Fill In The Blank …

Scared to be yourself?

I was scared to be myself for the many years I attended the institutional church.  Each Sunday as my family got ready in the mornings to go to “church”, I had to put more than my “church” clothes on.  I had to put on my “be a good Christian” outfit.  This outfit is an invisible facade that shows me as a “my life is absolutely perfect”.

This outfit appalled me.

I hated not acting as myself.  If I acted as the facade, people would like me and give me the time of day.  They would show me the so-called “love” I yearned for in community.  Well, this is where my bullshit allergies finally started to kick in after many years.  Once I started being myself and started to ask the tough questions and not acting just like the little bubble I lived in … things changed (I changed).  I was looked at as a heretic, a trouble maker, or a shit-stirrer… I felt no welcomed.

Just because I did not follow what the “church” thought was perfect doctrine, I turned into someone they felt the need to reel back in the boat and “fix”.  I guess I was broken if I thought certain ways.

It was a weird phenomenon.  For example.  I loved them for wanting to worship in a church setting with an elder board.  I do not know what is correct doctrine on that particular subject (any there are a plethora of other subjects), but when I was against an elder board elevated above the people, as a rule maker, they soon let me know that I was incorrect, and I should follow their belief statements on this.  To me this does not matter.  It is the unconditional love of Christ that matters.

This got me thinking of other group relationships I had growing up outside the man-made “system”.  I am sure many of you have had the same experiences before.

So, let’s fill in the blank…

I have never met a more loving community in my life than the _______ community.

I know many of you can fill this in, and if you write in an institutional local church community, that is ok too.  I am not saying that being in that community is wrong.  I know people can find relationships with others in the system called “church”.  However, I do feel the urge to point out a lot of the crap that goes on inside so people can ask themselves why they do what they do.  I am just a person that has seen much more harm to the Body of Christ than good inside those walls.

I know there are exceptions, but ask yourself, in the community you wrote in the blank, do you find that people do not care if you are skinny, hairy, fat, pimpled, dead broke, rich, smell, say bullshit now and then, drink a Mojito (these are yummy by the way), play poker, gay, straight, bald, old earth, young earth, elder board, no elder board .. you get my point… do they see you as yourself and do not care of your quirks?

All the group in your filled blank wants to do is give the same love to others as they want to receive for themselves.  When we all act like our messed up selves, I feel Christ can be seen by all.

So what is your filled blank?

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13 thoughts on “Fill In The Blank …

  1. I’ve never experienced that. Despite all my weird forms (and hair colors), folks actually seem pretty accepting at the churches I attend. (Then again, I wouldn’t attend one that would get all bent out of shape because of weird hair colors.)

    I’m sorry you were hurt by your home church. 😦 That really, really sucks. I *so* wish you lived near me, because the pastors at our church are DEFINITELY not allergic to the tough questions. 🙂

    I hope and pray that you find a church community that will love the ever-bleedin’ CRAP out of you, and that is both able and willing to handle all your hard questions! 😀

    (BTW, I think it would be interesting if you had a post asking some of these tough questions. Now I’m all curious! XD )

    1. Liz – I cannot talk to someone with weird hair 🙂

      I do not know if I would categorize it as being hurt, it was more frustrating than anything else. I know I am loved by the Body that loves Christ, and for this I am content.

      So, a post about some of the hard questions… hmmm.. let me noodle on that a bit.

      Take care, and yes if I lived closer I would definitely visit your gathering 🙂

      1. Ahh, frustration with wanting to know more! I completely understand! 😀 I hit my very first pastor with some rather difficult questions myself! lol (This was back when I was 18-ish, and just getting into church. No one had instilled a dress code in me yet. lol!! )

  2. “I hated not acting as myself.” I completely agree Swanny. I did a powerful study on the Song of Solomon one time and learned some helpful things. The Song of Solomon actually contains every stage of Christian maturity (not in any sequential order, the sequence isn’t important). One of the stages that every believer will experience is being wounded in the body of believers. In Song of Solomon 5:7 the watchmen (those appointed to look out and protect i.e. spiritual authorities) struck and wounded the bride. This truth has been helpful to me. It lets me know my pain is not uncommon or without purpose, but that it’s all part of His plan to mature me. I hope this truth is as beneficial to you as well Swanny. Thanks for posting and sharing this article–sorry for the long reply : )

    1. pastormason – No need to apologize for the length of the reply… which by the way is a good one. I wish more people would move beyond the surface and let the Body know what is really going on under all that skin 🙂

      Thanks!

    2. Hm. I don’t quite get that same interpretation, from the context. If we’re relating it to a spiritual journey, it seems more that it’s saying that a person will endure anything in search of one’s “beloved”.

      Which, if you’ve ever been madly in love, you know is true. 🙂

      (Granted, this is just my personal opinion from reading it straight. I’m not sure I see how it relates specifically to the church community any more than it could to the Roman guards who beat Jesus (Ooh, epiphany!) or to any other random person who is generally just violent.)

      1. @Liz: Context is Old Testament Israel. Supposed to be a Godly Theocracy(Israel wasn’t occupied by Rome at the time of the writing). Many times, Israel is a shadow or type of the New Testament church. Watchmen were civil servants setup on walls to watch out for attacking armies. A watchmen, therefore, could be symbolic of a godly authority meant to protect.
        The verse after, 5:8, is indeed the verse that depicts maturation. Even though the bride is wrongfully wounded by the community authorities, she continues to praise and pursue her beloved.

      2. @pastormason Could be, sir, could be. It could also be just a rather dramatic poem from a lovesick lady to her lover, and back again. 🙂 Could just be metaphor for what she would be willing to go through to find her lover.

        Otherwise I’m not sure what describing her body parts in graphic detail has to do with spiritual matters. XD

      3. There is powerful symbolism in those statements as well, but that’s for another time. Not saying my interpretation is the only, just stating there is validity to it as a possible interpretation theologically speaking. If you disagree, it’s all good : ) God bless! Again, good article Swanny!

  3. I grew up in a trailer park. To make it more awesome, we lived in the bad part. The bad part of the trailer park. You know what? I have never met a community of people who care for each other more than that group of people. Everyone was accepted and everyone looked out for each other. I never saw a guy working on his car alone. I never saw anyone drinking a beer alone. A true community, and one I will never forget growing up in, no matter what it seemed like to the rest of the world.

    I’ve been in churches and heard all the pretty words, but have never seen anything remotely like what I mentioned above.

    1. Dan – Thanks for the comment. This is the exact thing I am talking about. It is hard to explain unless you lived an example. You get it.

      Swanny

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