The “F” Word

The F-word is farce.  “A foolish show, a mockery, a ridiculous sham”

We spend our whole lives making sure no one sees the cracked pieces we are so desperately trying to hold together.

In my prior institutional church life, people would just sit in the seats waiting for the show, and God forbid you try to strike up a conversation about Jesus (which seldom happened).  Discussions were about what they are doing that day, football games, and other “surface” stuff.

If I tried to bring up a conversation about Christ prior to the service people would think I am nuts.  If I did, people would quickly change the subject to something like … yeah, I hope the music is good today, and I hope they play this certain song so I can feel the spirit … are you kidding me?

Sometimes I would wonder, as I look down the row I was sitting in, who here has real problems.  Out of the 10 people including me, we all just sit in passive brokenness.  Somewhere among the 10, there is at least one person struggling with an abusive spouse, a child that has been molested, porn, schizophrenia, or having a hard time feeding their family.  And of course, and including me, plenty who feel irreparably guilty either for something they have done or something done to them.  You can hear the silent screams as the show goes on.

So why in the hell do people go out of their way to act “normal”… whatever “normal” is.  If everyone else is acting “normal”, it just puts pressure on everyone else to act like they are “normal” too.   This is the country club effect.

WTF?  In other words … What The Farce?

Here is where the “church” is a farce.  The churchgoers spend so much time pretending to be someone else or being mistaken for someone else that they are not.  I can only describe this as bullshit, and I am definitely allergic to it.

I do think believers are hungry for the “realness” of God.  I think He is real when He takes messed up people and heals their brokenness.  The “He” here is Christ, who is the Body of believers working together.  When I am with other parts of the Body, I want to acknowledge that we are all so flawed.  I want to talk to that person who is doing some sin and say, I feel ya, dude.

If I were to look at this person in shock and judgment, I would be judging myself…

… and churchgoers just keep contributing to the farce that our churches are made of perfect people.

The thing here that really pisses me off, and I was hooked into this nonsense at one time … doing a whole bunch of different activities and programs within the institutional church does not make you a good person.  It makes you feel good, but does not make you good.

When I led a discipleship class for a couple of years and it was graduation and we were up on stage getting our reward, I did not like the idea of being on the stage because I did not like the idea that I am projecting some image that I am any more righteous than anyone else sitting in the audience that everyone is afraid to talk to because they committed some unforgivable sin.

That feeling at graduation was the first step in my exodus of the farcical church.

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17 thoughts on “The “F” Word

  1. I wonder the same thing every Sunday? Why do we even go to church if we are not being real, or even feel like we can be real to the people there. The truth is we cant 99.9% of the time, because what if people really knew I messed up and got drunk last night, or was horrible to my kids this morning cause I was tired, or I completely struggle with doubts. What would they do, tell us to go forward and get prayer, and the minister says a little prayer over us and sends us on our way. I dont even understand what the purpose of church is anymore, to show love to one another or just make us feel good for an hour on Sunday, so we will come back the next Sunday. Im just fed up with it all, thanks for your words, because they speak to me what Ive been feeling for years.

    1. Mark – Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings, and welcome.

      I feel ya brother. I went many years with the same feeling.

      It is a sad thing that happens across the globe in many buildings.

      Real is ugly, and a lot of people do not like ugly. It is a definitely a tough thing to open up (and to listen to others opening up).

      We are to be the Body of Christ, so in order to surrender to Christ, who is the Body, we need to surrender to each other. Until we do this there will be no community and no growth.

      Take care.

  2. Hiya Swanny, I’m new here. I followed a link on someone’s fb page. You’re saying some interesting things. I’m really very sorry your experience of “institutional” church was that bad. I was part of the new church movement in the UK and else where before I got too sick to be able to be part of a four walls expression of church. I’ve been in some “churches” for want of a better name where there were some seriously dysfunctional leaders but always underneath there was always a sense of honest community amongst some of us. I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty thoughtless behaviour too but that hasn’t changed my feelings that when “church” works it is really great. Brilliant. The best advertisment for God.

    1. Liz Eph – Thanks for stopping by.

      No “system” is going to be perfect here on earth as long as man is in control.

