, 2014

Collateral damage 7

I expect collateral damage in the world at large.

But somehow, I have always felt that the church should be better than that. Things hurt a little more when they happen in the church.

See, in church, people are supposed to be all on the same page, following Jesus, being transformed and changed into his likeness, living out the beatitudes, following the golden rule, not focused on themselves but on others, out there in mission to the poor, doing good in the world, helping and caring for each other, and so on.

Church is supposed to be a safe place where God is the priority and people come to be healed and to experience community with mature believers, and then sent out into ministry into the world, always having this secure and caring base to which to return. 

In the world at large I have never had a problem understanding that not everyone is operating in good faith. But inside the church, where the Kingdom is supposed to be spreading? It took me a long time to realize the church is a real mess itself, that it is more like the world than not, and that you really can't count on people behaving differently in church than outside of it.

When there's a church problem, I have finally learned that we should never make the mistake of thinking everyone's willing to work things out together because we all are looking to Jesus as our example. I've also learned we should never assume there's good will on the other side in a church conflict, and that if we just talk long enough, reason things out together, and try to understand each other there will be a resolution. I've discovered that sometimes there is no good solution out there that we just haven't been smart enough to find. Sometimes, there are only negative paths, and the only choice is to take the one that is the least negative.

Along the way in my church leadership career I have had to discard two assumptions: 1) that the opposition has taken their position in good faith and is reasonable, and 2) that there's a solution out there somewhere.

I do not like this one bit. There's still a part of me that thinks the church should be a different kind of place with its own (better) rules, and with people who are seriously trying to follow and be like Christ. And that this should lead to a better class of behavior within the church when we disagree with each other. I still think this is how things should be. I just have never seen it.

1 comment:

LeAnn28 said...

This is quite an interesting series. Thanks for posting and for the thought-provoking and honest reflections.