Monday, September 13, 2010

Struggling

I've been reading a number of posts lately about people's struggle with their faith and with their church involvment. And I can't even express how grateful I am for their honesty...for their willingness to share.

I've been having conversations with people about the same thing. And again, I am so moved by their honest struggles and the fact that they choose to share them with me.

I am grateful. And, in the midst of gratitude, I'm really struggling with all this. After all, I am a minister...in a church. And it's not only about the reality that the church is where my paycheck comes from, but I feel really committed to the church. And my heart breaks each time that I hear someone say that they need to leave the church. My heart breaks largely because I know that churches and church people have done so much damage to people that many can live more freely and more faithfully outside of the church than inside the church.


And these things I believe...churches are not perfect,

going to church is not the same thing as having a relationship with God,

going to church is not a necessity.


I struggle with the failure of the church to be the body of Christ.

I struggle with the busy-ness and business of the church that is necessary but that sometimes gets in the way of people's relationship with God.

I struggle with all of this...as a minister...as a mom. I struggle with wanting my children to be part of a faith community and fearing the hurt they will receive at the hand of the church.

I find myself believing in the importance of congregational life and sometimes I find myself wanting to run away, to escape the very thing I love.

I have to admit I have always been a person who believes that I can best work change from the inside rather than from leaving. But sometimes working change is exhausting. And sometimes I'm aware that I don't even know what change I should be working on.

I struggle because I catch glimpses of the wonderful gifts that are shared when the church lives out its calling to be the body of Christ. I struggle because the very people who are leaving the church are the very people who the church needs in order to become more of who God designed us to be.

I know the church is not perfect - not even close, but I believe the church can offer something. And I am seeking to discover what that is.

2 comments:

Carolyn Phillips said...

Thank you, it is good to hear a minister being so honest as well, it makes realise that as members of the congregation, as the church we can have our fears and doubts.
I've been contemplating writing about being a bad Christian and about church recently, and I too strongly believe in a Congregational life.

I think sometimes we hit problems with church because we expect it to be perfect and we forget it is made up of people just like us.

Christine said...

Thank you Jill, for this honest and important and soulful post. I want to talk about this stuff too, so much. I want a place I can go to find peace and love, to communicate with God. For me, just now, Church isn't it. Frankly, spirituality at the moment is a struggle for me. And it means so much to me at least to read your thoughts on this. I value and appreciate every word.