love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
I’m on the train heading to church this morning, and I’m pondering a conversation I had earlier this week with someone I have a past (I don’t know how to quite qualify the connection– not sure if she’s an ex bc I don’t know what the nature of our relationship was– equal part fascination on her part with acting on her lesbian desires mixed with equal part of reconverting me back to a conservative-evangelical belief and participation in church. Yeah, that sums it up.)
Anyway, I’ll call her E and she was asking about my church attendance and I asked her about how her experience was going. She asked if I believed that church was supposed to be perfect and embody the values they preach. In short, be free from flaw. Then she shared that she’s been feeling some challenges in her church as the usual mix of politics and power come into play (my words, not hers), but that since everyone is striving to be perfect in Christ that she should learn to endure suffering because Jesus did. She also added that every organization has problems, not just churches.
I know that church is meant to learn, and that learning doesn’t always feel good. But to endure? To accept? Duty?
I’ve been there and done that and believe that God wants so much more for us. True, fellowship and learning will involve ego. True, ministers and teachers are human and prone to flaws. But for me, it’s about how the leader orients him/herself to those flaws. There’s a profound difference in a leader teaching what “you” need to do versus what “we” are learning. There’s a difference between teaching “just accept Jesus and you will have automatic peace” and “here are some concrete tools and steps for peace NOW.”
Or maybe I’m just too “new thought” to really understand the role of the church. What I do know is that after that relationship and attending E’s father’s church (did I mention he was a minister?), I made a vow to my self and Self that I will only participate in spiritual organizations that embodied love, acceptance, and empowered me.
What do you think is the role of church?
(excuse any typos.. I’m posting from my phone)