So how do you like your church? That’s assuming, of course, that you have one, that you attend one on a regular basis, participate in its ministries, serve in it, and tithe to it. Assuming all that, how do you like your church?
Whether you’re the young person who slumps in the pew during the sermon and heads out to the DQ for a Blizzard with the rest of your gang after the service, the young parents who checked your kids into the nursery before breathing easy in the worship service, the older adult who has a hand-crocheted lap blanket marking your usual place in the congregation, or the pastor who stands at the podium each week looking out on this diverse bunch, I’m sure you have some feelings about your church.
I certainly do.
There have been Sundays when I left a Sunday School class feeling dissatisfied, a little put out that my teacher didn’t ever seem to get around to the lesson. There have been weeks when I wanted to pull a few parents aside and share with them the basics of sending their children to the bathroom before the service. There have been Sunday mornings when I looked around at our church’s auditorium and thought that if I have to endure that ugly dark orange (ugly dark green, ugly dark red…depending on the church of the day) upholstery and carpet one more week I’d surely scream. And there have been days when I sat through the sermon and thought to myself, “That had nothing to do with me. I got absolutely nothing out of that.”
Surprised? If you know that I’m married to the pastor that preached those sermons you might be! Actually, thanks be to God, I can honestly say that my husband has fed me spiritually from behind the pulpit for over 21 years and the only days I’ve walked away from his sermons feeling slighted were when my own attitude was standing in the way.
Still, the truth remains, some days I haven’t liked my church too much. And I’m not really referring to the building we meet in, the address we have on our letterhead, or the color of the carpet. Some days I’ve held my fellow brothers and sisters in contempt. I’ve been put out with their lack of commitment, fed up with the petty arguments, ticked off with their behavior, and tired of their disrespect for all things holy. I’ve wanted to gather them together and solve the whole dilemma with a hearty shout of “Grow up, for pete’s sake!” As though that would be the godly way to put everyone in their place…a better place…um, my place.
Now that’s just the truth. It’s the ugly truth. And I’ll own it, but I hope you won’t hold it against me.
Because I’m betting that it’s also the truth that you’ve had similar feelings. Except maybe your feelings, depending on which pew you sit on, may be directed more toward the pastor, the staff, the staff wives, or, yes, fellow lay folk. My bet is that if you’re a young parent you’ve been put out with your child’s Sunday school teacher or nursery caregiver at least once. If you have a teenager maybe you’ve gotten ticked off with the youth minister once or twice. Or if you’re a senior adult maybe you’ve felt neglected or overlooked.
I hear you.
We all have some ill feelings toward our church occasionally. After all, the church is a family and family members tend to get a little peeved with each other now and then. That’s common, normal.
But then again, there’s not supposed to be anything common or normal about the church. That is if the church is truly God’s church.
Today I read in my daily Bible reading