      However, when you say “church” works, I agree. When people focus on Christ together as Church.. they show the world the ALLNESS of God, and that is what works.

      Take care.

  3. I’ve been going to ‘church’ since I was 6, I am now 55. Ive been really hurt by some people in ‘Church’ but I don’t recognise the descriptions above. We could all come together and tell each other how awgful our situations are, how dirty and sinful we feel, or when we do come together we focus on who we have in common, take time out to give the needy a hug and to encourage folk in any way we can. Deep convos and crying on shoulders can continue at other times too. What is it with this ;down’ on Church, ‘Church’ is just people, some groups are ‘better’ or ‘glossier’ or ‘more real’ and ‘close’ than others but we need it, it is Gods plan, there isn’t another. If we don’t like the one we are in, make another or join another. Lets ‘love the lady’, Jesus does.
    and lets not dismiss Heb 10v25…… it does exist!!

    1. JT. Welcome!

      It is the man-made “system” I am talking about… not the people. The “system” is what breeds the “we have to look and act normal” type mentality.

      If you have found a deep community that is awesome!

      Take care, and thanks for the comments.

  4. Funny how we think Heb 10:25 means go to church. Whilst we definitely need each other more than we realise, the modern definition of western church rarely works, infact the effect of paralysis on the saints is so powerful that Gospel has almost ground to a halt in our communities.

    I think we have to redefine what we mean by church and have a whole new paradigm. Maybe not my generation but I pray it is so for the next.

    Go well my friend,

    Mark 🙂

    1. gotbygrace – Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      I am with you, but I would even take it one step further to say that church is already defined for us, and we do not need to try and define it ourselves.

      I think when we as humans try to define what church should be gets us in trouble and divides us. Focus on Christ and we will focus on each other… not to difficult, right?

      Ha.. who am I kidding. It is simple yet complex.

      take care.

  5. My wife and I often attribute the “F-Word” to the answer given when asked how people are doing. “Fine.” *That* is biblical “skubalon.”

  6. As always, great thoughts here. The title really caught my attention, and now that I have read the post, I like what you are saying about institutional church as a farce . We really do hunger for realness, don’t we? It is so hard to find though. Even as I look at myself, I see all sorts of walls I put up and masks I put on…

  7. Swanny,

    I’m glad to know your “spiritual gift” is blogging. All this blogging about what’s wrong with the “institutional church” is really a great benefit to the growth of the “Body.” However, I’m not certain how your staying home blogging on your computer on Sunday morning and using your “spiritual” gift actually helps me to be discipled in my faith while I’m sitting in the pugh waiting for some “real life” Christian to come up to me before service and ask me if I struggle with porn, or, How did you say it in your blog…oh, “have a conversation about Christ.” Where are you when I need a brother to be honest with me and pour into my life?

    Swanny, I can’t quite get how your gift, which needs to be utilized in service to the Body, is actually helping me, or edifying others, or ministering to the needy. First Corinithians 12:7 says: “Now to each one the manifstation of the Spirit is given for the COMMON GOOD.” Nor do I see how my spiritual gifts of serviice, generosity, and teaching are actually benefiting you, or more importantly glorifying Christ by acting to serve the “parts” of the Body (yes, you are the “part” I’m referring to).

    Did you know the EYE cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you. Nor can the head say to the feet “I don’t need you.” (1 Cor 12:21). Swanny, I”m trying to figure out what part of the Body you are. Are you a torn ACL who blogs about how all the other tissues and cells and organs aren’t doing their part, and each member is failing to help you to grow in your faith?

    You are a profound mystery my friend. Just go on keeping your distance from the insitutional church. It’s really all about you anyway. No matter if I need you to be praying for me or if the kids in the children’s department need you or if the church’s mentoring program could use help in ministering to addicts or serving in the Lifebridge Warehouse to help sort clothing for the poor, or attend the Thursday morning Men’s Bible study where you are needed to lead and disciple the “flawed,” or maybe you could volunteer to work with the youth ministry or play in the softball league to connect with other men, or pass out bulletins or serve communion or love on some elderly folks.

    It’s hard to understand how a lacerated liver, like myself, can find relief when a torn ACL can’t stop blogging long enough to provide it.

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